Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur is Katie Zeppieri, who’s made it her life-long mission to empower people through leadership and positivity. We caught up with her to talk about all the incredible ways she’s achieving that goal and what advice she would share with other young professionals with similar passions…
1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I’m the Founder of GIRL TALK Empowerment, working to unite and inspire girls to make their mark on the world. I’m the author of the #GIRLTALKBook, a panelist Monday mornings on Toronto radio station NEWSTALK 1010, a blogger for the Huffington Post, a motivational speaker, and a YouTuber for #FeelGoodTV.
2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I have always felt drawn to the media as I see it as a powerful tool to influence the masses and I wanted to couple this with my passion for inspiring others. I knew from an early age that I was the type of person who always looked out for the underdog and stood up against injustice. Getting the opportunity to tell other people’s stories in such a big way is a true joy and something I look forward to each and every day.
3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
Hosting our 2015 GIRL TALK Empowerment Day and welcoming over 1,400 girls from across the Greater Toronto Area for a day of inspiration and empowerment. I also felt a deep satisfaction in completing my first book, GIRL TALK: Words Every World-Changing Girl Needs to Hear, and getting TV personality Tanya Kim to write the foreword.
4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
5 years > Running a booming social enterprise with 10 employees or more and living happily married.
10 years > Balancing a travel-filled work life while raising a young family.
20 years > Possibly dabbling in the world of politics while speaking internationally and inspiring my children to chase their dreams.
5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t take no for an answer. Try every single possibility to make your dream a reality. If a door closes, find a window or dig a tunnel. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?
I have the incredible opportunity to support many charities with the work that I do. Two charities that I am especially connected to at the moment are: Because I Am a Girl and The Her Initiative. Both of these charities seek to improve the lives of girls and women in developing countries. I am touched by their outreach efforts and I am proud to support charities that build independence among women and girls, who have powerful emotional & financial effects on their families and communities.
7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Being comfortable asking for money. I am someone driven by passion and when I first launched my social enterprise I felt shy about asking to be paid for my work because I was so used to volunteering. I soon learned that if I truly wanted to make a difference in the world, I would need to be working on it full-time and that means that I needed to make an income that allows me to do so. I am now very upfront when it comes to talking about finances and have grown to become comfortable with being compensated for my time and services.
8. What does the word notable mean to you?
To me, “notable” is a synonym for “remarkable” or “note-worthy.” It’s an honour to be thought of as notable because it is validation that the messages of love and leadership that I hope to spread and have grown to become larger than myself. I believe that my true purpose in life is lifting up others, and it’s truly a privilege to have been given the opportunity to do so.
1. Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
Fresh Restaurants always offer delicious and nutritious meals. As a vegetarian, I am always looking for filling, vegetable-packed foods that are full of flavour. Fresh gives me all that and more.
2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone? The most visited website on my Internet browser is definitely Google. (Surprise, surprise). The most played song on my phone at the moment is probably “This is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan.
3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
@LittleLizzieV. This girl is such a champion for rising above adversity. Lizzie suffers from a rare congenital disease that less than 10 people in the world are known to have. Sadly, Lizzie’s condition has made her subject to an extreme amount of bullying. Several years ago someone posted a video on YouTube calling her the “World’s Ugliest Woman” and that video has received over four million views. I am extremely passionate about changing the way our society views beauty, and to me Lizzie reminds us all that the true measure of beauty is found in the heart.
4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I greatly enjoyed visiting Belgium for its history and scenic beauty (the Belgian waffles didn’t hurt either!) I also enjoyed travelling to Nepal for a month-long volunteer abroad trip as I met so many beautiful people, several of whom I am blessed to still keep in touch with today. Two countries that are definitely on my bucket list are Italy and India.
5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
Having to say no to an opportunity. Although I trust my intuition, sometimes I do wonder what I might be missing out on if I say no to an exciting opportunity that doesn’t fit with my vision or schedule.
6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Two words: Ketchup Chips.
7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I’d really like to cut back the amount of money I spend on food but I’m a huge advocate for buying organic foods and living a healthy lifestyle (dang it, smoothies!) so I don’t think that’s going to change anytime soon. I wish I spent more money on my mom and dad. They rarely let me pay for anything! Someday I hope to pay them back in spades for their extreme generosity and love over the years. When I had nothing, they gave me everything – and for that I am forever grateful.
8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
Success to me is doing things that I love with people I love. I want to be a positive influence on the lives of those around me. As a social entrepreneur I believe in putting people before profits. If I can make a living while making a difference and still raise a world-changing family, I will be very content.