"Well behaved women seldom make history.” - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
History is made by those who challenge societal norms with vision and purpose. I recently got the opportunity to meet some of the young women challenging an entire country’s societal norms with the intention of building a more just world for women and girls.
Let me back up…..My name is Arielle Ross and I am a Running Start Alum. I have been involved with the organization since 2018, but my passion for women empowerment dates back as far as I can remember. Growing up in a house with all brothers, I quickly realized that strength and being able to advocate for myself was a currency that could take me pretty far. I have been lucky enough to have incredible female role models and mentors throughout my life - women who are at the top of their fields while dedicating their careers to improving the world.
I have been a makeup artist since I was 15 years old. Throughout the last decade, cosmetics have connected me to women in all walks of life. The resilience, grace and power within these women is what inspired me to launch Relevation Beauty, a makeup line completely dedicated to women empowerment. I have been very intentional about my choices in building this business.
Revelation Beauty offers:
High performance, non-toxic, clean makeup
Recyclable/biodegradable packaging and shipping materials
All of our shipments have a net carbon footprint of ZERO.
For every palette sold, we plant a tree.
Last, but certainly not least, we have a partnership with the nonprofit, Speak Up for the Poor. Speak Up defends, educates and empowers vulnerable young women and girls in Bangladesh to keep them in school and out of child marriage. Bangladesh has the highest rate of child marriage for girls under 15 years old in the entire world. 10% of every palette purchase goes directly to Speak Up. When you purchase Relevation Beauty products, you are investing in the education of women.
These girls fight societal norms every single day to pursue their education in order to develop a sense of agency over their lives. I had the privilege of traveling to Bangladesh to meet these change-making young women in person. During my time there, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between what these girls represent and the core values of leadership I learned in Running Start.
1. Nonpartisan - While I’m not referring to Republicans and Democrats in this scenario, the girls in Speak Up’s program are split pretty evenly between Hindu and Muslim. While these religions have varied teachings and expectations, these girls are able to look past that. They work together to uplift one another in order to achieve the greater goals at hand. Community, companionship and collaboration are at the heart of their collective strength.
2. Investing in Young Women - Running Start understands that true leaders are built and nurtured from a young age. Speak Up works with girls in elementary school all the way through college. Taking the time today to invest in young women pays off in multiples tomorrow. When women lead, they bring communities with them. They extend their hand to help others rise around them
3. The Four C’s - confidence, collaboration, capability, community. Running Start and Speak Up both intertwine these core values into their programs. The key is getting young women to have confidence in their capabilities, while understanding that it takes community to make real, lasting change.
On a personal note, I’m really proud of how Relevation has been able to support the transformative work that Speak Up does in Bangladesh. My experience with Running Start was one of the foundational pillars of my personal and professional development. Being part of a program with so many inspirational women had a tremendous influence on my decision to build a company with a mission of empowering women. As my journey as a business owner unfolds, I feel grateful to always have my Running Start community to lean on.