Girls are still bombarded with messages that they aren't quite as good as boys, that it's not "feminine" to be ambitious. We must replace the overwhelmingly negative media images of females with that of powerful, competent and successful women.
Girls are still bombarded with messages that they aren't quite as good as boys, that it's not "feminine" to be ambitious. Women often are made to feel they don't measure up, or that the way they want to do it “isn’t the way it’s done.” That is why this compelling story of heart and grit and innovation needs to be told for every little girl and every woman who's told she can't do something because she's a female. Many of us have daughters and granddaughters, and we need to give them as many strong role models as possible to counteract negative media images.
Women have a different way of managing then men. I firmly maintain that if our project had been done the way men are taught to manage, it would have never gotten done in such a short time period. We nurtured and we praised, and everyone on the project responded to that. There was no "boss" but it was a team effort. There was no pecking order. I was the president, but if someone told me to take out the garbage, I took out the garbage! Examples such as ours need to be highlighted and be included in the traditional teaching of management.
We were teachers, nurses, homemakers, community volunteers. None of us had any experience in building or marketing a project of this size. I also, in my workshops, teach WHY these women were able to do what they did: highlighting unusual leadership qualities of women, knowing how to forge strong teams, and cultivating the most important character traits of all--persistence and resilience.
Called “crazy” by the locals, I and the other 11 “Founding Mothers” did it in just FIVE WEEKS AND FIVE DAYS from the day we broke ground. The Village of the Smoky Hills won all the top tourism awards in Minnesota that year. We told our bank we would have 20,000 visitors, and almost a 100,000 showed up. The Village eventually employed 100 people, and sold the handwork of 400 artisans. The economic impact on the local area was astounding--all from an idea that gained traction at a baby shower! When I speak around the country, I see the strong response of girls especially to this story with an “I can do it too!” attitude.
Corporate Report Minnesota said, “What the women did would knock the hardhat off of every general contractor!”
A. DOCUMENTARY. I’ve already done some of the “heavy lifting” in that I’ve produced the high-quality documentary “Five Weeks and Five Days,” which has been shown on public television and at film festivals.
B. COMPANION BOOK. I’ve also written and paid for the initial printing of the companion book “Anything Is Possible: What You Can Learn From a Little Girl Who Went to a Two-Room School to Building an Award-Winning ‘Village’ From Scratch in Just Five Weeks and Five Days." (#84 on Amazon in Business Leadership). The book goes into more detail about what was inside these 12 women that made them achieve that "impossible" feat, and how they stepped out of the box and away from traditional thinking.
This book has been lauded by Brian Tracy, the well-known guru of small business, who wrote the testimonial for the front cover: “This is an extraordinary book, full of ideas and insight that inspire you to set bigger goals and motivate you to persist until you succeed.” (Brian Tracy, Brian Tracy International.)
1. To spread the empowering story to girls all over the country, and to women’s support groups, foundations that teach leadership, libraries, etc., by sending out copies of the book and documentary.
2. To continue to speak to girls, to women's groups, women studies classes at colleges and universities as well to bring this story to coed entrepreneurship classes, I also want to fund the travel to speak in both rural areas and inner-city schools, which have trouble getting quality speakers because speaking fees are beyond their reach. For 27 years I’ve worked with girls and women just like you to see how strong your wings are and how far you can fly, and I want to be able economically to continue to do this.
For years I have been speaking to groups of young women such as the Girl Scouts.
I've also been giving workshops for women ("Seven Keys to Kicking Butt Leadership for Women"). However, as word of my speaking is spreading, I’ve been getting requests to speak in places that are distant (For example, I live in NC and spoke in San Francisco.) I have requests to speak in other states as well. I have been funding the travel expenses on my own. To continue my work, I need help with travel costs and also the following:
Initial funding of $35,000 will be used for:
- Hiring a part-time assistant
- Producing more DVDs of the acclaimed documentary "Five Weeks and Five Days"
- Reprint of the book "Anything is Possible! What You Can Learn from a Little Country Girl Who Went From a Two-Room School to Building an Award-Winning ‘Village’ From Scratch in Just Five Weeks and FIve Days"
- Paying costs of distribution to schools and libraries: mailings, etc.
- Travel costs when speaking.
What makes my story really appealing to all audiences is my background story. I grew up in a very poor rural tiny town. went to a two room grade school for eight years (four kids in my class!), then graduated from a tiny high school in a class of 15. Yet I went from that to the cover of national business magazInes and into the Minnesota Women Business Owners Hall of Fame. I tell my audiences that not to brag but to say to women, you put your own limitations on yourself!
* MN Women Business Owners Hall of Fame
* MN Woman Business Owner of the Year
* Governor’s “Entrepreneurship Award”
* National Assoc. of Women Business Owners “Vision Award”
* Powerful Women International Connections “Courage Award”
I have arranged for approximately 180 speakers, so when I tell you that Lorelei Kraft is one of our most popular presenters, solid experience supports this claim. Each time she spoke here her presentations were lively, informative, well researched, and entertaining. I highly recommend her.
Chair, Heartland Centre of Lifelong Learning
“We can find any number of people to give technical assistance. You, however, give people hope.” —Blandin Foundation
“Successful women like Lorelei Kraft don’t play it safe. They ask for what they want, they think positively, they’re perceptive and persuasive…So here’s another quote from Lorelei’s speech: ‘I’ve never let reality stand in my way! —Judy Goenner, Escape Magazine
“I know you speak a lot and probably don’t remember a women’s business group in Eagan, MN on a very snowy February over three years ago. But your presentation was inspiring and I have remembered you long after other speakers have disappeared into the fogs of my memory.”
—Pat Schuler, President Gemini Resources Group
“Lorelei has the ability to make people see their dreams. She is not only extremely talented in many areas (a true Renaissance woman) but she has one of the most generous spirits I have ever encountered. She is always reaching back with a helping hand to lift others.”
—Ilse Armstrong, CEO
“Witty, bright and full of faith–a mixture that has her audiences spellbound–and leaves them with their batteries charged.”
—NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners
For those who donate to this critical campaign for countering media stereotypes, I am offering gift rewards of either coaching with me, or books that I have written or co-authored (which would also make great presents!)
Many of us have daughters and granddaughters, and we need to give them as many strong role models as possible to counteract negative media images. Let’s not let another generation still be living in the world of what Marie Wilson of The White House Project said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Help me spread this powerful and empowering story across the nation, to let everyone see that women are not brainless Barbie dolls but are powerful, intelligent beings who need to be acknowledged. Thank you for your support!