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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Dec 2, 2020

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: I am so excited about the next generation of young people who are coming up in the world and how they are so motivated and determined to make the world a better place. They seem to be starting at a younger and younger age. Just this year, I’ve had quite a few teenagers on the show who are just doing absolutely incredible things in the world. Today’s guest is not different, and she’s going to knock your socks off. My guest this week is Isha Uppalapati, the founder of A Girl’s Frontier, a 501c3 nonprofit organization focused on helping young girls find and harness their leadership potential while providing them with the opportunities to do so. She is also the author of Her Toolbox: Learning to Be A Female Leader with Advice from Women in Power, a compilation of advice from women leaders. Isha is a high school senior (can you believe that?!) in Marietta, GA. She is doing more by the age of 18, than I think I’ve done in 35 years of life! Isha is incredibly motivating and encouraging, and you are going to love this conversation.

5:19 - The Isha 101

  • Isha is the founder of A Girl’s Frontier, a nonprofit that helps young girls fulfil their aspirations and helps them with their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs. She’s also the author of Her Toolbox: Learning to Be A Female Leader with Advice from Women in Power. This was all before she became a senior in high school!
  • The idea for A Girl’s Frontier started with some of Isha’s hobbies. She’s always loved making things or putting things together. She’s always had the support of her parents, and would put together doll houses with her dad, or write her own little books and even make her own binding for them.
  • Her family and friends who gave her so much love and support gave her the confidence from a very young age that she could be whatever she wants to be and do whatever she wants to do. Even when she told her support system that she wanted to be a race car driver, they believed she would do it if she said she wanted to.
  • Isha created A Girl’s Frontier to provide the same opportunities she had to girls everywhere. The organization helps fund education for girls around the world, including Honduras and India, connecting them to mentors who can help guide them to be who they want to be.
  • They’ve been holding broken iPad drives. It provides books to young girls in the local community as well as iPads, which has been especially crucial during the pandemic with so many schools having to convert to virtual classrooms.
  • When visiting India, Isha met a young girl who shared her dreams of becoming a doctor with Isha. The girl’s family was extremely poor, and Isha was moved by the girl’s lofty goals and determination. Her parents were not able to afford secondary education, and the realization that this young girl did not have the same opportunity to go to any college she chose, like Isha did, was both a jarring and life-altering moment.
  • Isha knew there were so many brilliant, passionate people in the world who just have doors shut in their faces because of money and lack of opportunity. That moment fueled Isha to do what she’s doing now: ensuring more young girls have equal opportunities to pursue their talents and gifts.

11:39 – A Book and Nonprofit Before the Age of 18

  • Isha also credits her strong support system with helping her start A Girl’s Frontier. She started researching how to start a 501c3 and started working on her business filing and making the nonprofit official.
  • In Honduras, A Girl’s Frontier works with a group of girls who’ve been rescued from human trafficking and other traumatic situations. Isha simply just started asking people for financial support and material donations, and both started flooding in.
  • So many women are enthusiastic to share with A Girl’s Frontier, understanding their own privileges and opportunities, and desiring to pull other young women up alongside them.
  • Isha has also learned a lot from these incredible women leaders while writing, researching, and interviewing for her book, Her Toolbox: Learning to Be A Female Leader with Advice from Women in Power. Every single women she met emphasized the importance of mentors. Isha knew they were important but really began to understand their impact while writing her book.
  • Mentors not only help you with your struggles, but share their own to help you learn from their failures. She also learned that it’s important to learn how to fail. It’s especially difficult for high schoolers like Isha, trying to pass tests and get good grades to get into college!

17:21 – Women in the Driver’s Seat

  • Isha wants young girls to know that they have the power to be in control of their dreams, lives, and futures. That can look like asking for help, advocating and/or standing up for yourself, and digging in and working hard and continuing to try even when things are difficult, instead of making excuses.
  • Sign up for online seminars, talk to college admissions counselors, ask people who’ve been to college for their advice. All it is is taking control of the situation you are in and making the best of it.
  • Isha is applying to college and may decide this Fall or Spring where she’ll go! She is even applying to international schools. She’s working hard to keep her options open.

22:27 – A Girl’s (Future) Frontier

  • Isha knows her generation if capable of just about anything they put their mind to. Her hope for her generation is that they follow their own dreams and what they want more than generations before them. They have so much access to the world and opportunity through connection and technology, and she wants them to make the most of it.
  • With more opportunity, there’s also more room for them to do more good in the world.
  • Isha is looking toward the future but also staying grounded and taking things one day at a time. She wants to continue with A Girl’s Frontier throughout college and settle in a new area to expand her outreach. She’s also debating another book!

25:12 – Supporting A Girl’s Frontier

  • Head to A Girl’s Frontier to learn more about supporting the organization and all of their programs. You can also find Her Toolbox on Amazon, which is linked at the top of this post in the intro!
  • You can find A Girl’s Frontier on Instagram (@agirlsfrontier) and Facebook to stay connected!

25:54 – Getting to Know Our Guest

  • Find out some fun facts about Isha like what song she has to sing along with the second she hears it, what person in her life has influenced her the most, her favorite TV show to watch growing up, what she would eat for dinner if she could only have the same thing every night, her most unusual talent, and of course stay tuned for her answer to what it means to her to run a business with purpose.

Memorable Quotes

7:13 – “They supported me so much through anything I wanted to do, and then I came to this realization that a lot of people don’t have this amazing support system that I have. This vast support system of people telling me I can be whatever I want to be, and showing me that I can and encouraging me that I can.”

15:15 – “You have to learn to fail. You will never do well on every single thing in your life. If you did, it just means that you’re not challenging yourself enough.”

Thank you to our partners of the show:

Ammas Umma 

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The Lemonade Boutique 

This episode is sponsored by The Lemonade Boutique, a women’s clothing with a cause store. Featuring ethically made and fair trade items from over 10 countries, every item is made by women facing extreme challenges such as trafficking, poverty, and more. Your purchase empowers women to take life's lemons and make lemonade.  Shop at Listeners of the Business with Purpose Podcast can save 15% by using code PURPOSE15 at checkout.