BENEW Sandbox

#InspireHerMind #LikeAGirl Because #GirlsCan!

What do Verizon, Always, and Covergirl have in common? One provides digital services, one femine products, and one cosmetics – but they’re all inspiring young women to be more than society says they are.

This year, these three brands launched ads focusing on words and how they effect young girls’ perceptions of themselves. Verizon’s ad focuses on the fact that society should stop demeaning adolescent girls’ love of math and science with #InspireHerMind, while Always’ (featured in our previous blogpost) viral video aims to change the insulting tone of the phrase “Like a girl,” with their #LikeAGirl campaign. In addition to these two thought-provoking videos, Covergirl recently unveiled a series of commercials entitled “#GirlsCan,” that give examples of powerful women such as Queen Latifah and Ellen Degeneres who have achieved what others said they couldn’t.

At BENEW, we believe these #BrandsWithPlans are changing the scope of business by motivating young ladies to go beyond what has traditionally been expected of them. They make way for a future in which women are at the forefront of business and thought leaders of our world. How do these three brands (or others) inspire you? Share with us on Twitter using the hashtag #BrandsWithPlans.

Hedy's Story

Perhaps it was the 2014 Academy Award winning documentary of Alice Herz-Sommer - the oldest known Holocaust survivor, or maybe it was the "60 Minutes" broadcast of Nicholas Winton's herculean efforts to save the lives of 669 Czech children from the Nazis in 1938 that brought her memory and story cascading back into my thoughts.

I met her in 1969 and we remained close friends until her death in 2004. Some have said I was her second daughter, while she the "good mother" I had always yearned for.

In any case, the last years of her dementia-rifled life and our waning time together centered around "her story." The one in which she saved herself and several family members from extinction while hidden from the Nazis by French peasants who she clothed with her last remaining means of defense - her arsenal of dress making skills.

She had always wanted the details of "her story" to be told to the world at large, but at present they remain silently tucked away form public view in the archives of Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation.

So on a recent hot summer day, Hedy and I are reunited once again at Columbia University where I have come to listen and watch her 1995 interview with The Shoah Foundation. Just like in our past visits we are once again seated in her pale blue living room surrounded by all the familiar photographs and memorabilia that I have not seen in over 10 years.

And after several hours of very careful listening, I am awestruck by how innocently I had misunderstood her story. Because for over 35 years we had spent many hours together but somehow during all these visits I had missed the essence of her being. While I had been searching only for love and acceptance, I was just about to realize that all this time I had been in the presence of the most courageous and POSITIVE human being I had ever known.

It seems that all these years I had been mistaken, for it was not the details of her story that needed to be shared with the world, but the story of Hedy herself. For it was oh so obvious to me now that she alone had been the heroine of the tale - her tenacity, her indomitable spirit, and most definitely her positivity at every twist and turn in this life threatening chapter of her journey enabled her to survive and many years later to thrive.

Hedy, my friend, you are gone but never forgotten! Your story will always remain in my thoughts.

When Cancer Came Calling

Several months ago a networking newsletter landed in my email inbox. As I perused it one particular article stood out, and I knew for certain that one day I would have to write about it.

It was the story of Rachel Troxell - a breast cancer patient who turned her misfortune into good fortune for other women. Frustrated with the selection of lymphedema compression sleeves (lymphedema is a side effect of breast cancer treatment that causes permanent swelling in the arm) Rachel started LympheDIVAS:  A decorative line of compression sleeves.

I am way too familiar with the rough textured, heavy, hot, beige sleeves that Rachel rejected and ingeniously redesigned, because they were the kind my sister Margaret Newborg wore for many years before she passed away in 2008. Sadly, Rachel succumbed to breast cancer as well that year but her legacy lives on with her company, now run by her loving parents and brother.

Recently I attended the S.H.E. Summit where Tiffany Jones shared her recurring battle with breast cancer that led to her founding the Pink Chose Me Foundation and the creation of the Love In the City TV pilot that was picked up by Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network.

And then, there is my dear, uber talented friend Rainey Day Erwin, who I always knew would turn cancer into another one of her amazing art forms, which are featured below!

  For a design consultation, Rainey Day Erwin can be reached at

  For a design consultation, Rainey Day Erwin can be reached at

Cancer came calling but these three remarkably talented women just showed it the door!

Thriving, Loving, & Legacy

Several years ago while sitting at her desk Arianna Huffington keeled over from exhaustion, broke her cheekbone, and gashed her eyelid. Ironically, Arianna's misfortune turned out to be my good fortune because several weeks ago I got to attend, for free, her Thrive Conference - A Third Metric Live Event - at New York's City Center. To read a much better overview than I could ever write, check out "Inside Third Metric Live, Where CEOs Preach 'Wellness' as a Means to Money and Power," by Slate Magazine.

What I would like to write about were my two favorite speakers from this two day event:  Panache Desai and Brad Meltzer. The first time I ever heard Panache Desai speak was on Oprah Winfrey's "Soul Sunday" and I was hooked. How can you not like a man who professes that "there is no part of you that is wrong?" Panache believes "liberation is acceptance of one's self and one's self as it is. Liberation and freedom and your greater potential can begin to be accessed when you finally take a stand and say, 'I am here, I AM ENOUGH, and that is ALL.'" So simple, so empowering, and so very difficult for most of us to do. But now we can read his newly released book, "Discovering Your Soul Signature" or click on the video above and start practicing.

If we can do this well, we will be on our way to answer the question that Brad Meltzer proposed to all of us at the conference to write down - What is your legacy?

Brad told us emphatically that we will all live on forever if we do two things; help others and make sure that we thank those that had change our lives. And lo and behold several days later I was about to get my chance! On Friday, May 2, while purchasing my copy of Panache Desai's book at Barnes & Noble, I saw that T.D. Jakes would be signing his new book "Instinct" on May 6. Several years ago on Oprah's Life Class, I heard T.D. Jakes utter these nine words - "Who are these people you want to validate you?" My life was changed right on the spot! Now I was going to get my chance to thank him in person and so I did! See below. So let me know how you are thriving, loving yourself, and living your legacy and  learn more by reading one of these three new books by Arianna Huffington, Panache Desai, and T.D. Jakes.