The Her Campus Founders on What It Takes to Be a Changemaker For International Day of the Girl

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When Her Campus launched in 2009, the three founders couldn't have imagined the positive impact their idea would have on the world. In ten years (this September was the company’s anniversary), they've built a business of over fifty employees, and have expanded to a presence on over 400 college campuses nationwide. From the national staff to the college chapter members, Her Campus has created a community full of opportunities for thousands of women.

The founders believe that their success has a whole lot to do with the fact that as a company, they have never been afraid of change. They don't get comfortable with the status quo and continuously look for new, innovative, and more creative ways to smash records and engage with readers. That is why Her Campus believes T-Mobile's Changemaker Challenge is such an extraordinary opportunity.

The annual contest, which recently closed submissions for this year, gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity and funding to make their community-focused dreams, ideas, and solutions, a reality. Read on for what being a changemaker means to the Her Campus founders, and for advice that may inspire you to make your dream a reality!

Windsor Hanger Western 

"When I reflect on the early days of Her Campus, I realize just how much we didn't know what we were doing. And I realize now what an asset that was and how crucial that was to our success. If you don't know how something is ‘supposed’ to be, you often innovate in ways that experienced people wouldn't dream of because they're too set in their ways. I think that sometimes people, women in particular, are overly cautious about putting themselves out there and trying something new, or launching their big idea. We want it to be perfectly planned, well thought through, and likely to succeed before we go for it. I say to throw that out the window. If you're passionate about something, chase after it with everything that you've got and know that it's totally normal not to have all the answers. Heck, we've been running Her Campus for ten years now, and I still don't have all the answers! Use your relative naïveté to your advantage and know that your inexperience, when coupled with smarts and enthusiasm, will drive creativity, innovation, and change!"

 

Annie Wang

"After Stephanie, Windsor, and I ran Her Campus for one year while we were full-time college students, we knew we wanted to make this our ‘real job’. There was just one problem for me: I still had my senior year left! I ended up deciding to take an extended leave of absence from Harvard to devote all my time and attention to Her Campus, and the rest is history. If I were to speak to my younger self now, I'd tell her: "Was taking a leap of faith to start a business before completing my college degree the right decision?" 1000%, yes! There is an indescribably huge value in learning through doing, and you will never regret taking smart risks, and not knowing exactly what the future holds, but knowing that the process and experience will be worth it! To me, this is what being a changemaker is all about: seeing possibility in the path less taken and as a result, changing your life (and maybe your community, company, even the world) in the process."

 

Stephanie Kaplan Lewis

"Before Her Campus, college students were looked at as interns who were capable of simple tasks like running errands and picking up coffee. They were not appreciated for their incredible worth, full of fresh new ideas they could bring to the table. We recognized that potential, hunger, and drive among ourselves and our peers and built a company that would change the stereotype. Her Campus allowed college women to get real writing experience while building a portfolio that they needed to share their voice and launch their careers. At our core, we believe that women are capable of so much at a young age, instead of defaulting to the mindset that they need to pay their dues before they're deserving, worthy, or capable of doing ‘real’ things. And that vision has changed so much for our community, myself, and my co-founders. Before Her Campus became the #1 site for college women, it was just an idea in a dorm room. We were no different than you are now, and if that's not a testament to the fact that anyone with an idea can enact positive change, I don't know what is."

While applications are now closed for the 2019 Changemaker Challenge, the company is in the process of selecting their top 30 winning teams to inspire us all! For more information, head over to the T-Mobile website.