Jim Nico and Dr. Jane Belland Karwoski want women to have a voice. When the suicide of 15-year-old Amanda Todd made international headlines in 2012, cyberbullying and its deadly repercussions were brought to the forefront of social media conversations.
Nico and Karwoski had the chance to meet Todd’s mother Carol, and realized how much young women out there feel like they don’t have a voice. As CEO and Chief Science Officer of The Social Network Station, a broadcasting division that offers social networks, businesses and individuals the ability to launch their own radio shows, the duo could do something about it.
#50Shows is a new movement to empower women to take advantage of an opportunity to build their skills and use digital media to amplify their message and educate listeners around the world through their collective voices.
Nico and Karwoski work intimately on the effort on a daily basis with Program Director Terry Monoson-Nico. The Social Network Station provides the executive production, recording via a facility accessible from anywhere, and the upload, distribution, and marketing of all shows. Each woman radio host is required to have a sponsor to support program fees for her show until sponsorship of the entire initiative is secured.
Lioness had the opportunity to catch up with communications expert Deirdre Breakenridge, the first #50Shows host, to learn more about the initiative, her involvement and why it is so important for women to utilize this platform.
“I’m really excited about #50Shows as an opportunity to bring women together who are interested in powering up their voices and putting together a network and moving in the right direction,” Breakenridge said. “You feel more power in numbers.”
Her career as an author, speaker and publicist spans nearly three decades. Breakenridge is currently the CEO of Pure Performance Communications, an adjunct professor at New York University (NYU), an online instructor for UMASS at Amherst Journalism Department and she speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of PR, marketing and social media communications.
While becoming a #50Shows host is a natural extension of her skills and talents, she was inspired by Nico and Karwoski’s passion for the project and what the initiative represents.
Her show, “Women Worldwide with Deirdre Breakenridge,” debuted this past November. Interviewed by Breakenridge, women around the globe share their stories; those who have experienced the heights of success and at times, the agony of defeat. With a vision to impart wisdom and advice on tackling barriers and soaring to new heights, Women Worldwide uncovers different perspectives and approaches to help listeners find their inner strength.
Breakenridge has been mentoring young professionals for the past 15 years and one of the things she teaches them is that you’re going to face challenges. When asked how a woman like herself navigates through business and manages to stay successful and relevant for as long as she has, she said you have to toughen up.
“There are always challenges that you’re going to face. I look at it as this is business and business is tough. You have to focus and be strategic. Women make less money in certain roles and whether it was subconscious [or not], I just knew it was tough in business and I did everything I had to do to be in that boardroom,” Breakenridge said.
She also said women have to be careful not to label themselves or let others dictate who they are as well.
“You have figures like Beyonce that really show you can be who you want to be or how you want to present yourself. Positive role models are really important. I remember being at a meeting with a group of women, it was a woman’s association, where someone was saying you can’t bring your purse into the boardroom because that’s a label. But that didn’t stop me from being my purse into the board. If you’re not going to like me, it’s more than about my purse,” Breakenridge said, adding, “We have to be really strong and confident in who we are and how we present ourselves. There are always going to be those mixed messages.”
To learn more about #50Shows or how you can become a host, visit www.50shows.com.
Photo Courtesy of Josh Hallett [Flickr]