BY DEBBIE NAZARIAN, LEMONADE DAY NATIONAL DIRECTOR
I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend. In celebrating our country’s Independence Day, I was mindful of the wonderful privilege and opportunities we have living in this great country. We are the world’s most entrepreneurial country, with over 30 million small businesses representing 99% of total businesses and 44% of the GDP.
Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO of Gallup, recognizes the importance of teaching youth entrepreneurship education at an early age. It gives kids a head start on creating a future for themselves, for others, and ultimately for our country. Entrepreneurship education is a missing piece in many educational systems. This is why we continue to work hard to fill that gap – to provide our youth with the knowledge and experience of running a real-life business – a lemonade stand.
We are incredibly proud of our Lemonade Day kids and young adults. Several of our Lemonade Day alumni have applied their knowledge and experience to achieve their own national and worldwide business successes. In many cases, these bright stars are growing their businesses and supporting charitable causes well before they graduate from high school and typically while they are still in elementary and middle school! Some examples of successful Lemonade Day alumni, now teens, are Me & the Bees Lemonade founder Mikaila Ulmer; Trashbots founders Rohit and Sidharth Srinivasan; and Ooh La Lemon founders Hailey Hertzman and Katie Vonder Haar – to name a few! All four of them have been featured by national print, online and broadcast media outlets.
So, it is with great excitement and joy that I and the national team welcomes our new CEO, Nicole Cassier-Mason, to Lemonade Day. We have a smart, inspirational, experienced, and dedicated leader. She will help us provide more kids with tools and knowledge to start, own, and operate a business and experience financial independence. I would love to share her thoughts from a recent interview below. Please enjoy!
I am incredibly passionate about the mission of Lemonade Day, on a personal and professional level. Although I am new at Lemonade Day, I am not new to delivering effective programs to underserved communities. I spent the past 12 years as vice president of Fund Development & Communications at New Hope Housing. New Hope develops high-quality affordable housing with supportive services and educational/workforce programs for homeless and at-risk individuals and families. I also come from a family of entrepreneurs and am a first-generation college graduate. I believe I bring a unique perspective to Lemonade Day’s work and am excited to be a part of it. I want to play an instrumental role in continuing the growth of Lemonade Day in the United States and other countries.
My vision is for Lemonade Day to be the nationally and internationally recognized leader in preparing youth for life through a unique entrepreneurial and experiential program and to support as many youth as possible with a focus on reaching kids in underserved communities. To achieve our organizational vision, Lemonade Day must be prepared for responsible, strategic expansion. Lemonade Day’s trademark of quality and impact must be preserved while increasing program innovation. With community support, we can develop a comprehensive program – one that serves as a continuum of educational and entrepreneurial skills building. We are a critical part of the greater education and business ecosystem.
Since Lemonade Day was founded in 2007, the program has served 1 million children in 80+ U.S. cities and three countries. Together with the national board and staff, we aspire to serve 1 million kids annually in double the number of U.S. cities and countries.
We are going to plant seeds of growth everywhere – with everyone! Our national board and staff have created a solid foundation from which we are building for the future. Our license holders and community partners are essential to delivering the Lemonade Day program to kids via our new My Lemonade Day app and printed workbooks.
Our sponsors and funders share our interest in youth entrepreneurship education. They are helping to ensure we have the tools, technology, and human capital to expand geographically. Volunteers are worth their weight in gold, and we are actively recruiting more of them. It is critical that we reach millions of socio-economically challenged and at-risk youth, many of whom may not even know that owning a business is possible for them. We need to meet kids and their families where they are. We need to help them see how far they can go by learning business and character-building skills – the very tools that prepare them for life.
Stay tuned! Exciting times are ahead!
Thank you, Nicole. We are so happy to have you onboard and excited to see where your leadership takes us!
To our Lemonade Day family, check out our website here for impact stories and more information. Be sure to follow us on our social media channels! Thank YOU for helping us impact lives and change futures.