Empowered Giving 2017

The holidays are here again so we asked some of our favorite empowered women what’s on their wish lists and what they are giving their fellow boss-babes. From Rosé to FaceTime, we were inspired by all of the great gift ideas and thoughtful responses we’ve received.

Maureen W.  Nicol, PhD Student, UT, Project & Operations Lead, #bossbabesATX, and Founder & Director, Camp Story Intl.

What gift do you want to give to the world?

Honestly, if I could give the world a gift it would be more reflection and understanding. There are so many injustices in the world that fuel violence and discrimination and that perpetuate hate and systems of oppression. There are many reasons why these things happen but I do believe that if everyone stopped and thought about others for a second, things would be calmer. We need more moments where people think about the stories, journeys, and histories of others in order to assuage a lot of the tensions I observe. More understanding and reflection means more people with softer hearts that are made of forgiveness and understanding.

What are you giving yourself?

I am giving myself a couple of gifts. One is a trip to France and Spain. I have been wanting to go to both of these places. I booked a trip and I am going for it! I LOVE traveling, but I recently realized that I have not been on many trips alone. This is more of a New Year’s gift because I will be traveling on the second day of January. This trip also aligns with my resolution and goals to travel more in a meaningful way while connecting with people and places in a deeper way. I am also giving myself the gift of more self-care. I am really looking forward to investing in some key body and care products once my semester is over and just sitting with myself, sleeping in, reading, and catching up with myself again. Basically, this holiday season I am going to indulge in myself and I do not feel bad about it.

Ultimate gift for your fellow bossbabes?

A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to have good friends in my life who support me. I realized in order for me to have good friends, I had to be a good friend. I take pride in my friendships. All my friends will get a reminder of how much I love them. This will most likely happen with a greeting card from me and my dog, Toulouse. As well as a lengthy FaceTime catch up call. My mom and sisters are going to get the gift of having me home for Christmas and I plan to hug them extremely hard and laugh with them even harder. I will also cook or bake something special for them. My mom, sisters and I are not doing anything this year. I think we just going to bask in being with each other until we get on each other’s nerves.

Charitable gift:

I am not sure if this counts and it might be quite selfish, but I plan to foster some puppies from the shelter during the month of December! I also will be donating majority of my clothes to teenage girls in need. As a student, I do not have much of a budget to donate money but I always try to donate my time, expertise, or things I have to worthy causes.

Instagram: @williethewayfarer and @campstoryintl

Cristina Tzintzún, Executive Director, Jolt

What gift do you want to give to the world?

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Austin Central Library with my family and it got me thinking, I want the world to have health care that is as accessible and welcoming as our library.

What are you giving yourself?

This holiday season I am gifting myself quality time with my son Santiago and my husband Manuel.

Charitable gift:

I am committed to empowering women of color, that’s why this year I gave to the Jolt Organizing Institute. The Jolt Organizing Institute brings leadership training to young people of color – 90% of the graduates in 2017 were women. To make your charitable gift visit jolttx.org/give-joi.

Instagram: @jolttexas

Twitter: @TzintzunCris and @jolt_texas

Katie Ford, Executive Director, Truth Be Told

What gift do you want to give to the world?

The gift of respectful listening. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in working with incarcerated women is that listening — without passing judgment or responding with well-intended, but unsolicited advice — is an invaluable gift to someone who is suffering and needs to express what’s in her heart.

What are you giving yourself?

I’m giving myself some time off in January. I haven’t decided where I’m going yet, but it will involve boarding a plane and leaving my laptop at home!

Ultimate gift for your fellow power-gals?

If I had magical powers, I’d give the gift of time. There never seems to be enough hours in a day to accomplish what we women aspire to do while here on this earth.

Charitable gift:

That’s easy. Truth Be Told is a 17-year-old Austin nonprofit that supports women during and after incarceration. I’ve been volunteering behind prison walls with Truth Be Told for eight years, so I know firsthand how transformative its programs can be for the women we serve. I’ve watched Truth Be Told — on a threadbare budget with 1.5 employees — beat the state’s recidivism rate for women. In August, I completely switched careers to become Truth Be Told’s part-time executive director. I intend to expand Truth Be Told’s reach by plugging us into the national conversation about reimagining justice in this country. The women we serve are not only in a physical prison; they are trapped in an imprisoning cycle of abuse, addiction and incarceration. I find it unacceptable, and I will not rest until there is significant change in our criminal justice system. Truth Be Told — a scrappy, little Austin nonprofit — has proven it can disrupt this imprisoning cycle that is unique to women, and I plan to manifest the financial and human capital it deserves to maximize its impact. I invite everyone to join us Wednesday, December 13, for “A Very Merry Mail Call.” We will be writing holiday cards to the incarcerated women we serve, and 10 program graduates who are now back in society will be joining us to share how Truth Be Told affected their lives. We ask that you RSVP here so that we have ample refreshments. Thank you!   

