Bow down to these women making waves and breaking records 🚀

🎉 Welcome to episode 15 of The Upgrading Women Newsletter 

I’m your editor, Rebecca Leppard, a feminist and communications nerd who just cracked her own life hack. I now take siestas and it gives me a whole chunk of productive hours in the evening 🎊

That’s my secret to serving both UK and US clients. I’m on London time and my Silicon Valley clients think I don’t sleep at all because I’m awake when they’re awake.

Who else is very protective of her sleep? Arianna Huffington, co-founder of Huffington Post who in 2016 founded Thrive Global, a platform to beat burnout. Arianna had a rude awakening, pun intended, when she collapsed due to exhaustion, hit her on a desk on her way down, broke her cheekbone and woke up in a pool of blood. Check out her talk as she launched her book The Sleep Revolution.

Speaking of health, I have been saddened by the horrible air quality in Jakarta and other cities around the world. Last week, I met up with a high-school friend who now lives in Chengdu, China, and she said it is now clear blue sky most days. Then I saw on CNN that Beijing is winning the war on pollution!

China’s pollution levels in 2021 had fallen 42% from 2013, according to a new report released Tuesday, making it a rare success story in the region, where pollution is getting worse in some parts, including South Asia.


😮‍💨 Enjoy this episode, ladies. ✌🏽

What happened recently:

Ava DuVernay first Black American woman to have film compete in the Venice Film Festival

Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

You might not even get into this festival, don’t apply. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, ‘Don’t apply to Venice, you won’t get in. It won’t happen.’ And this year, something happened that hadn’t happened in eight decades before: an African American woman in competition. So now that’s a door open that I trust and hope the festival will keep open.

Ava DuVernay

Emma Stone stars in Poor Things

More news from Venice: Poor Things, a film about Victorian-era female empowerment, won the Golden Lion. Check it out!

Photo from Time’s Instagram page

TIME has revealed its inaugural TIME100 AI List of the world's most influential people in artificial intelligence and 41 are women and non-binary individuals including CEO and co-founder of Humane Intelligence Rumman Chowdhury, cognitive scientist Abeba Birhane, COO of Google DeepMind Lila Ibrahim, general manager of the Data Center and AI Group at Intel Sandra Rivera, chief AI ethics scientist at Hugging Face Margaret Mitchell, Stanford professor Fei-Fei Li, artist Linda Dounia Rebeiz, artist Kelly McKernan and more.

The list also features 43 CEOs, founders and co-founders: Elon Musk of xAI, Sam Altman of OpenAI, Andrew Hopkins of Exscientia, Nancy Xu of Moonhub, Kate Kallot of Amini, Pelonomi Moiloa of Lelapa AI, Jack Clark of Anthropic, Raquel Urtasan of Waabi, Aidan Gomez of Cohere and more.

The youngest individual the list is 18-year-old Sneha Revanur, who was featured in this newsletter questioning President Biden’s administration’s sustainability policies. She is also a leader of ethical AI movement.

Source: Time and PRNewsWire

Coco Gauff, the youngest American woman to win US Open since Serena Williams

And the biggest story of it all, for me at least, is how she didn’t forget to thank Billie Jean King for equal pay after she collected the US$3 million prize.

Source: Insider

US Judge Rules AI-Generated Art Not Protected by Copyright Law

ARTNews reported that a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that artwork generated by AI is not eligible for copyright protection because it lacks “human involvement,” reaffirming a March decision of the United States copyright office.

Judge Beryl A. Howell of the US District Court for the District of Columbia agreed with the US Copyright Office’s decision to deny grant copyright protections to an artwork (pictured below) created by computer scientist Stephen Thaler using “Creativity Machine”, an AI system of his own design. Howell wrote in her motion that “courts have uniformly declined to recognize copyright in works created absent any human involvement”.

Update from around the world:
Vietnam’s first unicorn 🦄 is going public in the US market

Photo from VNG Corp

Vietnam internet company VNG Corp (VNZ.HNO) aims to raise $150 million in a U.S. stock market listing, two sources have said, becoming the latest Southeast Asian startup to tap Wall Street as interest in the offerings rise after VinFast's stunning debut.

The Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered company's businesses include online games, payments, cloud services and Vietnam's most popular messaging app, Zalo. Its shareholders include the likes of Chinese social media and gaming giant Tencent and Singapore state investor Temasek. Yay, Southeast Asia! 🌾

Conservationist group African Parks to free 2,000 rhinos from South Africa farm

Photo from African Parks

There are thought to be 18,000 southern white rhino left. They are classified as a near-threatened subspecies. African Parks hopes to "rewild" the animals over the next 10 years.

The group secured emergency funding to buy the financially struggling 7,800-hectare rhino farm, known as Platinum Rhino, in South Africa's North West province, after owner John Hume put it up for sale in April.

