Miss A Columnist

Anne Blessing is a communications professional and recent NYC transplant. She previously served as Miss A City Editor in Nashville, where she lived for more than two years working full-time as a publicist. Anne hails from Virginia, and received a bachelor's degree in Media Arts and Design and Studio Art from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. In her spare time Anne enjoys working as a stylist at LOFT, traveling, exploring the Big Apple, and taking Pilates and Zumba fitness classes. She is passionate about giving back, fashion and the arts, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative Empowers The Next Generation Of Leaders

ANNpower Fellows and Kay Krill met with staff from the White House Council on Women and Girls during the 2012 ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum. (Photo Credit: ANN INC.)

ANNpower Fellows and Kay Krill met with staff from the White House Council on Women and Girls during the 2012 ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum. (Photo Credit: ANN INC.)

As a way to empower young women to invest in their communities, lead responsibly and affect global progress, ANN INC., the parent company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, teamed with Vital Voices Global Partnership, to launch the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative. The innovative leadership training program is made up of 50 rising high school juniors and seniors from across the country–known as ANNpower Fellows–who are dedicated to positively reshaping the world and instigating sustainable change in their communities. The young women selected will participate in a three-day ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. this April where they will learn leadership skills from some of the world’s most successful women leaders, including ANN INC. President and CEO Kay Krill. The weekend culminates with the 12th Vital Voices Annual Global Leadership Awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, April 2nd. It was at that very awards ceremony two years ago when ANN INC. first challenged 500 young women in the audience to take all of the inspiration and energy from the evening and pay it forward by finding ways to give back and make a difference in their own communities.

After completing the in-depth leadership training program, ANNpower Fellows return back to their hometowns to put everything they learned into action and create projects that affect change. Later in the year, the women will have the opportunity to win up to $2,500 in project grants to implement their ideas. Projects range from enabling youth activism through the arts, encouraging girls to enter the fields of science, technology and math, and creating more opportunities for women in the world of politics.

Highlights of the 2012 ANNpower Projects:

  • Cooking Up a Change: Teaches underprivileged families healthy eating habits through informative cooking classes.
  • Free2bFemale: Provides free feminine hygiene products to financially disadvantaged women and girls.
  • KidsMeetingPoint.com: An online magazine and discussion forum fosters cross cultural understanding among middle school children, educating youth about different cultures through educational games, recipes and music.
  • Proyecto Educación: Gives low-income youth in Guatemala opportunities to learn math and English, promoting the value of education.
  • S*H*O*W (Stage Housed On Wheels): Constructs mobile shows for at-risk youth participating in drama classes at the Neighborhood Resource Center in Richmond, Virginia to help develop their creativity.
  •  Teen Court Volunteer Leadership Development: Provides Teen Court youth volunteers with leadership training to strengthen the Teen Court System and ensure it is more successful in serving at-risk youth and lowering recidivism in Indianapolis, Indiana.


(Photo Credit: ANN INC.)

(Photo Credit: ANN INC.)


The 2013 ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative: Training and Empowering the Next Generation of Leaders

Know a bright young woman dedicated to giving back to her community? You can nominate her for consideration of the next class of ANNpower Fellows by filling out this online form here before the January 25, 2013- deadline 5 p.m. EST. Strong candidates must be creative problem solvers, leaders at school and in their extracurricular activities, and  hold a strong academic record. Applications require a school transcript, a letter of recommendation from a teacher, advisor, or family friend, and parental permission.

To learn more, please visit the ANNpower Vital Voices campaign website here. If you have any questions about the Fellowship or application process, please email ANNpower@vitalvoices.org or call Vital Voices at 202-861-2625.


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