There’s nothing like a new year to make a person obsess over all the changes they need to make (case in point: our editors’ resolutions), but rather than recycling last year’s promises to eat less carbs and do more burpies, why not make 2015 the year you think outside the gym?
Ann Taylor is celebrating true transformation with its new Changemakers initiative, which shines a light on fashionable people who are changing the world for the better, advocating for important causes and generally being passionate, determined, trail-blazing humans. The brand recently kicked off the Changemakers project in New York City with an intimate dinner of inspiring VIPs—each of whom dropped some seriously deep thoughts on some major subjects.
Lisa Axelson, Creative Director, Ann Taylor
Who is your “changemaker” muse? One is my mother. She always carved her own path and growing up she never made me doubt for a second that I could do amazing things in this world—especially as a female. Someone else I really admire is Phoebe Philo. Because, A) who doesn’t appreciate her aesthetic? And B) She has such tremendous courage. I can’t think of anything more courageous than stepping away from what everybody considers to be your A-game—head of Chloe, gang-buster business, people lining up to buy the Paddington bag—and she was like, “time out.” She stepped back to spend time with her family. That’s a really ballsy move. Even in this world of modern women, it’s really hard to take a time out and then get back into it. And she didn’t just get back into it, she got back into it better than ever.
What’s one change you wish you could make happen instantly? To give women across the globe the same kind of empowerment and voice that I have as an American. There are so many ways that women can make an impact—we have a nurturing intuitiveness and a global thinking—I think if you give women across the globe even just a small percentage of the power that we have here, amazing things will happen.
What are three traits a changemaker needs to have? Vision, courage and a willingness to always learn.
What’s one they definitely don’t need? Closed-mindedness. I don’t think you can be a changemaker in today’s world if you’re not willing to open up to other people and hear what’s going on.
Brad Goreski, Stylist
Who is your changemaker muse? My boyfriend Gary Janetti inspires me the most. He’s always championed me and made me believe I could do anything I wanted to in my life—and, so far so good!
What’s one change you wish you could make happen instantly? That we would become more loving and tolerant of each other. Everyone just needs to chill, relax, stop worrying about everybody else’s business and stop hating on each other so much.
What are three traits a changemaker needs to have? Vision, tolerance and openness.
What’s one they definitely don’t need? I was going to say, “being a Judge Judy” but Judge Judy is actually very good at her job, so let’s go with being judge-y.
Jamie Chung, Actress
Who is your changemaker muse? Dory Gannes. She’s my fiance’s cousin and she is the smartest most giving person I’ve ever met. She’s worked in non-profit her entire life, and now she runs The Olevolos Project, which is named after a little town in Tanzania. Every year she holds a big fundraiser in the spring to help send disadvantaged kids to school for an entire year. Last we raised $200,000. It’s pretty cool.
What’s one change you wish you could make happen instantly? Religious equality. I just came back from Israel and learning about all the conflicts in the Middle East that have continued for thousands and thousands of years—I know it’s wishful thinking but that would be huge.
What are three traits a changemaker needs to have? Charisma, selflessness and drive.
What’s one they definitely don’t need? A personal agenda.
Jennifer Morrison, Actress
Who is your changemaker muse? My sister. She’s a music therapist, which has taught her to be really open and available to connect with the people around her. I’ve seen how quickly she can make a really deep impact on her patients and it’s just amazing. I’m really moved by the idea of figuring out how to be as connected and as present as possible with the people in your life and she is the ultimate example of someone whose daily life represents that.
What’s one change you wish you could make happen instantly? That women could have a real solution for balancing work, children and personal life. I would LOVE to have a solution for that!
What are three traits a changemaker needs to have? A conscience, strong opinions and kindness.
What’s one they definitely don’t need? Ego.