For the first time in a long time (or maybe ever) women have the stage, the spotlight, and the microphone — and we think it's about damn time. All over the world women are not only speaking up about their experiences with injustice, but also banding together to empower one another through validation and support. One of these women is Sarah Rizkalla, the founder and editor-in-chief of New York Minute Magazine, an online publication that educates its readers on inequalities while also showcasing women who are taking a stand and reshaping the future. As Sarah told us, "Women being badasses is not a new thing. Women have been badasses from the day we existed." Clearly, we're on the same page.
We had a chance to speak to Sarah all about NYMM, from the leap-of-faith decision to leave her Wall Street job to start the magazine to how she hopes it'll change the world.
LIVINGLY: Tell us the story about how you came to start NYMM.
SARAH: I worked on Wall Street and had a really good career, but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I was in my early 30s and thought, 'I can’t do this my whole life.' When you have a Wall Street job you tend to do it until you retire. You build up as much money as you can and then you go enjoy it in your 60s, and I couldn’t imagine waiting that long. I knew wanted to create something.
In January 2012 I was sitting on my couch talking to a friend and I decided that I wanted to create a community for writers, and the name New York Minute popped into my head. [At first] we wrote about stuff like fashion, music, and living in New York City, and I found myself disenchanted with that after about three years. In October 2015 I was talking to another friend and he said, "entrepreneurs see a problem and have a solution for it. You should be doing something you're passionate about." I realized that NYMM needed to be about empowering women. It’s my heart, and I had been gearing towards that without even realizing it. I made a split second decision and came up with a game plan, and I've never looked back.
What is the goal of NYMM?
My goal for my readers, as well as for my team of students, is to empower young women and women of all generations. To empower them to carry equality forward and to not second guess themselves. To understand, "I am unique, I have a voice. My voice is valuable, and my life is valuable." That is my heart — for every woman to completely understand and acknowledge her badassery.
What is your favorite part of what you do?
On the day to day, working with my badass students to learn more about their world. I am also enjoying speaking [at college conferences], and going out and meeting the young women that are coming to these events. I like the questions they have and hearing about their experiences with adversity. We need to educate girls from a young age on how to deal with that kind of adversity, when it's so overt and so in- your-face that you're being treated differently because you're not a man. Speaking to people and hearing their stories, while also trying to light a fire under them and encourage them — that has become something that has really meant a lot to me.
What's next for NYMM?
In my speaking with students there is a lot that they need to be equipped with but are not being provided in their curriculum. So, we started doing these webinars to teach things like leadership skills, how to improve your resume, and how to interview like a badass. We're thinking of ways we can encourage and equip women.
Here at Livingly our motto is "life life beautifully." What does living life beautifully mean to you?
I like to ask myself, "who am I underestimating?" For me to live beautifully is to provide as much opportunity as I can to the people in my life, whether in my professional circle or with my friends and family. How can I empower, equip, and offer opportunities to the people I have the privilege of touching their lives.