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Look What SHE Did! on “Showing Up” at TEDWomen 2018

By |2019-01-22T12:39:13-08:00January 21st, 2019|LWSD! Announcement|

The theme for the 2018 TEDWomen Conference was “Showing Up”, and I did just that, by packing my baby, husband and mother-in-law into our wagon and setting off for sunny (and rainy, and cold, and windy) Palm Springs this past November.

I’ve struggled the past couple months to find the throughline for my experience at TEDWomen because the talks were so very diverse in subject matter. I was able to hear about 64 talks during my three days in the desert, and with so many meaningful messages shared, I’m honored to now share a few of them with our Look What SHE Did! community.

I listened to Stacy Abrams talk about narrowly losing a hard-fought governor’s race in Georgia, and Kotchakorn Voraakhom talk about how she constructed the first new public greenspace in Bangkok in decades, one that boasts zero water waste, protects the area from flooding, and improves air quality for local residents. I was thrilled to meet Cecile Richards, outgoing CEO of Planned Parenthood, whose talk included this brilliant quote that I will now recite forever, “If women aren’t at the table, they’re on the menu”. And I heard speakers from as far away as Kenya and India tell their stories of grassroots organizing to provide girls with education and save them from atrocities such as child marriage and FGM.

Many of the speakers reaffirmed my commitment to women’s empowerment and human rights, such as Dolores Huerta, who spoke about the day-to-day work of activism and how anyone can make a difference in their community. Others opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and flipped my preconceived notions on their head, such as Emily Quinn, who spoke about her experience being intersex and the fact that we all have a combination of male and female markers in our genes—research that renders male/female gender a social construct. Ai-jen Poo spoke about how domestic workers (those who take care of our children, our homes and our families) have the capacity to solve the world’s most pressing problems, and should be looked to for their advice and wisdom.

Now looking back to my program booklet, where I had scrawled some notes in the dark theater during talks, the theme for the event kept jumping out at me from the page headings– “Showing Up”, so I figured I’d run with it. Now, “showing up”, to me, seems like a pretty low bar for anything. I guess sometimes, showing up is all that’s required, for instance when I put gas in my car I just “show up”, no preparation or advance notice required. But I think the TEDWomen organizers meant it in a deeper way. I felt that we were convened there to celebrate women all around the world who show up to work, to fight, to love, to innovate and to bring together what has been torn apart.

What I realized from my experience at TEDWomen is that women are at the forefront of every major social issue in the world. As the incredible and diverse cross-section of speakers shows, women are leading the charge to combat climate change, fighting for civil rights, for fair labor practices, and for the basic human rights of education, food, shelter and safety for everyone, regardless of who they are, what they look like or where they came from.

Of course, I didn’t need to go to TED to know that women have always shown up–it’s what we do. We see a problem in our community, we fix it, we see injustice in the world, we fight for people’s rights, we see discord, we create harmony, we see suffering, we provide care. And in too many instances, that work is invisible to the world. This is where WE (you, dear reader, and I) show up. We have powerful voices that are respected and listened to. We need to know more of the stories of female achievement that have been ignored by society. We need to learn them, recite them, amplify them, and lift them up into the public consciousness. This is the work that Look What SHE Did! is currently doing, with your support.

So thank you, Look What SHE Did! community, for showing up for us again and again. Thank you for reading our monthly newsletter, contributing to our list of astonishing women, donating to our cause, and for showing up every day in your own lives as the astonishing women (and men, and everything in-between) that you are. Happy 2019!

-Sylvia Hathaway Chavez

Managing Director

Look What SHE Did!

Welcome, Sylvia Hathaway Chavez!

By |2018-09-09T23:27:35-08:00September 9th, 2018|LWSD! Announcement|

This month we welcome our very first Managing Director to Look What SHE Did! Sylvia Hathaway Chavez is a graduate of Antioch’s Nonprofit Management program and has worked in nonprofits in the Bay Area and Los Angeles for over a decade. We are fortunate to have her on our team and look forward to a long and fruitful partnership. Welcome, Sylvia!

