She's started 3 organizations. And each one made a huge difference in people's lives.

"Self-starter" should be Adrianna Tan’s middle name.

In four years' time, 30-year-old powerhouse Adrianna Tan founded three different organizations — all of which empower people and improve lives across the world.

It seems like there's nothing the young entrepreneur hasn't done; she's traveled to 30 countries (and given a TEDx Talk on curing wanderlust); advocated for gender equality, LGBT rights, and using capitalism to empower people; and figured out a way to incorporate her penchant for travel, education, food, and collaboration into successful businesses that have made life better for hundreds of people.


Image via Adrianna Tan, used with permission.

Adrianna's always on the lookout for ways she can improve her surrounding communities via technology and social outreach.

"Being from a part of the world [Asia] with so many wonderful experiences but also so many dire ones definitely shaped the way I thought about life and business.I saw no point in building a company in Asia to solve only 'first world problems,'" Tan told Upworthy.

The first organization she started is the Gyanada Foundation, which aims to fully fund education for underprivileged girls from five cities in India.

The literacy rate in India, especially for women, historically has been low. By the time Adrianna, who was born in Singapore, had spent a decade living in and traveling to India, she had seen firsthand that the bar for education for women needed to be raised. She had already been volunteering for educational nonprofits that were working with girls in need, so she simply decided to start her own.

Image via Adrianna Tan/Gyanada Foundation, used with permission.

Thanks to her foundation, 150 Indian girls receive educational scholarships each year.The foundation has done so well that it won the Public Service Award from Asia Society’s Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative, which included a $10,000 grant.

Next up, the foundation plans to expand: It's working on incorporating a sex-education-through-theater class and a coding class for their girls to get a leg up in the tech world.

Image via Gyanada Foundation/Facebook, used with permission.

In 2013, Adrianna moved on to a project that fueled her food-loving heart: Culture Kitchen.

Image via Culture Kitchen/YouTube.

Culture Kitchen provides pop-up, cross-cultural potlucks of sorts, where traditional dishes are served, and local Singaporeans and migrant workers can meet and interact.

The idea for it came out of the inordinate amount of xenophobia Adrianna was witnessing both in person and online.

"I decided I wanted to create moments for people across different ethnicities and cultures, and class, to meet and eat with each other," she explained.

Image via Adrianna Tan, used with permission.

Not surprisingly, the idea caught on, and in June of last year, Culture Kitchen was awarded $10,000 in cash and $10,000 in flights by Jetstar's Flying Start Program.

Then came Wobe, a program that aims to give Southeast Asian women the opportunity to provide for their families using only their phones.

Image via Wobe/Facebook, used with permission.

The idea for Wobe came out of an all too common problem: "How do we create income and employment to millions of women who need to provide for their families, but can't?"

To the tech-savvy Adrianna, the answer was simple: create an app. The app helps these women start their own micro-businesses, such as selling prepaid phone credit and other digital commodities that are in high demand in Southeast Asia. Right now, they are in pre-launch phase, but their projected impact looks promising — Adrianna says that if the program catches on, they expect Wobe will be able to increase the income of Indonesian women by 30% to 200%.

At the end of the day, it all comes back to collaboration.

Image via Adrianna Tan, used with permission.

Working with others across countries and cultural boundaries is behind everything Adrianna does. Her ability to collaborate with pretty much anyone anywhere is why she’s had so many successes in business — including being named a Top Female Entrepreneur of 2015 by True Global Ventures.

"I've had to learn several languages, more 'slang words' and inter-cultural ways of working with people from all backgrounds. Being able to communicate effectively helps a lot, but more than that it is the ability to 'read' situations and context. That is wonderful for business in more than one way," she said.

Social media makes creating these connections easier — Adrianna says that she's found most of her cofounders and collaborators through Facebook and other networks, and it's also how she stays in touch with the communities she's created.

"I've used social media for many years now, and I've found that it is especially effective for business in the emerging markets, where I work. ... It lets us talk directly to real people in real time, and for that Wobe is able to gain invaluable insights."

Adrianna knows you can’t always look ahead and calculate all the risks, especially when setting out as an entrepreneur — sometimes you just have to jump.

As she puts it, "Look into enhancing your risk appetite and more importantly calibrating it, and then take as much of it as you can," she said. "Nothing will move until risk is an element, and that was my most important lesson."

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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