A Heart For Africa
It all started 4 years ago in Uganda. I had just embarked on my first sabbatical. I had quit my corporate job after being treated with complete disrespect by my boss. At the time I left working with Rascal Flatts. That in itself was a difficult decision but I went on to join a brand agency where I sold 4 million dollars in entertainment activations.
I still remember the moment where my boss was screaming at me, which he later apologized but I was sleep deprived and had put my entire heart into these activations. I sat there in complete disbelief. This had never happened to me while working with some of the biggest artists in the world. Everyone had always treated me with the utmost respect, even my friend and one of my favorite clients, Kanye West.
At that moment, I was activating 2 multi million dollar brand campaigns (I sold both through my creative ideas) and I realized that I was just selling cars. Point blank- black and white- I was selling cars.
Although, definitely a high-light of my career and trust me I learned so much, I knew that I had a greater purpose in life.
If I could sell millions of dollars in activations, sell millions of albums and sell millions of tickets to shows, could I save millions of lives.
These were the thoughts that were going through my head as I was getting screamed at. After I came back to earth from my out of body experience, I decided that I wanted to test my skillset in the biggest way, which was to help hundreds and even thousands of people and perhaps millions of people in need. So I reached out to this amazing organization called Blood: Water Mission who were founded by the incredible Jars of Clay. The first thing I was tasked to do was to help move the organization up to digital speed and then create a meaningful storyline to fundraise for a maternity ward. But this wasn’t just any maternity ward and this wasn’t just any fundraiser.
Throughout my entire career I have always put heart into everything that I do. So I felt like this was the most logical thing I have ever done- dive right into helping those with the greatest need. I didn’t realize how this one initiative would change my entire life.
The fundraiser itself was based around the idea that everyone was connected to a mother. And if we cared about mothers then we could find strength in mothers because they live for their kids. So I recruited 4 women to share their stories. Some were mothers going through hardship and some were friends of mothers and one was a soon to be mom (we didn’t know she was pregnant at the time).
These stories were heart-wrenching and beautiful. They helped people understand that all mothers are alike, they live for their kids. And mothers in sub-Saharan Africa have a tough battle to fight. You see- their children are born with HIV/AIDS. Children are born fighting the toughest disease out there.
Because of this fundraiser children are born free of HIV/AIDS. They are born free of the worst disease- meaning they are cured from the impossible. I can’t tell you how insane it is to be a part of this. When I left Kitgum, Uganda- Dr. Dennis told me that many babies would be born named Diana. This is something that I cannot get over and there is no greater honor.
This was the beginning of what I would call House of Darlings….