powerful ladies: a history
Powerful Ladies began a few years ago when I was missing my girlfriends who were spread out across the globe. I was having a moment of doubting myself, hungry for purpose and at a minimum in need of a quality night of laughing with my best friends. At the same time I was working on a project for our non-profit, Hello Possibility, in which I was immersed in the reality of how many women are in need and regularly think “I can’t” - the most heartbreaking words on the planet - as well as being present to how hard it can be to fundraise for a good cause.
I thought there must be a way in our busy global world to have fun, see your favorite humans, and make a difference in the world all at the same time. What if we made it easy? What if we incorporated it into what we do already - dinners, yoga, hiking, cooking? What if we all did it all at once?
I started calling all my favorite women, asked them to find time in their busy schedule to host an event, and they said YES! It went from a gasp, to a smile, to me doing the dance Laura Linney does in Love Actually when Rodrigo Santoro (hello, yes!) goes home with her.
And just like that our first Powerful Ladies One Day of Giving (#ODOG) happened.
We had events across the US, in Europe, and in Australia. The Powerful Ladies hosting had a great time. Our friends and family who attended had a great time. That first year we raised enough money to sponsor 9 women through Women for Women. Nine! Everyone was excited to have fun & make a difference and asked to do it again next year.
powerful ladies: a movement
Powerful Ladies could have remained an annual project into infinity and that would have been perfect. Except I’m not good at status quo and can’t stop asking what if? See from the first phone call in which I asked a woman to host to the latest, 80% of the calls were spent on why she didn’t think she was a Powerful Lady! It was humbling to see these women that I admire sharing what’s going on underneath all their boss-lady-ness. Being a Powerful Lady has nothing to do with having it all together or having all the answers. If together we could impact the lives of strangers, why not create something to help out each other? Why not create a whole community of Powerful Ladies sharing, building, learning, taking on what’s challenging in their life and STILL giving back?
From those questions Powerful Ladies has transformed into a MOVEMENT. Through the Powerful Ladies Podcast we’re telling stories of amazing people who are awesome and up-to-something because we believe every person has a story to tell and there’s someone out there waiting to hear it.
We’ve a curated Powerful Ladies Shop where you can find our favorite women’s brands, our own Powerful Ladies Products, functional be-in-action & inspiration products, as well as collaboration products that we create with our Podcast Guests.
Our EmPower Tools section is constantly being added to with webinars, books, videos, you-name-it recommendations that offer practical and transformative tools. Additionally we’re creating our own Powerful Ladies courses and start now checklists to enable all of us to discover our power and have power in all areas of our lives.
We know that being in a room together is so powerful and we’re crafting events that will allow us to share, learn, build community and give hugs all at the same time!
And of course, we continue to have our One Day of Giving, now with the ability to collect donations online year-round, and expand our events around the globe.
Meet our founder
Kara Duffy lives in Costa Mesa, California with her schnoodle, Bandit, and handsome boyfriend, Jesse, who ensures she’s laughing as much as possible. She loves to read, travel, learn, make and organize things - businesses, art projects, parties, books, products, adventures, you name it. She gives credit to the Baby Sitters Club, Jem & the Holograms, Nancy Drew, the Fancy Fraus, and her parents - all of whom told her that anything is possible if you’re determined, resourceful, and have friends to help you out.
In addition to running Powerful Ladies, she is a business consult & personal coach applying the same principles and techniques helping clients achieve their most successful lives, too.
She’s started many businesses and side hustles including her first, a babysitting business at age 9, as well as a t-shirt brand, an organizing business, and in 2014 she co-founded Hello Possibility Inc, a non-profit platform to coach charitable start-ups to success. Kara worked in the corporate world in apparel & footwear, working for brands such as Reebok, Puma, DC Shoes, Quiksilver Group, & Supra Footwear, where she happily created a career that gave her the opportunity to live in Europe, travel the globe and meet some of her favorite people.
Asking what if, being frustrated with the status quo, and being told no have definitely been motivators for me. We’re all equally ordinary and equally powerful, so why not me? Why not us? Why not play to win and be the hero of your own story? I’m not perfect. I’ve battled financial debt, self doubt, relationship nonsense, trying to be healthy, and worst of all, telling my purpose to wait. I know what it’s like to equally feel unstoppable and like nobody's listening. I know what it’s like to do it anyway.
Hearing the stories and lessons from who have taken risks and created their own path has always been my inspiration. I choose to live in a world that doesn’t settle for less than, is curious, is hungry to make a difference, and I want everyone to know that it’s possible to win in every area you dream about.
Together we rise. Let’s be awesome & up-to-something we love. xx K
These are the people and companies without whom Powerful Ladies LLC would not exist. They’re amazing and I’m so thankful they agreed to be part of my crazy idea. I cannot recommend them all enough. They’re each incredible.
Nick Arocho & Thomas Claesen - website design & development - Boldly Fine. Technical know-how, plus styling and they get how to translate your vision from paper to web. It’s never been so EASY to create a website.
Anna Olinova - graphic design - Anna Olinova Design. She GETS IT. From my wild list of needs to beautiful designs in no time.
Jordan Duffy - podcasting: audio engineering, production, editing, composing. She’s also a talented singer songwriter. Jordan Duffy Music. Podcasting QUEEN. One of the most Powerful Ladies I know. Plus she’s my sister.
Jessica Rose Garcia - Customer Experience & Operations. She was the second person to join the Powerful Ladies team and was there to help me organize my ideas and direction. She’s a BADASS and knows how to read my mind.
Ash Eliot - Marketing. Making sure we have a plan, that our communication makes sense, and growing the Powerful Ladies COMMUNITY.