Youth Blog:Look What SHE Did! visits the Archer School for Girls

By |2017-07-29T20:49:04-08:00July 29th, 2017|Photos, Look What She Did! Announcement, LWSD! Announcement, Youth Blogger|

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In life, nothing ever goes according to plan — but sometimes it’s better that way.

I realized this on Tuesday, May 2, when I invited Look What SHE Did! founders Jill Klein and Julie Hébert to speak at my high school Archer. After attending their fundraiser in March, I knew that I wanted to get involved by introducing girls at my school to the organization. Julie and I agreed that a good place to start would be for Jill and her to come to Archer to talk about the organization, its mission and watch a few of the videos.

I was hoping Jill and Julie could come during an assembly or Community Connection period, but since we only had two more weeks of school, the assembly times were full. Since I was extremely eager to get the relationship established, and didn’t want to wait until the fall, we picked out a time during an hour long X-block free period, which is a time for girls to catch up on work, go to meetings, attend presentations by guest speakers or just take a break. I attended successful presentations during X-blocks before, so I knew people would likely show up. However, I should have accepted that the final weeks of school is the most hectic time of year. I sent out an email to the school, talked to a lot of my friends who promised they’d come, but when the day of the presentation came, girls who normally would love to attend a presentation during that time were busy working away in the library or were off campus on a field trip.

Expecting a bigger crowd, I was disappointed in myself and embarrassed when only a handful of girls showed up to the presentation. I ran through a list of things I should’ve done differently in my head. I thought to myself, “I should’ve sent out more emails, I should’ve hung up flyers, I should’ve just scheduled this in the fall, I should’ve done this, I should’ve done that…” The list was endless. But when we began I realized that Julie and Jill weren’t upset at all, in fact, they seemed so happy to have an audience, no matter the size. Instead of the big presentation we had hoped for, their visit to Archer turned into a productive and valuable intimate meeting and conversation. All of us took turns sharing an inspiring woman we would choose to talk about in a Look What SHE Did! video. I began by sharing human rights activist Dolores Huerta’s journey, and my friend Rose shared the story of the chemist Rosalind Franklin. At the end of the meeting, we all left feeling excited for the partnership opportunities between the school and the organization.

This experience helped me realize that sometimes things won’t go the way you expect them to, but you can’t beat yourself up about it. I was extremely lucky that things ended up working out well in the end. Although it was a small group, they were able to talk to girls that were a good representation of our larger community. I truly admired that Julie and Jill were equally passionate and enthusiastic in front of just a handful of girls at 10 am on a Tuesday morning as they were at the fundraiser in front of a big crowd. This meeting was the first step in an exciting new relationship between Look What SHE Did! and Archer![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Introducing Look What She Did’s Youth Blogger and Consultant, Cat Oriel!

By |2017-12-01T00:12:07-08:00June 28th, 2017|Photos, Look What She Did! Announcement, LWSD! Announcement, Youth Blogger|

“Women were born with two hands — one to push ourselves forward and another to pull other women along with us.”

– Maggie Wilderotter

Cat Oriel and Delores Huerta

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this compelling quote ever since I heard former Chairwomen/CEO of Frontier Communications Maggie Wilderotter say this on one particularly special Sunday afternoon in March. On Sunday, March 5th, I attended Look What She Did!’s fundraiser at LWSD! board member Melinda White’s home in Mar Vista. During the event, we were able to hear Maggie tell her inspiring story and she offered amazing advice about being a successful woman in business. I was truly moved by her talk, and that one quote has really stuck in my mind. Ever since then I’ve remained thoughtful about all the ways in my life I could be pushing myself forward, while bringing my peers along with me. And I felt thankful for all the powerful women who have pulled me along with them.

