World Moms Blog recently took part in the Global Mom Relay, developed in partnership with United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Leading the effort were Co-chairs Arianna Huffington, Jennifer Lopez, Lynda Lopez, Elizabeth Gore, and Sharon D’Agostino. The relay supported the Every Woman Every Child Movement launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to improve the quality of life of women and children in line with The Millennium Development Goals to be reached by 2015.
Each time a Global Mom Relay piece was shared, a $5 donation was made by Johnson & Johnson and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to one of the four partners, the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Health(MAMA) ,Shot@Life, Girl Up , or the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
World Moms Blog Founder Jennifer Burden and Social Good Editor Elizabeth Atalay attended the culminating event in New York City last week, the MOM + SOCIAL Conference at the Tribeca campus of the 92Y.
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Elizabeth Gore, one of the co-chairs of the Global Mom Relay, host of the MOM + SOCIAL, resident entrepreneur at the United Nations Foundation, former championship equestrian turned inspirational advocate, and mom to Opal Mae.
Elizabeth Atalay: Can you tell me a little bit about how you transitioned from championship equestrian to champion for women and children?
Elizabeth Gore: I grew up on a cattle and horse ranch in Texas, and was the first female to graduate from college in my family. At Texas A & M University I showed horses, and I always thought that I would eventually go back to help manage the family ranch.
The tipping point came for me when a friend of mine had to drop out of school because she became pregnant. There were no family or child services available for students on campus at the time. We protested, and advocated, until the university finally created a children’s center.
This led me to pursue social services and to learn about non-profits, and fundraising, eventually I interned at the Bush School of Public Policy. After obtaining my Masters Degree I went on to work for Points of Life. I first travelled to Africa for work, and that is where I first witnessed the hunger issues there.
EA: I was excited to see that after college you spent a year in the Peace Corps in Bolivia. I had spent one summer there with my friend’s family, and Bolivia has a special place in my heart.
EG: After college I went to Bolivia with the Peace Corps and I met my husband there as a volunteer. In Bolivia, Elizabeth wrote, received and managed a USAID grant to better the food availability and economic situation for the Chaco.- UNFoundation.org
EA: I wanted to ask you about your work with the United Nations Foundation, how you come up with such creative programs as Nothing but Nets, Girl Up, and Shot@Life, and your role as Resident Entrepreneur.
EG: I started at the United Nations Foundation in the Marketing and Communications department. With that came the opportunity to travel to see the United Nations Foundation on the ground. This is when I really made the connection between seeing women marginalized in societies just on the basis of where they were born, and at the same time seeing so many people at home wanting to give back. As Resident Entrepreneur I love the powerful opportunity to connect the two.
The United Nations Foundation supports creative ideas, and campaigns are driven by creative ideas from our partners, and individuals. We created the Nothing But Nets campaign for example while sitting around the conference table with a sports writer and someone from Malaria No More.
EA: You climbed Kilimanjaro in 2010, (climbing Kilimanjaro is a personal goal of mine), can you tell me about that trip and ways in which it affected you?
EG: I climbed Kilimanjaro with a team to raise awareness for clean water. It really put conservation in place for me, and the team really had to work together to help each other to the top. Having grown up in such a flat landscape I felt really proud to make it to the top through the extreme climate, and mountainous terrain.
Elizabeth returned from that trip ready to start a family.
EA: How do you create a balance between Motherhood and work these days?
EG: My daughter Opal is the biggest adventure I’ve had yet. She is the most important thing in my life, so it is easy for me to make it a priority to leave work to get home early enough to be with her. My first trip after becoming a mom was to Sudan, although I have always had to witness tough things in my travels for work, this trip was different. I found I just could not get through as professionally as I could before.
It was not just the babies, but the grief of the mothers. Before becoming a mother myself I understood it, but I did not feel it like I did now. That really drove home the feeling that if you can save just one life by the work you are doing, it is worth it.
EA: What is your one wish for the world’s mothers?
EG: My wish is that every mother should have the tools to give their children a happy and healthy life.
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Elizabeth Atalay of U.S.A who can also be found at Documama.org.
What is your one wish for world moms?