Twitter: @iamkatieford

Instagram: @imkatieford

Cara Caulkins, Founder & President, Cara Caulkins Communications

What gift do you want to give to the world?

I’m so inspired by the women I get to work with everyday and the accomplishments they’ve reached, I want to give the gift of young girls believing they can do anything, there are no limits and they should be fearless.

What are you giving yourself?

I am giving myself a week in the desert, including a stay at Miraval Spa with my mom!

Ultimate gift for your fellow power-gals?

Last year I gave my Girl Boss clients super cute coffee mugs that said “Good Things Come To Those Who Hustle.” I think a great gift this year for my fellow power-gals is possibly copies of this book. Or a bottle of the new Rosé wine, made by Austin’s own June Rodil.

Facebook: CaraCaulkinsComm

Instagram: @cara.caulkins.comm

Annie Campbell, Sr. Agent & Owner, Altered Agency

What gift do you want to give to the world?

Happiness. It doesn’t matter what your lot is in life- if you are happy, everyday will be a-okay.

What are you giving yourself?

A break from work to be with my baby and husband over the holidays. No emails, no phone, just my George and Morgan. My unit! And probably a couple of spa mani pedi’s ;)

Ultimate gift for your fellow lady-bosses?

My most favorite product- Kat Burki Vitamin C cream. If you don’t already know about this you need to go to the store right now and get it! It’s cold pressed and your skin will thank you. 

Instagram: @alteredagency

Brandy Joy Smith, Fashion Stylist.

What gift do you want to give to the world?

The gift I want to give to the world is exposure and compassion. I feel strongly that when we are exposed to others different than ourselves it allows us to be more compassionate towards one another.  Right now more than anything, the world needs compassion. Everyone feels so divided when in reality we have so much that could bring us together. Stepping outside of our comfort zones and experiencing life through someone else’s eyes is such an important and life-changing experience.

What are you giving yourself?

I’m giving myself the gift of Permission. Permission to change my mind, to start over to say no and to say yes.

Ultimate gift for your fellow power-gals?

A deep breath. Being a power woman can be exhausting to say the least. Sometimes the best gift we can give ourselves is a moment of peace and reflection, so we can recharge and continue kicking ass! I’d also give them an experience, let’s face it people are hard to shop for. I love giving the gift of taking a friend out for a nice glass of wine or treating someone to a class or spa service. Taking the time to experience life together and step out of routines is a special gift that builds memories that last a lifetime.

Airbnb and Gilt have some wonderful experience-based gifts you can give all year round.  

Gifts from loving, sustainable fashion brands: Breelayne, Edun, and Veja. These are splurges, but they are companies and products worth investing in. I’m in love with Breelayne’s & Edun’s Spring 2018 collections.

Charitable gift:

Right now so many organizations need our help. I find the ACLU to be aligned with many of the programs I hold near and dear to my heart.

Twitter: @brandyjoy 

Instagram: @brandyjoysmith

Magatte Wade, Founder, Skin is Skin

What gift do you want to give to the world?

The gift of “Meaning”

What are you giving yourself?

A life of meaning and the privilege to serve.

Ultimate gift for your fellow power-gals?


Charitable gift:

Any extra I have is devoted to ensuring the wellbeing of children I have taken under my care in Africa (from their medical needs to the creation of an after-school program, which will become a full blown school next fall, to give them the best chances at fulfilling their potential in the 21st Century).

Twitter: @skinisskinunite

Instagram: @skinisskinunite

Maureen W. Nicol (top) photographed by Tania Quintanilla. Makeup by Shannon Van Horn. Hair by Jeni Brady.

Read our past Empowered Giving blogs.

New Work: Chloé Jane // Mountain for Capital of Magic

Our watercolor illustrator, Chloé Jane, has finished another beautiful piece for the upcoming Capital of Magic game. Part 4 in a 5 piece series, Mountain, will be on the back of the deck of cards composed of creatures that exist in the mountains. ”The stoat and lizard represent the creatures that live in the snow and in the caves of mountains. They hibernate in a nest made of weathered branches, dwarf lupine, and bones.

You can read more about Chloé’s work for Capital of Magic and her painting process here.

Chloé has shared some of her work-in-progress images:

And the final watercolor:

Contact us to commission Chloé Jane for editorial or commercial projects.

Follow Chloé on Instagram.

Follow @TroveAgency on Instagram.

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