This Smart Women Conversations guest is my last, for a bit. I am turning my attention to my book and my work with clients.
I 'met' Sarah Jordan via a Facebook Live done by another SWC guest, Image Consultant,Carol Hanson. Sarah presented herself as exactly the kind of woman I am passionate about supporting and sharing. She's smart, talented, and brings years of tech experience to the important work she is doing now. Important work that supports women and girls everywhere. the world over, with something so necessary but so overlooked by those of us in our comfy homes and big bathrooms, you will be astonished.
Sarah’s background is in digital and tech – a member of the BIMA 100 in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
She is a recognized industry leader with over 20 years’ digital and business experience across not-for-profit, commercial and publishing sectors. Sarah then also did what many of us do and went out on her own to create a strategic consultancy focusing on business transformation, strategy and organisational change. She also runs a ‘positive change agency’ helping women achieve success in all areas of their lives. While doing all that, she remains an active speaker and judge at UK and international events, and she mentors on a number of industry programs.
Whew! I'm tired even typing all of that. But, this is why I do these shows. It's not to sit and talk, which is always fun, also, but it's to showcase women who are changing the world, one idea at a time.
What's important, and of interest to me, is that Sarah’s career changed tack completely in 2016. When volunteering in local communities as part of a trip to Uganda she discovered/recognized/learned of the a "serious" problem faced by women and children (especially girls) who didn’t have something we take for granted every single day: access to underwear.
Why is this a "serious" problem? Why the quotes? Because you won't take it seriously without the quotes. You'll shrug a bit and maybe read on, maybe watch the show, but you'll be looking for all the wrong things - unless you understand how necessary undergarments are, to all of us.
Do not miss a minute of this talk where Sarah relates intimate details of her adventure in Uganda, and teaches me what this necessity and lack-of it does to the lives of women and girls not only in Africa where Sarah journeyed, but here at home, in women's shelters.
Notice that it's not her awards, or her dedicated time in the tech industry, that makes Sarah's eyes shine when she speaks. It's her passion for connecting to and serving women in need. In this case, the need was something she (and admit it, you, too) never gave a thought to previously. We put on fresh underwear every day, and think nothing of it. We reach into our underwear drawer and pull out that pair for the day, the bra we want to wear, in whatever color or pattern suits at that moment, and leave all the others for tomorrow. Because, here in the West, we have multiple pairs of underwear and bras. Think just for a moment how you would feel if you reached into that drawer and it was ... empty.
What about that? What about underwear, I ask you?
Sarah returned determined to do something about it and, when combined with the discovery of the devastating impact of conventional cotton crops, this soon led to the creation of Y.O.U. underwear.
Y.O.U Underwear makes 100% organic cotton underwear for men and women. They use sustainable manufacturing processes, 'real models' (not fancy women with fancy faces and fancy bones to show off in a photo shoot - this is MY interpretation, not Sarah's, but it's how I feel) to promote body confidence, while also including a 'buy one give two' model to provide underwear to people who don't have it.
In the last year, Y.O.U has grown from an idea to a small global business, with a successful Kickstarter campaign, an initial range shipping to 15+ countries around the world … and most importantly a positive impact, with thousands of pairs of [under]pants delivered to women and children in Africa. Sarah was a finalist in the 2018 Women in Business Awards, named in the Thames Valley 50 Game Changers of 2018 list and has also just won the Be The Change Award 2019 for the best Fashion brand.
If you take nothing else away from this conversation, I hope you make the effort to support women's shelters here in American, by donating underwear. Yes, you should buy it from Y.O.U. Underwear so others will benefit, also.
Be aware - show you care.
Now, on with the show. Do hop over to YouTube and subscribe. While I am taking a break from Smart Women Conversations, I will be doing other videos - on life, living, and writing books.