Today is International Women’s Day - a day to celebrate the achievements of women all of the world. As many of you know, our incredible founder and leader, Lesley Zipkin Brog, is a woman..and a badass one at that
Lesley founded Wags & Walks in 2011 after seeing how many healthy, family-friendly dogs were being euthanized due to overcrowding in LA shelters. She mustered up the courage to leave her comfortable job and start an organization dedicated to making a difference. Today, Wags & Walks operates a full-service Adoption Center in LA and has saved over 4,400 dogs...and counting!
This dog-loving, animal-rescuing, hardworking woman should be celebrated every day, but especially today. On International Women’s Day, we are excited to introduce Lesley and share some of her words of wisdom with the world.
What does International Women's Day represent to you?
It is a day that reminds us how fortunate we are to be in a time when there’s a bigger awareness that women are just as capable and strong as men. It’s hard to imagine a time where women weren’t valued or were expected to fill certain roles, like cooking in the kitchen. The women I surround myself are strong, independent and can accomplish anything they want. I have three daughters and there is nothing more important to me than helping them grow up loving themselves, knowing their value in society and having the confidence to know the sky is the limit for what they can become.
Who is your female role model or icon?
Oprah Winfrey is so inspiring to me. People say you are a product of your environment, yet this woman was born into poverty, passed around between family members and abused. Despite all of that and also being a minority, she believed in herself and overcame every obstacle that came at her. She’s all about self improvement and helping others, especially girls and women. Her strength, perseverance and philanthropy are all things I admire. Plus, she loves dogs :)
What obstacles have you faced and how did you overcome them?
I grew up in an environment where I had to be strong, independent and raise myself most of the time. I didn’t know it was an obstacle back then, but now reflecting back as a mother, I deserved more. That being said, it’s made me the woman I am today so perhaps that’s how it was supposed to be.
What do you feel has been your biggest accomplishment with Wags & Walks?
Oh wow, tough question. Every time I see an update of a dog that we saved from the sad situation they were in to a happy loving home, that’s the accomplishment that fills me up most. I also get a lot of joy watching my team at Wags & Walks grow as a family and support each other with a shared mission we all care about so deeply about.
What role do women play at Wags & Walks?
Every role! Aside from two animal care givers and some wonderful volunteers, Wags & Walks is a mainly women-run organization and I’m so proud of the way we support one another and empower each other.
What advice would you give to women hoping to start a nonprofit?
Don’t do it! No, I’m kidding. Really, it has to be something that you are willing to dedicate your heart and soul to. Everything else will come second for the foreseeable future. That being said, nothing can fill you up more than giving back to something you love so much.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing women today?
It’s shocking that there is still an issue with women fighting to be equal and have equal rights.
Why do you think women are so powerful in today's modern world?
I think they have always been powerful, but society is seeing by example that women are badass and can do anything anyone else can do.
How’s that for an inspiring start to your weekend? We are so lucky to have a woman like Lesley, and to be surrounded every day by all of the smart, loyal and dedicated women who run our team, from social media to adoptions.