Social Entrepreneurship as a Female
Alisha Gupta

Head of Marketing Communications and Outreach, Podcast Founder and Host

1.Can you tell me a bit about your background and your current role?

I am currently a student at UT Austin’s Business school, pursuing a degree in Marketing and
Entrepreneurship. I work as a Marketing Assistant with the International Business Department and a
Marketing Consultant and Professional Development Officer at American Marketing Association, and am
a part of the Kendra Scott WEL Institute Student Council as well as Undergraduate Business Council.

I initiated and launched podcast series, What Cause Inspires You, already interviewing 35 students
from 15 U.S. states and 3 international countries to build awareness for their causes, reaching more than
100,000 students, parents, and experts alike on Spotify, Youtube, and Apple Music. The podcast is
currently booked through Jan 2022, broadcasting the passionate voices of the next generation’s change-makers. I also started​ Professional Perspectives​, a sub-series that features interviews with CEO regarding
their insight on social entrepreneurship. In addition to raising awareness, our scholarship division hosts
a challenge to provide monetary awards to students who are making an impact.

My employment​ with Humanity Rising​ extends far past the “What Cause Inspires You” podcast I
initiated this May. I am also the marketing and social media head for the organization, combining my
expertise in business strategy and social justice. I recruited and currently lead a team of 20 college interns
in marketing, analytics, interview operations, and outreach on 5 platforms. In addition to hosting podcast
series, I am a keynote speaker for events such as Female Strong workshops for youth leaders to voice
their passion and have been featured on India Currents, The Femina, 92.3 FM, and more.

As a Youth Lead for Maitri, I had the privilege of speaking on Radio Zindagi. ​My goal as youth manager
is to reach youth audiences and inform them on topics that are often prevalent but ignored in a discussion
and to do so I organize and market community sponsorships such as a recent teen convention and a Maitri
Teen Mental Health panel.

Inspired by the selfless story of a foster parent, I founded a non-profit “Needed but Forgotten” (NBF) to
bring suitcases to foster children to improve their self-esteem and lives. I piloted by delivering thirty
Samsonite suitcases to three foster agencies, catalyzing a lasting agreement for annual donations.​ ​I am
currently scaling this effort to build a sustainable digital marketplace that connects surplus/outdated
inventories with needy charitable organizations worldwide.

2.Who were the mentors that encouraged you?

Here is a series of posts, recognized mentors that have encouraged me.

Have you ever gone into a meeting feeling uncertain about the awkwardness of Zoom but you were
pleasantly surprised at the natural conversation that followed?

Today on ​#FRIDAYFORTUNES​ I want to highlight mentors that have encouraged me off the bat to
explore a journey in social activism and given me tools to do so.

*​Khalilah Lyons, MHRIR, PHR, HCS, SWP​ , and I met this morning and her energy was radiating. She
was an instant inspiration to me and I look forward to collaborating on a vision to empower female

*​Monica Peraza O’Quigley​ was on my Professional Perspectives podcast series last week, and after an
amazing conversation, I am grateful for the opportunity to be mentored by her for my expanding

#FRIDAYFORTUNES​ seems fit with Thanksgiving around the corner.

Looking back to the start of ​#quarantine​, I never would have imagined starting a ​#podcast​ that is
now almost 40 episodes in, booked until May 2021, on 3 platforms, and reaching students globally.
Thank you to ​Humanity Rising​ for allowing me that voice in hopes to ​#inspire​ others and opening
the doors to opportunities I didn’t know existed.

A special thanks to Founder ​Debbie Ferruzzi​, ​Niko Soriano​, and ​Gena Dorris​ for being an amazing
team and guiding and supporting me through hosting keynote events, scholarship challenges, and

And more on #FridayFortunes on LinkedIn.

3.What are the challenges of becoming a female social entrepreneur?

As a Girl Scout, I’m taught that women have the ability to achieve anything a man can regardless of
society’s refusal to highlight female accomplishments. Steeped in service, I pursued my Silver Award
launching non-profit, “Needed but Forgotten,” that aims to donate suitcases to foster children. When I
pitched NBF at an internship, however, I was the only female in the group interview. The males in the
room felt threatened, not by my ability or skill, but my supposed “advantage” being a female that could
increase diversity in the company. I received the position, but every day it is a mental challenge to
convince myself and others of my worth. It is said that men apply for jobs if they are 60% qualified, but
females only if they are 100% qualified. So, I was on a mission from then on to elevate my confidence as
a founder, CEO, and social entrepreneur.