One of the highlights of the night was meeting Dolores Huerta, activist, and co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association (which later became the United Farm Workers). I was a bit embarrassed that I didn’t know who she was initially. I almost felt angry with myself and with my history classes that I didn’t know who she was since she is left out of textbooks and lectures. But I think that experience really strengthened my understanding of the importance of the organization Look What She Did! There are so many women just like Dolores who aren’t talked about as much despite their vital contributions to society. Later at school when learning about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers, I made sure to tell everyone about Dolores and what she did as well.

Before I walked into the room, I didn’t know anything about the organization or its mission. But instantly I was welcomed into their community by founders Julie Hébert and Jill Klein and Producing Director Courtney Graham. When I found out their story, I was immediately inspired, but I was particularly moved by how palpable their passion for this project is. I couldn’t wait to share all of the videos with my friends, and after this incredible event, I left knowing that I had to get involved. I’m so excited to be joining the LWSD! team as a youth adviser and blogger!

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Ann-Sophie Morrissette on the Irrepressible Mollie Lowery

By |2018-03-22T05:47:18-08:00May 11th, 2017|New Interview Announcement, LWSD! Announcement|

My sweet friends, we are getting back in the groove sending out one new video per month. This time we present to you the lovely Ann-Sophie Morrissette telling us about a woman who altered the way we as a culture approach the homeless. Mollie Lowery was an original thinker of great and generous spirit, a woman who made a difference in our world.

Warm wishes to you,


Ann-Sophie Morrissette on the Irrepressible Mollie Lowery

Mollie Lowery saw a need and took action— to help homeless men. There was a program in place for women, but men were being left to fend for themselves so Mollie created a place for them using the innovative “Harm Reduction” model, which gets people housing first so they can address all the things that led to their homelessness. Ann-Sophie Morrissette tells us about Mollie’s inspirational life and insights, including having the wisdom to take time out to rejuvenate in nature. Take a listen.

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Tamar Halpern on Nellie Bly

By |2018-06-22T12:53:44-08:00March 21st, 2017|New Interview Announcement, LWSD! Announcement|

My dear friends, what an exciting ride it’s been this month. Look What She Did! is receiving a lot of love and we are grateful… and thrilled to know our work is resonating with an audience.

On the fundraising front, good friends Beth and Bill Busbice have generously offered a matching grant this week! They will match whatever we raise up to $1,500. So now is the time to give– your donation will be worth TWICE as much, really helping us cross the finish line. Here’s the link to our campaign, where you can watch all our latest videos and make a donation: http://lookwhatshedid.causevox.com.

This week we’re releasing a new video with filmmaker Tamar Halpern on Nellie Bly. That name– Nellie Bly– may be a little familiar to you, as it was to me, but do you know what crazy thing she did to become famous? Let Tamar tell you about this audacious young woman who put herself in harm’s way, becoming one of the first — and boldest– investigative journalists in America.

Thanks to all of you who have given already. We love those little notes of encouragement you’ve included. You’ve cheered us beyond our imaginings.

Warm wishes to each of you– and enjoy the interviews!


Tamar Halpern on the Audacious Nellie Bly 

Nellie Bly went from being a penniless unemployed woman to a national superstar for her risk-taking investigative journalism. She’s even got her own board game. Growing up her nickname was Pinky… but once she adopted the moniker Nellie Bly she took the world by storm. She’s the idol and inspiration for writer/director Tamar Halpern who tells us about Nellie’s exploits.

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April Wolfe on Pancho Barnes

By |2017-03-14T07:12:30-08:00March 14th, 2017|New Interview Announcement, LWSD! Announcement|

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Want to know about an outrageous woman who broke all the rules with humor and an unshakeable sense of self? Take a break with Pancho Barnes, a fearless woman who:

  • escaped kidnappers by riding a horse across Mexico dressed as a man—
  • repeatedly said ‘No!” to authority, standing up for herself and others—
  • beat Amelia Earhart’s speed record— and much more.

My favorite quote from this interview:

“If you want to ask for a raise, Pancho Barnes is your spirit animal.”

Check out this week’s video with writer/filmmaker April Wolfe talking about a bold adventuress who’ll capture your imagination and win your heart!

