I have received many requests to post more about what I do as CEO/Founder of The Starling Project and as a Chair of UNICEF Next Generation, so I am thrilled to share a post that involves both. UNICEF is a huge part of my life; I spend so much time in the UNICEF offices and traveling to the field that sometimes I feel like I work there. It is an honor to be a chair for the humanitarian organization that has saved more children’s lives than any other. It’s even more gratifying running a social impact business that works with UNICEF to provide solar energy to rural communities in need. I often get asked to speak at events about giving back and running a social impact company and last week I was asked to do so at the New York Lifestyle & Fashion Festival that took place at One World Trade Center. How could I say no?
The New York Lifestyle & Fashion Festival is an annual celebration hosted by WG Empire and Globe Fashion Week that brings together fashion brands, artists and fine retailers with bloggers, press outlets, celebrities etc. This year it took up the entire 63rd floor at One World Trade Center. We had 360 views of all of Manhattan! It was incredible. Brands such as La Prairie and Dior filled the floor giving out free products or mini makeovers. There was plenty champagne and cupcakes too! My personal favorite part of the night was an interactive screen featuring a fashion show where guests could sit and watch as if they were there. Real models then came out from behind the screen making the show a reality. Guests of the event included reality TV star Ryan Serhant, Nicole Zhao the CEO of Lan Yu and some of the biggest names in fashion and lifestyle. I was truly grateful for the opportunity to be the keynote speaker.
For this event, I spoke about how to make time for giving back when you are in the hectic world of fashion and/or lifestyle. As is probably clear by my blog, I am a fashion, design and travel junkie, yet I still run a social impact business and Chair UNICEF Next Generation. I do think it is possible to do it all! In fact, it has never been cooler to give back, so I think we all can make it a part of our lifestyle. Giving back can be whatever you want it to be. For instance, it can be tutoring children in your local community, working in a soup kitchen, donating funds to a specific cause or doing pro bono work in the field using your personal skills or expertise. I think people often find it a bit intimidating, but really it doesn’t need to be. I received so much feedback after the event and was excited to hear what the people in the audience planned to do to give back going forward. It was really fulfilling to hear how inspired they were.
I personally left the night most inspired by my friend Vera Wang. Vera shared her story about leaving China to follow her dreams in fashion in New York. After just 4 years in the states, she has become the #1 Chinese blogger in the US. She is determined to help the Chinese have a better understanding of America and simultaneously help Americans better understand the Chinese culture. She is accomplishing her goals by working with brands like Mont Blanc to help them market to the Chinese market. Vera is the founder of WG Empire which was created to help Chinese brands connect to the US market and vice versa. She had a dream and took big risks to make it come true. It is amazing and inspiring!
I love New York because I really do feel like it makes dreams come true.
Dress: Elliatt Tulip Dress
Shoes: Jimmy Choo