Buzzing around Washington, D.C. last week with Me & the Bees founder and Lemonade Day Austin alumna Mikaila Ulmer was an amazing experience. We were honored to be in great company with elected officials and their staff, leaders of businesses and youth organizations, and TV show hosts. Wow! How energizing and rewarding!
I enjoyed working alongside Mikaila and her mother, D’Andra Ulmer, to promote youth entrepreneurship education and financial literacy for kids and teens throughout the United States. Mikaila, who is now 15 and a full-time student in Austin, participated in Lemonade Day Austin when she was four after being stung by two bees in the same week. She turned a negative situation into a positive one, with the help of mom D’Andra and dad Theo, and made lemonade out of lemons (literally) based on a honey and flaxseed family recipe. Mikaila founded Me & the Bees Lemonade over 10 years ago. Today, Me & the Bees Lemonade is available in more than 1,800 stores such as Whole Foods, Fresh Market, and many others. And a portion of every bottle goes to The Healthy Hive Foundation, which Mikaila launched to save the endangered bee population.
During our stay in Washington, D.C. last week, we accomplished quite a lot. Here are some highlights from our brief, yet impactful trip:
Mikaila and I were guests on the WUSA Channel 9 morning TV show Great Day Washington with hosts Kristen Berset and Ellen Bryan on Feb. 26. (Click this link to see the show and view the photo below. Please share and credit #GreatDayWash when you do!)
We were panelists at a special briefing hosted by Congresswoman Grace Meng and organized by her staff member, Erika Ninoyu, that afternoon. The briefing was held in the Cannon House Office Building. The room was packed — standing room only, actually! Mikaila was the only youth representative to be invited to serve on the panel and, in Erika’s words, “Mikaila was the star of the show.” Mikaila and I, along with our fellow panelists, J.D. LaRock, PhD., Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE); Joseph Peri, CEO at Junior Achievement of New York; and Corinne Hodges, CEO of the Association of Women's Business Centers, provided insights and perspectives in support of the 21st Entrepreneurship Act that Congresswoman Meng introduced in November 2019 to encourage public schools to provide entrepreneurship education and financial literacy for students in grades K-12.
After the briefing, we stopped into a prestigious private club on Capitol Hill where we provided Me & the Bees Lemonade samples and Lemonade Day information to managers and staff. Everyone we met there was impressed with Mikaila, Me & the Bees Lemonade, and our Lemonade Day program. The location could not have been more perfect — only steps away from the Cannon House Office Building.
I also attended a Texas Thursday Coffee hosted by Texas Senator John Cornyn in the Capitol Visitor’s Center Senate Reception Area. There, I had the opportunity to speak to Senator Cornyn, his staff, and other guests about the power of Lemonade Day as well as Congresswoman Meng’s proposed bill. Senator Cornyn said that he personally supports youth entrepreneurship and would support the bill if it made it to the Senate for a vote.
Shortly thereafter, Julie Shannan of Austin-based VentureLab and I visited with Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett. We talked about Lemonade Day, the growth of our program, and Congresswoman Meng’s bill. He also offered to support the bill in the House of Representatives.
These are just a few highlights from an effective, albeit whirlwind, trip! Our time in D.C. last week was well spent for sure. Lemonade Day and Me & the Bees Lemonade have left a positive and long-lasting mark on hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of people in just a few days in our nation’s capital city. We expanded our respective hives of friends, fans, and followers exponentially in less than three days.
I truly BEE-lieve, as does Mikaila and all those who support youth entrepreneurship, that we are making a meaningful difference for millions of people and our entire planet.
I look forward to your comments and suggestions. Please email me anytime at Steven@LemonadeDay.org. Please share this blog with others via your social media platforms and direct friends and family members to LemonadeDay.org to learn more about our growing program.
Thank you for your support!