I feel tiny as I take a seat in the office of The Joyful Child organization. I adjust in my chair and take a look around the room. Photos are everywhere of five year old Samantha Runnion. In every single one, she is smiling, looks happy, loved and cared for. A pang of sadness hits. You are able to see and feel how much her family loved her. I am instantly embarrassed for any trivial thing I could have worried about this week. I could never imagine the loss of a child, let alone the senseless rape and murder of one by a man who had a history of raping children.
Samantha's mother, Erin, comes into the room a few minutes later. She's a bustle of activity, smarts and determination, the kind of person who would have you over for coffee and you'd laugh for hours. As she greets me and takes a seat, one of the most impactful experiences of my life occurred. There is something in the eyes of a mother who has lost a child like this that never leaves. She might laugh, smile, talk, argue, direct, or sit quiet but it's there, always. Erin has been one of the most impactful advocates for child protection laws in our country. She tirelessly fights one of America's worst problems so that what happened to Samantha doesn't happen to your kids.
I auctioned the fashion wardrobe that built my first company, Stylediary, and donated the proceeds to her. It was, is and will always be my goal to use my work and business to help change.
I'm not alone. In fact, new studies show that women entrepreneurs are statistically more likely to use their success to benefit causes. Power Girls are all about giving back - to our families, communities, fellow women and causes. Locally, nationally and around the world.
"Women have a long history of volunteer work and activism," said Danielle Mead, of Biddees.com, which offers discount gift cards to places like iTunes and McDonald's. The company also supports social change. "So they are very in tune with a lot of the areas that nonprofit organizations focus on, like education, health care, children's services, housing and the environment."
NPG co-creator and Miss Meghan founder Meghan Cleary donates marketing savvy and spokesperson work. Make Mine A Million and Take Our Daugthers to Work Day founder Nell Merlino has benefited millions of women and girls through the programs she's invented. If there is one thing that the new modern women entrepreneurs I've met and know driven to do is aim high and give back.