0
Kate Bryan Is Igniting A "1 Girl Revolution"
Business Non-Profits People Women SEEN

Kate Bryan Is Igniting A “1 Girl Revolution”

May 2, 2022

Detroiter Kate Bryan, founder of 1 Girl Revolution, uplifts women through podcasts, films, and more

BY PATRICK DUNN

Kate Bryan says she was a “spicy little kid” whose parents would joke that she was either going to be the dictator of a small nation or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Now 37, Bryan is not leading a country or a corporation, but a nonprofit in Detroit. As the CEO and founder of 1 Girl Revolution, a nonprofit multimedia platform designed to uplift women, she aims to inspire everyone to hold on to that “spicy little kid” inside of them. Since founding 1 Girl Revolution in 2019, Bryan has created a podcast, an Emmy-nominated short documentary film, and a robust social media presence, all sharing the stories of women across the country who are improving the lives of others.

“I believe that every woman has the power to change the world through her life,” Bryan says. “Every woman has a purpose and a value. Their stories deserve to be heard.”

Kate Bryan Is Igniting A "1 Girl Revolution"

1 Girl Revolution arose out of a moment of career frustration for Bryan. For six years after completing her master’s degree in public affairs and political communication, she worked in public relations in Washington, D.C. She says she became “burnt out” by how “human beings were getting lost in the shuffle” of her work.

“I didn’t see a space for authentic stories to be told, especially when it came to women,” she says. “Women were so often … treated as political pawns. People pandered to them for their votes, but they weren’t actually listening to the voices and stories of women and actually striving to make a difference for their needs.”

Bryan, a Brighton native, decided to return to Michigan in 2018 to be closer to her family. She settled in Corktown in 2020 and says she found great inspiration in the two Latin mottos on Detroit’s city flag, which translate to “We hope for better things” and “It will rise from the ashes.”

“The moment I read those two phrases I was like, ‘I know exactly what I need to do,’” she says.

Bryan’s first project through her new organization was the 1 Girl Revolution podcast, which she funded with income from freelance PR work. Her initial goal was to complete 10 episodes. However, she’s now released over 150 episodes featuring women from all over the country, ranging from up-and-coming activists to international names like former CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin, who interviewed and was interviewed by Bryan on two different episodes.

JacQuetta Brown, founder of the mentorship nonprofit Detroit Guardian Angels, is one of Bryan’s recent interviewees. Like many of the women featured on the podcast, Brown had never been interviewed before. But she says Bryan made her feel like she was “talking to a friend” as they discussed the mission of the organization as well as difficult topics including Brown’s childhood experience with sexual abuse.

“Women and girls definitely need to have their voices heard and feel comfortable doing so,” Brown says. “… It was so comfortable to talk and give her an idea of who I am, where I come from, my past, what makes up the me of today, why I do what I do, the traumas of my childhood, the pain of my life, and how I turned it around to make it somebody else’s victory.”

Bryan says the podcast has grown from a series of natural connections, as “every woman’s story leads to another one.” In one case, those connections led to the creation of 1 Girl Revolution’s first film project. Bryan’s interview with June Tanoue, who teaches mindfulness at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, led to a connection to Laura Biagi, who teaches a course on healing through storytelling for women in the jail. Bryan proposed making a film about Biagi’s class to her friend Rob Kaczmark, president of Chicago-based video production company Behold.

Kate Bryan Is Igniting A "1 Girl Revolution"

Laura Biagi, Kate Bryan, and the BEHOLD crew — Gianna Aquilina, Jason Knade, and Victoria Salazar — outside of the Cook County Jail after they filmed The Girl Inside. “We had gone into Cook County that day not knowing exactly how things were going to work out and were so excited when we came out and celebrated the life-changing day that we all experienced together,” says Bryan.

Bryan says Kaczmark initially laughed at the prospect of a jail allowing a film crew in to make a documentary, but she persevered and won permission from jail officials. The result is The Girl Inside, a 10-minute short depicting Biagi’s reunion with five of her former students. Bryan says it was important to her that all five women’s voices were heard in the film — not discussing why they were in jail but focusing on “who they are as individuals.”

ABOVE: The Emmy-nominated short documentary The Girl Inside is a poignant look at the stories of incarcerated women within Cook County Jail and a life-changing academic course on storytelling taught by Laura Biagi.

 

Bryan says the documentary also helped reinforce her own faith in the meaning behind 1 Girl Revolution. As she explained her work to the five women, they all shared stories of their childhood struggles — being neglected, abused, or bullied. Bryan, who was bullied as a child herself, says anyone can relate to that experience.

“If nothing else, I want this project to remind every single person … to remember that kid, when you had no fears in your life, you weren’t scared of anything, and you believed that you could do anything,” she says.

The Girl Inside received major recognition with a 2020-2021 Chicago/Midwest Emmy nomination for Human Interest — Long Form Content. Bryan says it was “mind-blowing” to be nominated, and she hopes the nomination will lend “a little more oomph” to 1 Girl Revolution’s next steps. Her newly released short documentary, In Tandem, features Caitlin Cullen’s efforts to feed the hungry during the pandemic through her Milwaukee restaurant, The Tandem. Bryan also aspires to create an ongoing video series spotlighting notable women.

Kate Bryan Is Igniting A "1 Girl Revolution"

A still from Bryan’s next documentary “In Tandem”, featuring Detroit native Caitlin Cullen’s efforts to feed the hungry during the pandemic. The film will debuts at the fifth annual Women SEEN conference on May 20. 

Kate Bryan Is Igniting A "1 Girl Revolution"

In March of 2020, Caitlin closed her restaurant, The Tandem, and started solely feeding people in need. “She employed tons of people who had lost work, hired restaurants that were struggling, and fed over 115,000 people during 2020 and 2021 — amazing!” Bryan says.

Beyond that, Bryan says she wants 1 Girl Revolution “not to just be a podcast, not to just be a multimedia platform, but a community.” She keeps in touch with most of the women she’s interviewed for the podcast and aims to continue promoting and supporting their work through her platform. She says people often discover the podcast through Baldwin’s two episodes, but she’s been excited to see that listeners then “backtrack” through other episodes and wind up hearing the stories of less prominent, but no less inspiring, women. She says 1 Girl Revolution is “creating this space that’s lifting all women up.”

“That’s really at the heart of my mission,” she says. “… I want to remind every single person that they matter and that they have value and that I see them and that the world is a better place with them in it.”

1 Girl Revolution
P.O. Box 32083, Detroit
(313) 338-9931
1girlrevolution.com

1 Girl Revolution is a 501c(3) and you can help fund their projects by donating here.

Follow 1 Girl Revolution on Instagram to stay up-to-date on new podcast episodes, films and more!

 

You Might Also Like...

No Comments

    Leave a Reply