As you know, we’re in the middle of our crowdfunding campaign and though we’re doing well, we’ve hit a bit of a plateau. If you’ve been meaning to give but haven’t gotten around to it—we’d be most grateful if you did.

And why not make your donation in the name of a woman who’s made a difference in your life? We’ll shout out your appreciation for her on social media.  You’ll feel great, we’ll feel great, love all around.


April Wolfe on the Indomitable Pancho Barnes.

This one will make you smile. Pass it on.


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Elisa Bocanegra on María Irene Fornés

By |2017-03-07T07:51:33-08:00March 7th, 2017|New Interview Announcement, LWSD! Announcement|

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]My generous friends!

I am blown away by the response we’ve received for Look What She Did! this first week. The outpouring of support indicates how much LWSD is resonating with folks and it certainly gives us energy to go forward. Thank you to our first week donors.

This week we I am thrilled to share a moving interview with Elisa Bocanegra telling us about a dear mentor of hers… and mine… the amazing María Irene Fornés. You’ll be happy to know about this Cuban-American force of nature, a woman has directly inspired me in my work as a writer and director.

I hope our videos make you think of the strong, talented women who inspire YOU. As we continue in our month of fundraising I ask you to consider making a gift to Look What She Did! in honor of a strong woman. There’s no better time than Women’s History Month to honor the women who have shaped who we are today.

Thank you for sticking with LWSD. I am continuously inspired by your kind commitment to us.



Elisa Bocanegra on Spirited María Irene Fornés

This one is close to my heart. Irene Fornés is my dear friend and inspiration. If not for her I would not have written my first play. Theater artist Elisa Bocanegra tells us the story of this high-spirited, brilliant Cuban émigré who was more dedicated to art and writing than anyone I’ve ever known. An artist, through and through, she was also a teacher, and her unconventional, humanistic, imagistic point of view has guided hundreds and hundreds of writers, Latinos and others as well. We give you this moving interview with love and deep admiration for our Irene.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Roy Dean Grant Finalist

By |2016-12-05T20:05:26-08:00December 5th, 2016|Uncategorized, Look What She Did! Announcement, LWSD! Announcement|

Look What She Did! Is a finalist for the Roy W Dean film grant and we could not be more thrilled and honored. It’s the first grant we’ve applied for as a brand new non-profit and we feel gratified that our work is connecting with folks. Keep your fingers crossed for us. Thanks!

For more about the Roy Dean Grant and the important contributions they make click here.

LWSD! August shoot

By |2018-06-28T18:03:30-08:00September 28th, 2016|Uncategorized, Photos, New Interview Announcement, Look What She Did! Announcement, LWSD! Announcement, Behind the Scenes, Storytellers|

We completed our latest Look What She Did! shoot at the end of August in Julie’s backyard (and two in the front yard– we got wild). Our all-gal crew was amazing (!) and we filmed nine interviews in just one weekend, our biggest shoot ever. Two incredible, inspiring days filled with crazy-great women talking about other crazy-great women. Stay tuned, we’ll be posting new videos soon.

Here are some of our newest co-conspirators (click on image to enlarge):

Downtown Women's Shelter communications director Ann-Sophie Morisette on homeless advocate Mollie Lowery

Downtown Women’s Shelter communications director Ann-Sophie Morisette on homeless advocate Mollie Lowery

Musician/writer April Wolfe on badass aviator Pancho Barnes (yes, she's a woman...)

Musician/writer April Wolfe on badass aviator Pancho Barnes (yes, she’s a woman…)

Playwright Laural Meade on suffragette Sara Bard Field

Playwright Laural Meade on suffragette Sara Bard Field

Filmmaker Tamar Halpem on journalist Nellie Bly

Filmmaker Tamar Halpem on journalist Nellie Bly

Actress Elisa Bocanegra on playwright Maria Irene Fornes

Actress Elisa Bocanegra on playwright Maria Irene Fornes

Screenwriter Anna Thomas on anthropologist Carobeth Laird

Screenwriter Anna Thomas on anthropologist Carobeth Laird