Strategies for Professional and Personal SuccessThe Same Sky founder, Francine LeFrak, led a delegation of 12 women leaders and entrepreneurs to visit Carnegie Mellon University in Rwanda (CMU-R) on Tuesday 21st January 2014. Same Sky is a socially-conscious jewelry line that empowers women through trade and entrepreneurship. Same Sky believes in giving a hand-up, not a handout, by providing opportunities for women artisans to become self-sufficient. 100% of Same Sky’s net proceeds are reinvested to train and employ more artisans in need. “The jewelry acts as a ribbon to these courageous women,” LeFrak said.
The visit began with a networking reception for the women of CMU-R with Josephine Mukesha, Vice President of CMU-R’s Student Body Committee, giving opening remarks and introducing LeFrak as the guest speaker. With a brief story of her journey into social entrepreneurship and the genesis of Same Sky, Francine LeFrak intimated her passions and how she came out of a failed movie project about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She also shared her lessons and how the opportunity presented by the Government of Rwanda, that is in leading the world in gender issues and women empowerment, sparked the creation of Same Sky.
The women’s networking event was followed by a panel discussion themed “Strategies for Professional and Personal Success,” which was attended by the entire CMU-R community. The discussion, moderated by CMU-R Professor Hedda Schmidtke, touched on personal journeys to success and how to maintain balance in your professional and personal life.
The panel comprised of Francine LeFrak, Carol Penn an International Art dealer, appraiser and consultant, Janet Walkow an Executive Director and Chief Technology Officer, Drug Dynamic Institute, University of Texas Austin and Ann Lovell the President and Chair of Valley Foundation and David and Lura Lovell Foundation.
CMU-R student, Lynn Kirabo, made the closing remarks said, “The visit, left me energized and open to opportunity. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Francine say, “It’s not that I have failed 10 times; it’s just that I have discovered 10 ways that will not solve this problem.”. view photographs