I was then recruited by Maitri to lead the “Engaging Men and Boys” to educate males on toxic
masculinity and partner violence, and have held conventions with student and expert panels to outline
concrete action actions to implement a more gender-equal workforce. Speaking at global conventions
with other CEOs, scientists, and teachers from around the world increased my proficiency as an advocate
and I was nominated Female Negotiator by Launch Negotiation later that month. Now as a part of the
Kendra Scott WEL Institute Student Council, I hope to accelerate my two-pronged mission of a more
female-empowered world: ridding society’s stigmas while paving opportunities for females.

As 1 of only 3 females in my Accelerator of 25 freshman founders, it took me almost 3 meetings to feel
fully appreciated, heard, and understood. I would worry about being stereotyped as “soft” for going into a
field committed to helping others rather than adopting a cut-throat profit-first approach. I want to use that
experience to ensure females have opportunities to perform without a doubt. After attending a Kendra Scott
WEL Institute Fundraising event, I was exposed to powerful influencers such as Tina Dai and Monica
Pereza, both of whom I have now interviewed and learned from in my podcast, Professional Perspectives
that broadcasts so that youth can get insight as to social entrepreneurship. Joining the student council
would mean being introduced to so many like-minded and inspirational women.

4.How to overcome these obstacles and challenges?

Getting cyberbullied throughout high school, my first instinct was to put up a strong front, forget my
negative experiences, and seamlessly move on with life. But, cyberbullying has increased 70 percent since
the pandemic started and I knew sharing my experiences could be beneficial both for myself and others.
So, with the help of a team at Humanity Rising, my current employers, I put together a 14-week
Anti-Cyberbullying curriculum, #BehindTheScreen, and partnered with Stand for the Silent for students
around the nation to start a chapter in their communities and educate themselves on the prevention of
bullying. I am inspired every day by the service stories I receive for my podcast and the
#BehindTheScreen chapter leads and it only furthers my drive to sustain a platform to help other activists
grow and explore their passions.

I notice everyday students who, after speaking or attending our webinars, can convert their own
hardships into positive change. For me, it’s a mindset that your struggles will never disappear, you will
only get stronger and learn how to overcome. And to take it one step further, using that built up courage
to ensure that no more youth or people in your community have to suffer the same experiences as you did.
It’s about using the hate, negativity, and downturns as motivation to rise above.

5.Which tools are necessary to transform a passion into entrepreneurial progress?

Flyover – With a goal to unify our communities, be sure to connect with like-minded individuals on an
empathic level to encourage them to be invested in change. As a flyover, use your resources to accelerate
impact and your passion.

Caterpillar – As a caterpillar, be ready to constantly evolve, experiment, and grow with every opportunity
presented to you and learning at every crossroad of our interconnected world.

Oven – What you put into an oven often looks nothing like the final product. The baking tray going in is
filled with unfinished products and raw materials in hopes of a delicious creation afterward. Thrive as an
oven by storming up creative solutions and seeing them to fruition.

6.What’s the one piece of advice you find yourself repeating over and over again to fellow
women entrepreneurs?

I plan on continuing to pave avenues of opportunity for youth activists as mentors did for me, whether
that be scholarships, podcasts, and panels, professional advice, volunteer opportunities, and more. I will
soon be hosting workshops with Female Strong to teach young girls how to voice their passion. Most say
“youth are our future.” Well, in one of my interviews with a student entrepreneur, she said “youth are the
now,” and I think it’s important to uplift those who are working towards change now.

One piece of advice for youth entrepreneurs and female entrepreneurs is to embrace yourself in the
“now.” Change doesn’t happen overnight but changing your mindset can. No longer view yourself as
someone who can potentially get to the place you want to be, instead envision yourself as that person
NOW, carry yourself as accomplished and deserving of respect, and don’t let others judgments and
doubt cloud your drive.


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