Women's History Month Spotlight: Empowering Women Forward with Power Pump Girls
Power Pump Girls Co-Founders, (L to R) Sherin Dawud and Raina Vallot
Power Pump Girls can be described as a lifestyle brand and social impact club. On a mission to empower women, they connect and serve by design. PPG unites women to create awareness and advocacy around social issues people, specifically women, face. Their digital platforms are strategic in generating buzz on conversations that need to be had–and their merchandise further amplifies their message.
The PPG merchandise collections continue to drive their meaningful conversation surrounding social issues, womanhood and the art of the hustle forward. See for yourself here: https://powerpumpgirls.shop/collections/all.
They are not all talk. Everything about their non-profit is unconventional—from giveback t-shirts to women's rights legislation.
PPG provides research and connects community to experts in relevant fields—bridging the knowledge gap on areas of interest such as period equity, civic engagement, education and more. Not only are they change makers, but also opportunity creators. They have unconventionally created opportunities for women to volunteer, donate, and use their skill set to actualize change—allowing community members to connect while simultaneously making an impact on the Baton Rouge and state-wide community.
We had the pleasure of speaking with co-founder Sherin Dawud on what their journey has been like and where they are heading.
Do you feel like being a woman in the non-profit sector makes it difficult securing funding and tackling your initiatives?
I do think it makes it more challenging and it requires me to get more creative with how I approach looking for money. Honestly, it's always a struggle- especially with our biggest initiative being on menstruation and a lot of men aren't trying to hear that.
We started selling merchandise because we had to get creative. In the beginning we thought, "oh we'll write grants" and "we'll get funding"; As soon as we started the foundation, the men were not interested in giving us grant funding, so that came as a big slap in the face.
Recently you did celebrate a win on "pink tax". Tell us about that.
We worked with representative Aimee Freeman, of New Orleans. We initially passed this idea off to another state legislator that we had a relationship with, and he was not interested in it; he thought it wasn't strong enough to bring to the floor.
When Amy got into her position as a state representative, he brought it to her. She hopped on board, reached out to us, and led the charge. All we did was activate our community to write letters and get the word out, but it passed. It was a really big win.
The pink tax doesn't just help women-it helps single fathers, single mothers, parents, who cannot afford products such as diapers. All women products are taxed at a higher rate because women shop more. Men really didn't understand that it impacts their income as they are the head of households. We got it passed on a state level and now the state requires each municipal city to approve.
What is your why?
My mom has always been my why. She did not get to finish school when she had me and my sister. So, they are a lot of sacrifices she made on my behalf. My entire life I'd tell her, "I'm going to become a millionaire. I'm going to buy your first house." Unfortunately she passed away, but it still pushes me until this day. I am a by-product of her, and while she may not get to see it, she can rest peacefully knowing that I am carrying everything on that she sowed into me; Im not doing it for myself, but for other women through really pushing them to be their best selves, start companies and organizations. I wouldn't be doing any of this if it wasn't for her.
How do you ensure you get the most out of your day and not let the day get the most of you?
Some days are better than others. I time block my a-- off. My schedule is booked from now until April. I have to time block though my calendar and a notebook I organize with colorful sticky notes based on projects- then I color coordinate for each priority.
If I miss it on the calendar, I won't miss it in my notebook.
What advice can you give to women looking to start a business?
Be prepared to be unprepared. Everyone thinks they know what it takes and it truly doesn't matter how prepared you think you are. You're pivoting every other second trying to make this thing work. The first pivot won't be the last pivot; you have to get comfortable with always switching how you get there. As long as you still have a direction in mind- where you want to be and where you want to go, it doesn't matter which path it takes to get there. Be okay if there's a block that you have to turn toward a different direction.
How does Power Pump Girls serve the Baton Rouge community?
We incorporated in 2017, and in 2018 we converted into a non-profit. We've been doing the works since 2018. Pre-pandemic we hosted networking mixers but as of late, we've focused on social issues.
If you could mentor your younger self, what would you to her?
It's not as easy as you think it's going to be and that's okay. You may not get there when you thought you were going to get there and that's okay. The world does not look like the world you thought it would and that is okay. Adapt, stay creative, never change who you are, be authentic. From that, only great things can come.
Follow PPG along their journey on Instagram @powerpumpgirlsinc and on Twitter @powerpumpgirls.