Meet Dream Up! Sasha Bannister October 23, 2016 Lifestyle 455 Tweet Share2 Share Email WhatsAppShares 2Meet Brianna Clarke and Kianna Ackermen, better known as the CEOs of the organization: Dream Up. Dream up is an organziation created to help woman of all ages and backgrounds on their journey to success. I got the chance to speak with the both of them on the creation of Dream Up, their inspirations, future goals, and more! Read full interview below. Q: For those who may not be aware of your organization, would you like to explain what DreamUp is? B: Dream Up is an organization dedicated to encouraging, educating, and empowering women. We want our women to have the tools, the knowledge, and the support they need to follow their dreams because there aren’t many people out there- there aren’t teachers, politicians, etc. who are supporting women, telling them that they can be anything they want to be . . . Q: Who came up with the idea to make this organization? B: Ever since freshman year, Keonna and I have worked well together. We’ve always been I guess you could say- a dynamic duo (even though we didn’t win that in the yearbook, we totally deserve that but whatever lol) –we did an entrepreneurial project and we didn’t know exactly what we wanted to form it around . . . my teacher was like “why don’t you make it about women empowerment” – and all of a sudden a light bulb went off in Kiana and my head and it was like “this is what our organization needs to be about, this is why we’re here, this is what we’re put on this earth to do” – and I really thank her because without that Dream Up wouldn’t be what it is. K: . . . she wanted to help out female athletes and I wanted to help inner city kids and when we presented our idea to our teacher for a project she said make it about girls and the idea grew from there Q: One of your missions is to “inspire and empower” young women; do either of you have any female influences? If so, who & how have they inspired you? K: My biggest influences are my grandmother and aunty, my grandmother instilled so many values and principles in me when it came to treating people with respect and my aunt taught me to always be better than I was yesterday. A big influence that everyone probably knows is Lauryn Hill she’s always stayed true to her roots and people and I take that to heart, you know? It’s dope when you can be famous and still show a genuine love for people. B: . . . Wilma Rudolph. She, was just, amazing! Not only did she fight off polio, but with her doctors saying she’d never be able to walk again, she ran (track) and set records, she was truly amazing. Q: Do you feel that there is a necessity for organizations such as yourself today-in-age? B: Definitely. Honestly, I don’t know of any organizations like us (strictly for women) . . . Woman need a foundation, they need to have as much attention as possible on being able to pursue their dreams. I feel as though that’s not really important to today’s society. . . K: I feel like organizations like ours are VITAL because there are so many kids out there with huge dreams and nowhere to make them come true and the places that are out there don’t have a teenagers or young adult’s perspective of life. Q: What are some of the challenges you are looking to exploit? K: Definitely unequal pay for women it’s really detrimental and I want to exploit how being black, young, and women make it extremely hard for you to be taken serious in the business world. B: Besides equal pay, women are being sexually exploited. Basically, we are being turned into sexual objects, causing women to be raped (which is also causing them to be victim blamed) and I just feel like that’s an issue that isn’t talked about. There are so many cases where the criminal (in this case, rapist) gets a slap on the wrist, doesn’t get charged, or just says that the victim is lying. Yes, there are cases where women have lied (and that’s not okay) but there are cases where there’s evidence and still no justice. Q: Do either of you feel that you’ve been discriminated simply because you’re a woman? B: Yeah. I feel like every woman has been discriminated against. Some may not even know that they’ve been discriminated against. For example, I run track – at my track practice, my coach would never motivate the girls to do anything and he didn’t care for them. He would makes comments about the boys being “better”- even when we were trying our hardest; we’re just not getting the training we need, the support we need, etc. K: In social settings and professional settings I have been discriminated because I’m a woman. I remember one guy told me I’d never make it far with dream up unless I slept with someone with connections. I can’t tell you how heated and fed up I was. Q: Since the creation of DreamUp, there have been several programs given to your members such as tutoring, are there any other projects that you guys have been working on? B: We’ve been working on quite a few projects. We just want to do everything; we want to make our own app (we’re currently learning coding and graphic design); we are also looking for building to rent so we can have a recreation center. In the future along with tutoring, we want to help teens who may be expecting or have just had a child. We may provide daycares for their children so they can continue going to school . . . we want to be a support system for them. K: . . . I also plan to release a book called FEMALE FREEDOM giving positive messages for each day of the year and has connections to upcoming girls with ideas and businesses to contact. Q: For anyone looking to become a member, can you tell them how to do so? K: It’s super easy to become a member, just go to dreamupent.com and click on the link become a member and fill out the application. Q: A couple weeks ago you guys started the hashtag #youngblackgirlsgettingeducated – were you surprised at the amazing response you received? K: Our friend Lyric came to us with the hashtag and wanted it to get noticed through us so we decided to promote it and it was a success! We were super surprised and we realized that we are support system for girls everywhere. B: Yes. We wanted it to be a lot bigger but we’re both busy with college. We were amazed because neither of us realized how many people were watching us. We realized, but we didn’t realize ya know? Like the impact we have, even though we don’t have that many followers. Q: Accompanied with this amazing organization is a fashion line of the same name; what kind of advice would you give someone looking to start their own brand? B: I’m not a designer BUT, I could give some advice for someone interested in clothes. Keep it simple, something that gets the word across. Our hats, like if you put on a hat that says “female and educated “you will just feel so boss. Everyone who has purchased the hats have said that they feel so confident. K: NEVER GIVE UP. No matter how hard it gets; if you have a vision go after it and be confident. Q: When you decided to create this organization, did you have the support of your family, friends, etc.? B: I had support from our friends early on. Family kind of, but not really. K: My family and our friends were HUGE supporters and I honestly couldn’t have done it without them they gave me the confidence I needed. Q: What kind of advice would you give someone who may not have the support of their piers? B: Honestly, you just need a plan and one loyal friend who is down for the same things you are. If you don’t have that one friend who’s willing to work with you on something then . . . maybe you should just re-evaluate that. There should be AT LEAST one friend who’s supporting you, who’s there for you. But have a plan, have that one good friend, go to workshops (they’re good for connections) Like you need your family and friends but if you have good business connections you’ll be fine. In some cases, strangers support you better than family and friends. K: If you believe in yourself do it and be confident. Your peers may not be supportive but there is a world out there who may love your brand or product so don’t stop because of a minor setback. Q: Do you have any last words that you would like to leave your supporters? B: Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t follow your dreams because they are lying to you. Honestly, sometimes people don’t want you to succeed. Like, they want you to succeed but don’t want you to be more successful than them so . . . follow your dreams. You have all the ability to do what you want, when you want to do it. K: Thank you so much for following us every step of the way and being patient with us. We love you! To catch up with Dream Up follow them on Instagram and Twitter! To purchase apparel from Dream Up click here.