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Nadya  Okamoto

Nadya Okamoto

Gen Z Social Entrepreneur & Branding Expert, Founder & Executive Director of PERIOD

Biography

According to Nadya Okamoto, “My generation of change makers isn’t just looking for a seat at the table, but to flip the table and change the game.” A breakthrough social entrepreneur, Harvard student, Gen Z branding authority, author and member of InStyle Magazine’s “Badass 50 Women Who Are Changing the World” list, Nadya is the founder (at age 16) and executive director of PERIOD. She has built PERIOD into the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health, leading a “menstrual movement” that is determined to break down the taboos that hinder both global development and human dignity. Since 2014, PERIOD has served almost a half a million periods (and counting) by providing menstrual hygiene products to women and girls in need around the world. Nadya’s leadership has made PERIOD one of the fastest growing youth-run organizations of its kind in the U.S., with 270 campus chapters. When not leading PERIOD, Nadya is also the Chief Brand Officer for JUV Consulting, a marketing agency that employs and empowers hundreds of Gen Zers around the world. In this role, she works with influential brands to more authentically engage with a generation that now comprises 26% of the world’s population and 46% of the total media audience. Read More >

Nadya’s story began when her family experienced housing instability during her freshman year of high school. During that time, she talked to many homeless women, including those living on the street. Nadya was moved by their stories of using toilet paper, socks, brown paper bags, and even cardboard because they did not have menstrual hygiene products. She also learned that, in the developing world, menstruation is the No. 1 reason for girls leaving school. Outraged by “period poverty," including the fact that 40 states imposed a “luxury” tax on menstrual products, Nadya co-founded PERIOD (previously Camions of Care) with a fellow classmate. Now on leave from Harvard to pursue her advocacy and branding work, Nadya is the author of Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018. She also ran as a candidate for the Cambridge, Massachusetts City Council, making historic waves for youth and student turnout. Her honors include being named to Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21” and InStyle’s “Badass 50” list along with Michelle Obama, Ariana Grande and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Nadya has also been honored as a L’Oreal Woman of Worth.

So much more than “the period girl,” Nadya’s story, achievements, and success reflect her leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity, commitment to social justice and talent for engaging her generation. Whether speaking about activism and advocacy or sharing first-hand insights into her change-driven and often misunderstood Generation Z, Nadya reminds us that everyone has the tools to start a movement. We just have to make the choice to do it. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Period Power and Activism

Speech Topics

Social Entrepreneurship & Activism 101

At age 16, Nadya Okamoto didn’t know anything about starting a business or nonprofit, much less a social movement. Today, the organization she co-founded and leads, PERIOD, is the largest youth-run NGO in women’s health and one of the fastest growing ones in the U.S. with 270 campus chapters. Read More >

At 19, while studying at Harvard, Nadya ran for City Council in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on a platform that advanced housing affordability, education equity and sustainability. Although she didn’t win, she moved the needle on issues she cared about and made waves with historic youth and student turnout. Now she is Chief Branding Officer at JUV Consulting, a purpose-driven Gen Z marketing agency that is committed to fighting ageism and championing inclusivity. Nadya contends that today, anyone can make a difference with tools like social media and Google at our fingertips. In this inspiring presentation, she shares how anyone can start a movement or initiative. The most important step is taking the leap — and making the choice and commitment to just do it. Read Less ^

Generation Z: A Generation of Change Makers

Look out, millennials! Generation Z (born after 1996) is a generation of change makers. They don’t just want a seat at the table, they want to flip the table — and change how the world is run. NOW. In this insightful presentation, social entrepreneur and Gen Z branding authority Nadya Okamoto outlines what makes Gen Z different and why brands need to pay attention. Gen Z is 26% of the global population — the largest segment of a population in the history of the world. They control $143 billion. They’re digital natives, making up 46% of the total media audience. They’re using social media in powerful new ways and are key influencers of their parents. Oh, and they have an average attention span of eight seconds. Nadya draws upon her role as Chief Brand Officer at JUV Consulting, a marketing agency that works with influential brands and employs and empowers hundreds of Gen Zers around the world. You’ll learn how to stay ahead of the curve and authentically engage with a generation that is setting trends and defying old ways of doing business.

Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement

If you’re born female, you will get your period once a month for an average of 40 years. Nadya Okamoto believes that every woman deserves access to menstrual hygiene no matter what. Nadya founded PERIOD at the age of 16, when, experiencing housing instability herself, she learned that many homeless women had no access to menstrual hygiene products. Instead, they used toilet paper, socks, and even brown paper bags. Nadya also discovered that, in the developing world, periods are the No. 1 reason that girls miss school. A girl’s first period can also lead to dropping out of school, child marriage, social isolation and in some countries, genital mutilation. Around the world, women and girls are held back from achieving full potential in school, economic mobility, health care and representation in politics and decision-making. Beyond PERIOD’s practical mission to provide hygiene products to those in need lies a menstrual movement to ensure the fundamental human rights of women and girls to reach their full potential and drive economic development. In this game-changing talk, drawn from her critically acclaimed book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement, Nadya explores why addressing periods is key to global development and gender equality — and what women and men can do to tear down taboos and create meaningful change.

How My Experience With Health Disparities Inspired a Movement

Connect with Nadya Okamoto