Stephanie Woodward, Disability EmpowHer Network Executive Director, Named One of L'Oréal Paris 2023 Women of Worth Honorees
August 10, 2023 - On Monday August 7th, L'Oréal Paris USA, #1 global beauty brand, announced its 2023 L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth, celebrating the accomplishments of incredible non-profit leaders who work on resolving the biggest issues impacting our country. This year among the amazing class of women given this honor is Stephanie Woodward, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Disability EmpowHer Network.
Stephanie was nominated for this honor by Jill Moore, a mentor for the inaugural class of EmpowHer Camp and ongoing supporter of Disability EmpowHer Network. Jill said, “I’m proud to call Stephanie both my mentor, and my friend. She has taught me such strength and how to find pride in my identity as a disabled woman. Everyone in this organization who encounters her becomes a little bit fiercer, just by being around her. She continually teaches the women around her what they’re worth, and that becomes contagious - passed on from everyone who is a part of DEN to the next. She leads with so much passion and love for the organization and the people in it. We all become stronger, braver, prouder and most importantly empowered - just by being a part of this organization that she has created and so fiercely leads.”
An attorney, activist, and organizer, Stephanie is passionate about Disability Rights and empowering women and girls with disabilities. Growing up, Stephanie did not have any disabled women role models and often found herself as the only disabled woman in the room. In her early twenties, Stephanie met her first disabled woman role model, and will never forget the surge of confidence she felt finally being able to identify with a mentor who understood her as both a woman and a disabled person. In 2020, Stephanie felt compelled to use her time to help uplift other girls and women with disabilities just like her disabled women role models and mentors had, with the support of some incredible disabled women, Disability EmpowHer Network was born.
Stephanie and Disability EmpowHer Network work to empower disabled women and nonbinary people to build pride in who they are and speak out about what matters to them. They do this through their seven programs and a multitude of community building and volunteering opportunities. CC White, a volunteer and EmpowHer Camp Young Leader, shared, “I’ve been a part of Disability EmpowHer Network for a little over a year. During that time I’ve learned about patience, courage, and advocacy. I’ve learned about how to advocate for myself and my wants and standing by what I want and need.” This summer, CC attended EmpowHer Camp where she connected with other disabled women and people while camping in the Adirondacks. “Because I got to go to EmpowHer Camp this year, I learned how to initiate conversations about my disability. I’m finally feeling like I’m part of the Disability Community and understanding what that means. Most people around me in my normal life aren’t disabled, so sometimes I just see myself as someone in a chair. Now I’m more open and aware of my disability and how things are different, so if I don’t bring up a conversation how can I expect someone who doesn’t have a disability to bring it up for me. I learned that you can’t have conversations about us without us,” said CC.
One of Disability EmpowHer Networks mentors and active volunteers, Jenny Border has experience and seen similar success to CC's, saying “Stephanie has an absolutely amazing way of demonstrating through action the beauty and strength of women. Through Disability EmpowHer Network and especially in my experience as a mentor for EmpowHer Camp, I’ve seen how everyone involved is given the support and opportunity to be truly seen as strong confident and capable disabled women or people, who automatically deserves to have a voice and presence in society, no questions asked."
For the last 17 years, L'Oréal Paris has recognized leaders who are advocating for a better world across a multitude of causes as L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth. These honorees exemplify the L'Oréal Paris tagline: “Because You’re Worth It.” Each non-profit leader receives a grant of $25,000 through GlobalGiving, an intermediary grantmaking partner of L'Oréal Paris, as well as business mentorship and visibility on L'Oréal Paris’ national platforms. The brand is also partnering with GlobalGiving to create the L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth Fund, so that consumers can donate and support all ten of this year's honorees. Visit GlobalGiving.org to learn more.
Stephanie is part of a class of 10 honorees selected by L'Oréal Paris in partnership with Points of Light, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. The class includes: high school student and Founder of Rise N Shine Foundation, Shrusti Amula (Clarksburg, MD), Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Tools & Tiaras, Judaline Cassidy (New York, NY), Founder & Chairwoman of Twilight Wish Foundation, Cass Forkin (Jamison, PA), Activist, Founder and Executive Director of Climate Cardinals, Sophia Kianni (McLean, VA), Co-Founder and Executive Director of Yes We Can World Foundation, Estefanía Rebellón (Burbank, CA), Co-Founder and President of Possibilities of Free2Luv®, Tonya Sandis (Seattle, WA), Founder and Executive Director of Kits to Heart, Sonia Su (Columbia, MD), Founder and Director of Sahiyo U.S., Mariya Taher (Cambridge, MA) and Co-Founder and President of 16 Strong Project, Samantha Wettje (Bardonia, NY).
In addition to the financial support previously mentioned, L'Oréal Paris collaborated with Warner Bros. Discovery's Courageous brand studio to develop a storytelling campaign sharing the extraordinary journeys and achievements of each member of the L'Oréal Paris Women of Worth class of 2023 which will be shared over the coming months on Max and Warner Bros. Discovery’s apps and sites. The content will direct audiences to WomenofWorth.com to learn more.
To learn more about this program and the honorees, visit www.WomenofWorth.com, and L'Oréal Paris Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok and check out the hashtag #LOrealWomenofWorth.
Contact: Sophie Poost at Sophie@DisabilityEmpowHerNetwork.org