BENEW Sandbox

Michael Kors & United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to Help Fight Global Hunger #WatchHungerStop

Michael Kors has been partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme since early 2013 to help fight global hunger with their Watch Hunger Stop campaign.

In order to support these efforts, Kors designed a special series of watches to be showcased in his philanthropic initiatives program known as Kors Cares. A new limited edition watch will be added this year that will be sold exclusively in Michael Kors stores. Each Watch Hunger Stop watch sold will help WFP provide 100 children in need with a nutritious meal.

Last year the campaign exceeded their goal of delivering 5 million to hungry children in need and they are eager to further increase the number of donated meals with the campaign this year.

This year Michael Kors is holding the Watch Hunger Stop Sweepstakes where the winner and a friend the chance to accompany WFP on a field visit (to Asia, Africa or Latin America). The experience will allow for these two lucky individuals to experience first hand WFP’s school meals programs and help feed hungry children in need. What a great opportunity that Michael Kors and WFP is offering to their supporters! Who wouldn’t love to have an experience such as this available to them?!

Be sure to stop by a participating Michael Kors store on October 16th to get a free t-shirt and post a picture of you wearing the shirt using #WatchHungerStop to spread the word!

#BrandsWithPlans: Kenneth Cole & Look Good For Good

Kenneth Cole has a reputation as being one of the most socially responsible brands in business, and their 2014 campaign labeled "Look Good For Good" solidifies their spot in our #BrandsWithPlans category.

"Look Good For Good" is a partnership between Kenneth Cole and TakePart to support three projects run by Saint Luke's Foundation for Haiti, HELP USA, and Sundance Institute.

These three organizations support causes that Kenneth Cole wants to personally contribute to, and his brand gives him the ability to do so. Saint Luke's Foundation raises funds to continue the restoration of Haiti from the 2010 earthquake, while also providing education for those affected, HELP USA works to end homelessness in the United States and has served more than 300,000 people since 1986, and the Sundance Institute "actively advances the work of risk-taking storytellers worldwide." Throughout the campaign consumers will have a chance to win prizes while also learning about these causes and finding out how they can support them.

Kenneth Cole deserves to be one of BENEW's #BrandsWithPlans because he uses the success and influence of his company to not only change the world--but inspire others to do so as well.

Roadside MBA: Business Tactics On a Smaller Scale

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to road trip with three of your favorite professors? Well now you don’t have to. Roadside MBA features three economics professors road tripping around the United States to educate small and medium-sized businesses owners with MBA knowledge usually reserved for business mavens like Ford, Pepsi, and Microsoft.

Since the beginning of their journey in 2011, Mike Mazzeo, Paul Oyer, and Scott Schaefer have visited around 100 businesses on seven different road trips, learned about what makes those businesses work, and published a book - Roadside MBA:  Backroad Lessons for Entrepreneurs, Executives and Small Business Owners (Business Plus). In this book you will find valuable lessons on business tactics tailor-made for business owners just like you.

We love Roadside MBA because they decided to take what they know and use it to benefit others in a creative way. If you’re the owner of a small or medium-sized business, pick up a copy of their book at one of these locations and get your “Roadside MBA” today.

#InspireHerMind #LikeAGirl Because #GirlsCan!

What do Verizon, Always, and Covergirl have in common? One provides digital services, one femine products, and one cosmetics – but they’re all inspiring young women to be more than society says they are.

This year, these three brands launched ads focusing on words and how they effect young girls’ perceptions of themselves. Verizon’s ad focuses on the fact that society should stop demeaning adolescent girls’ love of math and science with #InspireHerMind, while Always’ (featured in our previous blogpost) viral video aims to change the insulting tone of the phrase “Like a girl,” with their #LikeAGirl campaign. In addition to these two thought-provoking videos, Covergirl recently unveiled a series of commercials entitled “#GirlsCan,” that give examples of powerful women such as Queen Latifah and Ellen Degeneres who have achieved what others said they couldn’t.

At BENEW, we believe these #BrandsWithPlans are changing the scope of business by motivating young ladies to go beyond what has traditionally been expected of them. They make way for a future in which women are at the forefront of business and thought leaders of our world. How do these three brands (or others) inspire you? Share with us on Twitter using the hashtag #BrandsWithPlans.

Hedy's Story

Perhaps it was the 2014 Academy Award winning documentary of Alice Herz-Sommer - the oldest known Holocaust survivor, or maybe it was the "60 Minutes" broadcast of Nicholas Winton's herculean efforts to save the lives of 669 Czech children from the Nazis in 1938 that brought her memory and story cascading back into my thoughts.

I met her in 1969 and we remained close friends until her death in 2004. Some have said I was her second daughter, while she the "good mother" I had always yearned for.

