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She quit her job to help folks with disabilities find theirs. It's working.

Where her country only saw disabilities, she saw real people who have a lot to give. Here are the lessons she's learned along the way.

She quit her job to help  folks with disabilities find theirs. It's working.
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Facebook #SheMeansBusiness

Angkie Yudistia started a business to give the 37 million people in Indonesia who have a disability a chance at the training and skills they deserve.

Image via Facebook, used with permission.


She would know about that. She herself is hard of hearing.

She was familiar with the lives of folks with disabilities — a life that was, in fact, her life. But still, Thisable, an independent foundation that empowers people living with a disability to be financially independent, was going to be her first business venture ever. She even quit her job to pursue it.

And she learned a lot along the way. It wasn't easy for Angkie to start her business, but she did it anyway. And by learning from her, we might all be one step closer to making our own firsts happen!

Here are some lessons in starting a socially conscious business from someone who knows: Angkie!

1. You'll have to take a financial and personal risk.

That's just how it is.

2. You may have to give up a stable job — and your regular income.

Angkie was a well-paid marketing communication officer, but she knew she had to give that up to do what she dreamed of doing.

3. You might have a lack of business experience, but do your best.

Know that each mistake is a learning opportunity. Angkie says, "Being an entrepreneur is hugely rewarding, but there can be moments when things aren’t going perfectly and it can affect your morale."

4. Your parents might not come around at first.

Recently featured in an article through Facebook, Angkie says her parents really got on board when they saw how their daughter had actually turned her calling into a business.

5. Take time for yourself AND be a great entrepreneur.

As Angkie told Facebook, she'll even bring her husband and daughter to overseas meetings with her — just to make sure she spends as many weekends with them as possible.

6. Have someone to support you and help you keep your life in balance.

Her husband really supports her finding balance. She said he's "happy to pitch in around the house" which helps her keep work and life on an even keel.

7. Use social media.

It's clear from Angkie's Facebook page that she has many stories to tell. But her Instagram presence has helped her build her personal brand so much that it led to a publishing deal to tell the story of her personal journey from marketing executive to a budding, blossoming entrepreneur.

8. Sometimes business as usual isn't enough. Especially if you want to change what's usual.

Thisable Enterprise is more than just an organization that provides training to people with disabilities (though that would be plenty). To truly change the way Asia — and Indonesia specifically — views disability, Thisable had to get in the trenches. With Angkie at the helm, Thisable is lobbying governments and private and public companies.

9. Mentorship matters.

Thisable, and Angkie in particular, emphasize providing mentorship to participants.

10. Working together helps us all.

Angkie works with corporate social responsibility programs at various businesses in order to drum up employment opportunities for the community she has formed of people with disabilities.

11. Giving people power over their own destiny isn't just good for the world, it's good for the economy.

By giving the 37 million people with a disability in Indonesia a stronger start, Angkie is giving her homeland vast new natural resources — people and talent. Imagine the potential of so many new, skilled, happy, and supported people.

Thisable has only just begun its mission to redefine disability. But it's safe to say that Angkie has learned a great deal by taking the plunge and starting her own thing.

Here's to female entrepreneurs who are making the world a better place, running a business, and proving to the world that they deserve a position of power.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Wil Wheaton speaking to an audience at 2019 Wondercon.

In an era of debates over cancel culture and increased accountability for people with horrendous views and behaviors, the question of art vs. artist is a tricky one. When you find out an actor whose work you enjoy is blatantly racist and anti-semitic in real life, does that realization ruin every movie they've been a part of? What about an author who has expressed harmful opinions about a marginalized group? What about a smart, witty comedian who turns out to be a serial sexual assaulter? Where do you draw the line between a creator and their creation?

As someone with his feet in both worlds, actor Wil Wheaton weighed in on that question and offered a refreshingly reasonable perspective.

A reader who goes by @avinlander asked Wheaton on Tumblr:

"Question: I have more of an opinion question for you. When fans of things hear about misconduct happening on sets/behind-the-scenes are they allowed to still enjoy the thing? Or should it be boycotted completely? Example: I've been a major fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since I was a teenager and it was currently airing. I really nerded out on it and when I lost my Dad at age 16 'The Body' episode had me in such cathartic tears. Now we know about Joss Whedon. I haven't rewatched a single episode since his behavior came to light. As a fan, do I respectfully have to just box that away? Is it disrespectful of the actors that went through it to knowingly keep watching?"

And Wheaton offered this response, which he shared on Facebook:

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."