No Barriers

A Gen Z Perspective on the Pandemic with Activist, Maya Penn - Extended Version

Episode Summary

Alchemy Series, sponsored by Wells Fargo and Prudential: Part 5. Maya Penn is a Gen Z environmental activist, 3-time TEDTalk Speaker, founder, and CEO of sustainable fashion brand Maya’s Ideas, animator, filmmaker, global activist, and author. She started her eco-fashion company in 2008 at only 8 years old and founded a nonprofit organization called Maya's Ideas 4 The Planet.

Episode Notes

As we continue to speak with thought leaders and experts during this pandemic for our Alchemy Series, it became clear a voice was missing: how are younger people adapting during this time? After all, Gen Z is notably affected: missing graduation ceremonies, virtual learning replacing the classroom entirely, proms, and other milestone moments being called off - we wanted to hear how someone in this demographic was responding to this moment in time. 

This past Earth Day, our guest was Maya Penn - a suitable fit as Maya has been working in sustainability for 12 years and she started her eco-fashion company in 2008 at only 8 years old. She has been hand chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her youngest Supersoul 100 changemaker and thought leader and received a commendation from President Barack Obama for outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship. 

Maya made history in 2016 during the Obama administration when she was commissioned to create an animated film for the opening of the first-ever digital report to congress, which was to have an American museum of Women’s History built in Washington. She also founded a nonprofit organization called Maya's Ideas 4 The Planet and started an ongoing initiative where she designed and has created eco-friendly sanitary pads for women/girls in developing countries and she has shipped pads to healthcare facilities in Haiti, Senegal, Somalia, and more. 

Maya is clearly someone who takes action and has never let her young age dictate how she will conquer her goals. Her lessons in this episode are poignant for any time in our lives but she honed in on some of the trauma and despair that is happening now and how to harness this adversity. Her simple advice to take small steps toward any goal, or to look for the many available resources now made easily accessible for all online is helpful for a listener of any page. For more tips and ideas go to for a downloadable tip sheet. 

A special shout out to Wells Fargo and Prudential: our generous Alchemy Series sponsors. 

Additional Resources:

Follow Maya on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook: @mayasideas

Mayas Ideas 4 The Planet

TEDTalk Women from 2013

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