Colorado and Texas
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My family and friends
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Women that inspire me
The women I’m closest to—my mom, my sister, the women who work at FEED
As a sophomore at Princeton, Lauren Bush Lauren heard about a trip the UN World Food Programme was organizing to Guatemala as part of an effort to raise awareness for world hunger. An avid traveler with an insatiable curiosity for seeing different parts of the world, Lauren was intrigued and signed up to go. “It was so eye-opening,” she says. “We went to really rural, impoverished parts of the country and visited children who were very hungry and malnourished. That’s when I really got hooked. I knew this would become a part of my life in one way or another—trying to help.”
Lauren began spending vacations, long weekends, even a month between her junior and senior year, doing research and visiting countries where hunger was impacting entire communities. “It was such a gift to be able to go to these places and visit with these families and children firsthand.”
“I graduated without a job, but with the idea for a FEED bag and the initial development done.” When her plan of passing the idea to the World Food Programme fell through—after she’d made her first sale to Amazon.com—Lauren decided to start the company herself. “I had put in the work to make a product and a brand that I thought was quality, and we had an order to fill. That was the moment that I started FEED Projects.”
To date, FEED has provided more than 87 million meals to children around the world through the World Food Programme and Feeding America. FEED supports global nutrition programs and launched the non-profit FEED Foundation, which is working alongside other organizations to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition worldwide.
Lauren is quick to acknowledge that to feed a village—it takes a village. In addition to surrounding herself with an inspiring team, we asked Lauren to give us her top tips for a college graduate toying with the idea of taking an unconventional leap.
Go for it—don’t let inexperience hold you back
I feel blessed and lucky that I had an early start in creating FEED. You have that room for error. Not everything will go well, but you’ll learn from your mistakes. There’s a great power to not knowing all the rules when you’re young. It makes you more fearless.
Surround yourself with people who know more than you do
Although you should set the mission and overarching vision for what you are trying to manifest and bring into the world, it is so important to surround yourself with really smart, dedicated people who probably know a lot more than you do in certain realms. I have been fortunate to have met amazing people in starting and growing FEED over the last eight years—people who have been extremely gracious to make connections, help me work through problems and strategize the best way forward. To have that support system, whether it’s friends, mentors, or capable and dedicated teammates—and hopefully it’s all of the above—is valuable for any entrepreneur. Starting any venture takes a village, so make sure that your village is made up of people you respect and can learn from and grow with along the way.
You only have one life to live
Make the most of it. Wake up everyday excited to go to work. Find a job that doesn’t feel like work but a natural extension of your life and what your priorities are and what you care about. It is so important.
Photos courtesy of Lauren Bush Lauren