1. What It's Like to Start an Award-Winning Global Organization 38:53

In 2008, Celeste Mergens was volunteering at an orphanage in Kenya when she saw an issue that she couldn't ignore, and decided to try to help improve it.  Through some trial and error, and lots of listening, humility and determination, she founded Days for Girls, which champions women's health and menstrual equity.  Days for Girls has now served 3 million women and girls in 145 countries.  In this episode, Celeste shares stories of Days for Girls (including iterations of the washable pads they provide–she says the first one “was a horrible design, and I could say that because I designed it!”)–and the other educational and stigma-shattering goals of the organization.  Celeste also shares her personal journey from a childhood filled with poverty and shaming, to setbacks in her educational goals.  Celeste's insights and perspective into the “seasons” in life, and her belief that all of her experiences taught and led her where she needed to go, are proof that no divide is impossible to bridge.  She recently released a book, entitled “The Power of Days.”

In this episode:

02:05–How Celeste got the idea to start her organization, Days for Girls, and what it does
06:33–Celeste's childhood, growing up Moving often, sometimes homeless, and how that impacted her outlook
11:19–Turning our weaknesses into strengths; reframing our interpretation of experiences
14:39–Celeste's career journey (engineer, roofer, writer's conference founder)
21:58–What inspired her to start an organization to strive for menstrual equity
25:41–The importance of listening, getting feedback from the community to iterate and reiterate on the products and services
31:22–What inspired her to write her book, “The Power of Days”
33:17–Her advice to others interested in starting non-profit organizations
34:35–The importance of gratitude (her license plate even reads GRATA2D!)

Want to know more about Celeste and Days for Girls?

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Elizabeth Pearson Garr has spent a lot of her life asking questions. A daughter of a professor and a principal, as a kid she loved sitting at the “adult table” during their dinner parties so she could participate in the “real” conversations.

Elizabeth went on to graduate with honors from Harvard with a degree in History and Literature, and promptly attended professional cooking school to become a food writer. That led to various career opportunities, including becoming one of the first employees of the Television Food Network; writing/producing gigs at networks from PBS to E!; anchoring/reporting at the NBC affiliate in Billings, Montana; earning a graduate degree in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University; and various and sundry other things. The through-line to all this has been curiosity. Elizabeth is a skilled interviewer who loves diving deep into research, finding connections, and telling good stories.

Elizabeth has a husband, two daughters, and a fluffy white dog who rarely leaves her side.