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  • Writer's pictureMary Elizabeth Wieder

Cheers to 37! A Birthday with (Social) Impact...

Not only are birthdays an occasion to connect and celebrate with friends and relatives, it's also time to reflect on another trip around the sun and think about our impact. Yesterday, August 27, I added another year to the ring. Thanks for all the birthday love, and here are some thoughts on social impact and an introduction to two new #socialimpact projects for female entrepreneurs and refugees.

I am always amazed at the amount of messages I receive on my birthday through various digital and social media channels, even from people that I don't see or hear from that often. These immediate and direct communication feeds make it easy for a person to reach out and make a person feel loved on their special day.

In this regard, from LinkedIn to Facebook to Instagram and Whatsapp (and maybe even some other channels), thank you to everyone that took the time to write to me. By the time I woke up on the east coast of the U.S., I already had a plethora of messages from my European friends and family and even some Australia mates.

But it also got me thinking...

About a week before my birthday, Facebook sent me a notification asking if I wanted to set up a charity donation for my birthday and listed some organizations they supported. It's a noble gesture, and one I considered for a minute. But then I decided I wanted to be more impactful.

Why is social impact so important to me?

Here is a definition: Social impact can be defined as the net effect of an activity on a community and the well-being of individuals and families.

I believe it is important as individuals and businesses to leave a positive impact and contribute to the wellbeing of our community. We can do this by using resources at our disposal to support those in need and using the power of communication to broadcast our message. It's also a core business model I am looking to develop through M7 Social Project: providing strategic marketing services while also developing social projects like helping female entrepreneurs with startup businesses.

With that being said, here are two projects I initiated yesterday that I wanted to share:

KIVA micro financing loans for female entrepreneurs is an organization that allows you to make small loans to aspiring business owners around the world in developing or third world countries in order to help them launch their activities and become self-sufficient. I find this program inspirational; not only can we make "donations" that will help small business owners, but we can make strategic business decisions by reading their business plans and stories. These are loans so the business owners do pay you back with time, and you can use the paid back loans to fund other businesses.

I have a particular interest in female business owners and I like to fund in countries where I have been. This round I chose Diana Ester from Colombia who runs a clothing business and was deeply affected by Covid-19.

Mentoring Refugees in Italy

The latest news from Afghanistan has been a cold shock felt around the world. Many refugees around the world flee for a better life. Living in Italy, I know that many refugees arrive everyday from Africa and the Middle East. Once they are in Italy, many struggle to integrate into the everyday life and struggle with the language, employment, education and regular, everyday tasks.

Welcome Refugees is an Italian organization that helps refugees through mentorship programs or family hosts. I recently signed up to be a mentor.

As I reflect on year 37, I feel quite lucky to be blessed with a family, two kids and a developing career where I would like to continuously study social impact and incorporate it into my work. Thank you to everyone that has supported this vision!

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