This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending an alumnae event at Wellesley College, my alma mater. It was a weekend packed with inspirational speeches, mind blowing facts, and tactical tips. The college staff and professors challenged us with the ideas of inclusion and diversity. To top all off, we had the privilege of hearing Madeleine Albright speak twice! Needless to say, I was glowing with inspiration and new ideas by the end of the weekend. Yet, I couldn’t help but reflect on what I’ve done with my education; admittedly there was an inkling of “do I measure up to Wellesley’s mission?” that ran through my mind.
Wellesley’s mission is to provide an excellent education to women who will make a difference in the world. The gift of education is the confidence to dare, to strive, to learn more, and to be more than the person we are today. Call it curiosity. Call it Wellesley Effect. It’s the undercurrent that pushes us out of our comfort zone and propels us to dream and take risks.
It’s evident our most illustrious alums, Hillary Clinton’69 and Madeleine Albright‘59, have made lived up to that part… but what about the rest of us who aren’t as extraordinary? I myself am just an introverted working mom of two girls, partnered with the world’s most supportive spouse, and through grit and perseverance, built 20+ years career in Finance. How do I make a difference?
Earlier this year I took a leap into social entrepreneurship, co-founding a non-profit called Jezuba. Jezuba sprouted from a personal philosophy that we can collectively make a social impact through a community based on local commerce and charitable giving. The core of the community is to provide a marketplace for artists of all trades to sell their work, while taking 100% of sale profits to provide solar LED lamps for underserved communities in Burma. Our aspiring volunteers are also given the opportunity to learn marketing and operations, gaining essential business skills in the process.
In full transparency, I have no assurance in how successful this new endeavor will be and how much impact we’ll bring, but I truly believe that:
With these points as my returns on investment, my fear of failure subsides.
And of course- the vitality of our marketplace and all non-profits are our donors. I encourage you to visit the Jezuba online store as we approach the holiday season and Giving Tuesday this December 3rd .
With that, I’ll conclude with a quote from Madelina Albright: “I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.”1
Rebecca Liao '93
Co-founder and Director, Jezuba
1On her upbringing, Madam Secretary (2003), p. 512
Credit: Sophia Fioretti