This project marks one of the largest continent-wide rewilding programmes undertaken for any species. 👏

A message from a communications nerd:
Learn how NOT to green-wash!

I grew up with “go green” as the slogan of every Tom, Dick and Harry brand out there alongside the tacky little earth cartoon 🌏 as if it made a difference. This was two decades ago and I still see brands communicate their sustainability or ESG messages like they are just ticking “agree” on a terms and conditions box.

Look at how Apple communicates it. Ignore the painfully bad acting job by Tim Cook. Focus on literally everything else and take notes.

🌏 Cut to the chase
🌍 Data is boring until it becomes a story of impact
🌎 Set a hard and brave deadline. Don’t give rosy promises.

Here’s a few good examples by Google.

BTW: if you want a group of kind, empathetic marketers who genuinely want to help you communicate your message better, you’re welcome to get in touch with us.

💰 A woman AND a small-business owner?

Win a £25,000 Business Boost. All you need to do is impress the judging panel a la Shark Tank and Dragons’ Den. The runner-up will get a mentoring session from Baroness Karren Brady CBE.

Another opportunity for us female founders is to win £15,000 credit to spend on Fiverr, sponsored by Fiverr and Virgin StartUp.

For those outside the United Kingdom and who do not have a business, worry not: I have one scoop for you, too: Giving Joy Grant! You can use the grant to start a new business or expand your existing business. You can also use the grant to start or expand a nonprofit, non-governmental organization (NGO), charity, or propose a specific activity or project you would like to implement.

All three opportunities have a short deadline so get on it, ladies!

Old dogs new tricks?

If I had a nickel for every millennial moaning to me about their social media presence, or lack thereof, I’d be invited to the Venice Film Festival.

I mean, we do not have the authority to sound like a boomer.
“Oh it’s too much for me!” or “Oh it’s not my world anymore"!”

Seriously though, no shade, I think what we need is a little bit of hand-holding, having a fellow millennial at the ready every day to answer your questions on topics like these

  • Personal brand building

  • Marketing your business

  • Social media management

  • Online business practices

  • Sales funnels & tech integrations

  • SEO best practices
    ....and more

Wouldn’t you want me to be that person for you?
Great news: I’m opening a club!

It’s called Girl Brand and the application for Founding Membership, which means you pay £47 once for a lifetime membership, is CLOSED!

Well, I’ve been telling you for weeks now. If you don’t want to miss the boat on promos, sign up now to only pay £47 per quarter as an Early Adopter Member instead of £47 per month for the regular members.

💜 Girl Brand is where you get
🙋‍♀️ Daily post inspiration and engagement
🙋‍♀️ Best-practice insights from our chief strategist
🙋‍♀️ Regular live, global co-working sessions (remote working can be lonely!)

How she’s done it 💅🏿

She is 25 years old.
She was born and raised in Roxboro, a town of 8,000.
She was often being told that she needed to move out to get opportunities.
She is a Democrat from North Carolina, a swing state.
She thinks Democrats have neglected rural communities like hers, and taken voters her age for granted
She now sits as chair of North Carolina Democratic Party.
Her name is Anderson Clayton.

Photo from Anderson Clayton’s Instagram page

💼 That is why you can and should change the system from within.
📍 You can succeed no matter which postcode you’re born in.
🐣 That is proof that we need more GenZ in politics.

Love = charity

Join the movement, support to abolish period poverty with Days for Girls.

Inspect her 📲 gadget

Something to add to your tech stack: LoopGenius.

If you have a programme, a mission, or a spark of idea you got off the shower this morning, don’t overthink it.

Test it. See if there is enough appetite in your captive audience.

Again don’t overthink it.
Build your landing page in five minutes using LoopGenius.
I tried it for Girl Brand and it gets the job done!

What to enjoy next week

📕Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes) by Mindy Kaling
If you find yourself lonely and in need to just listed to a chatty girlfriend without responding, this is a book for you. For me personally, there’s no such thing as TMI, and therefore her frank, self-deprecating storytelling style is entertaining!

🎙 Call Her Daddy with Alex Cooper
She is the biggest female podcaster in the world. She started the podcast with her friend as a sex and comedy podcast. And because it was so refreshingly funny to hear about blowjob failures, the show thrived and big names like Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow and Christina Aguilera came to the show!

🍿 Bombshell by Charles Randolph
The film is beautifully done to paint the true story behind a toxic environment of the show business inside Fox News. Watch this with your male pal who’s still in denial that women are constantly harassed in the workplace.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

Know a girl who will absolutely love this newsletter?
Forward it to her to subscribe and the universe will reward you with good Karma abundantly? 🤍

See you next Thursday. LOL!