Lauren Bush Lauren, founder and chief executive officer of FEED Projects, was the keynote speaker for Elon University’s “Women at Elon: Moving Philanthropy Forward” event Thursday, May 4 in Whitley Auditorium.
Lauren began by asking everyone in the audience to close their eyes and imagine the last time they were hungry. The audience opened their eyes when told and Lauren began to talk about her experiences in countries such as Guatemala and Sri Lanka and experiencing poverty firsthand.
She continued to speak about her journey that led to the foundation of her company, FEED Projects, which has now been in existence and running for 10 years.
Freshman Jacqueline Anderson attended the event and was inspired seeing how a woman had built a company from the ground up.
“I thought it was really nice hearing from a woman in philanthropy with so many companies that are traditionally built by men,” Anderson said. “The fact that she did it as a college student with lack of resources and lack of support is amazing.”
Lauren's work with FEED earned her a spot in Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2009. FEED has provided more than 95 million meals globally through the U.N. World Food Programme.
“Women gravitate toward this line of work,” Lauren said. “They just seem to be more attracted to it. You can’t do everything in the world, but the little you can do, you should do.”
The event also featured students and a donor panel comprised of women. Jean Rattigan-Rohr, executive director of community partnerships and director of the Center for Access and Success, was featured in the donor panel and believes that women like Lauren are setting the precedent for powerful women.
“I think it’s a good thing that we are beginning to think seriously, about what might this look like, women in power,” Rattigan-Rohr said. “There are so many women at Elon, so we can just think of all the possibilities of women going out and making their voices heard and make their time, talent and treasure count.”