As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about strong women leaders who attained success with their incredible ideas, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nadya Okamoto.
“I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.” – Princess Diana
Okamoto is the founder of PERIOD, a youth-fueled organization that endeavors to eradicate period poverty and stigma that she founded at 16. Under her supervision, PERIOD addressed over 1.5 million periods and registered over 800 campus chapters in all 50 states and 50 other countries; it aims to center those disproportionately affected by period poverty and support local efforts for menstrual equity through service, education, and advocacy.
She published her debut book in 2018, ‘Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement‘ with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. In the book, she tried to aim at what menstruation is, shed light on the stigmas and resulting biases, and create a strategy to end the silence and prompt conversation about periods.
In 2020, this Harvard Student co-founded ‘August,’ a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods, which helps fight against societal taboo on menstruation. She is an accurate role model who is making a greater change in society.
Many thanks for doing this for us; please let our users know about yourself and ItsAugust?
I’m Nadya Okamoto. I’m 23, finishing up my last semester at Harvard College; and am extremely passionate about democratizing access to period products, improving period care, and destigmatizing periods. August is a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods. Everything we do is with, by, and for our community called the Inner Cycle. Our products will launch in May 2021!
How is your journey as a successful entrepreneur, and what inspires you to start Period.org?
I’m Nadya Okamoto, and I’m 23, finishing up my last semester at Harvard College, and am extremely passionate about democratizing access to period products, improving period care, and destigmatizing periods. August is a lifestyle brand working to reimagine periods. Everything we do is with, by, and for our community called the Inner Cycle. Our products will launch in May 2021!
What are your future plans to grow your company- August?
I’m going to continue working on building August, supporting our community, and making an impact on the overall conversation about periods and what period care is from the social enterprise side. I knew that period care could be more sustainable, ethically made, and impactful — and that’s what August aims to address. Stay tuned for our launch soon!
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur, and why?
- Honesty will get you everywhere! Transparency and authenticity is vital.
- Build a team slowly, and one you can trust. This is vulnerable stuff; you’ll want the support!
- Be okay to make changes to the structure as you go; just don’t lose the initial goal.
What have been your biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?
I am really proud of my mental health journey. This summer, I learned that my complex PTSD is accompanied by dissociation and depersonalization. Before this more specific diagnosis, I had never heard these words in the context of mental health, but the added vocabulary brought me an unexpected sense of calm.
I don’t want to be defined by the conditions or disorders I have. I want to own and embrace them as emotional scars of what my trauma has left on me — scars that I am on a path to healing.