In any case, the last years of her dementia-rifled life and our waning time together centered around "her story." The one in which she saved herself and several family members from extinction while hidden from the Nazis by French peasants who she clothed with her last remaining means of defense - her arsenal of dress making skills.

She had always wanted the details of "her story" to be told to the world at large, but at present they remain silently tucked away form public view in the archives of Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation.

So on a recent hot summer day, Hedy and I are reunited once again at Columbia University where I have come to listen and watch her 1995 interview with The Shoah Foundation. Just like in our past visits we are once again seated in her pale blue living room surrounded by all the familiar photographs and memorabilia that I have not seen in over 10 years.

And after several hours of very careful listening, I am awestruck by how innocently I had misunderstood her story. Because for over 35 years we had spent many hours together but somehow during all these visits I had missed the essence of her being. While I had been searching only for love and acceptance, I was just about to realize that all this time I had been in the presence of the most courageous and POSITIVE human being I had ever known.

It seems that all these years I had been mistaken, for it was not the details of her story that needed to be shared with the world, but the story of Hedy herself. For it was oh so obvious to me now that she alone had been the heroine of the tale - her tenacity, her indomitable spirit, and most definitely her positivity at every twist and turn in this life threatening chapter of her journey enabled her to survive and many years later to thrive.

Hedy, my friend, you are gone but never forgotten! Your story will always remain in my thoughts.

Always: The First Of Our #BrandsWithPlans

At BENEW, we believe that with great power comes great responsibility, and it is the responsibility of corporations to be the change needed in the world. We call these "Brands With Plans," and the first of our #BrandsWithPlans is Always.

Last week, Always launched a viral video campaign with the debut of “#LikeAGirl” on YouTube. In one week the video had over 20 million views, and the numbers keep growing.

 The ad sheds light on the impact that the phrase “like a girl” has on adolescent girls’ self-confidence being that it has a negative connotation. Always proved this by asking the participants in their ad to run, throw, and fight “like a girl.” The results were less than inspiring—even when asked of grown women.

 The inspirational portion of the video begins when the same questions are asked of young girls who still perceive “like a girl” to mean they should run as fast as they can, throw as hard as they can, and fight as well as they can. Always then asks the question, “When did doing something ‘like a girl’ become an insult?”

 This ad campaign should inspire all of us to be mindful of what we say around young, impressionable girls. We want them to grow up seeing themselves as strong, capable, and independent women, and doing something “like a girl” should mean doing nothing less than your absolute best.

 Lauren Greenfield, filmmaker and editor of the #LikeAGirl video, said it best:  When the words 'like a girl' are used to mean something bad, it is profoundly disempowering. I am proud to partner with Always to shed light on how this simple phrase can have a significant and long-lasting impact on girls and women. I am excited to be a part of the movement to redefine 'like a girl' into a positive affirmation."

 What do you do #LikeAGirl? Stay tuned for blogposts featuring women who inspire us to be the best we can be by using their lives to empower others.

Making It Right!

What do you do when you LOVE ice cream and want to change the world?

You find an ice cream maker extraordinaire that shares your passions, ask your banker to support your goal, sprinkle in some superb entertainment, and invite your friends, colleagues, and the public to celebrate your dream. Now you have all the necessary ingredients to launch - Make It Right Ice Cream - the power of the pint!


When Cancer Came Calling

Several months ago a networking newsletter landed in my email inbox. As I perused it one particular article stood out, and I knew for certain that one day I would have to write about it.

It was the story of Rachel Troxell - a breast cancer patient who turned her misfortune into good fortune for other women. Frustrated with the selection of lymphedema compression sleeves (lymphedema is a side effect of breast cancer treatment that causes permanent swelling in the arm) Rachel started LympheDIVAS:  A decorative line of compression sleeves.

I am way too familiar with the rough textured, heavy, hot, beige sleeves that Rachel rejected and ingeniously redesigned, because they were the kind my sister Margaret Newborg wore for many years before she passed away in 2008. Sadly, Rachel succumbed to breast cancer as well that year but her legacy lives on with her company, now run by her loving parents and brother.

Recently I attended the S.H.E. Summit where Tiffany Jones shared her recurring battle with breast cancer that led to her founding the Pink Chose Me Foundation and the creation of the Love In the City TV pilot that was picked up by Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network.

And then, there is my dear, uber talented friend Rainey Day Erwin, who I always knew would turn cancer into another one of her amazing art forms, which are featured below!

  For a design consultation, Rainey Day Erwin can be reached at

  For a design consultation, Rainey Day Erwin can be reached at

Cancer came calling but these three remarkably talented women just showed it the door!

Love After Love

The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your own door, in your own mirror,
And each will smile at the other's welcome
And say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you
All your life, whom you have ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

-Derek Walcott