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I’m a 14 year old philanthropist, environmental activist, entrepreneur, eco-designer, inspirational speaker, artist, animator, coder, (I make animated short films), illustrator, and writer. I am the CEO of Maya's Ideas, a company I started in 2008 when I was just 8 years old. I create eco-friendly clothing and accessories. My designs are sold all over the world and I have customers in Denmark, Italy, Australia and more. I have been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, The NRDC, NPR,CNN/HLN, TIME, ESSENCE, The Steve Harvey Show, Young Entrepreneur, The TOMS Shoes Blog, Redbook, FOX 5 Atlanta, Wired, Black Enterprise, Cosmopolitan Magazine, CBS Better Mornings Atlanta, Ebony, TechRepublic (CBS Interactive), Atlanta Tech Edge, TakePart (Pivot Media), Gabrielle Bernstein's Her Future Blog, actress Alicia Silverstone's blog The Kind Life, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Kiwi Magazine, and many other publications. I've done three TEDTalks. TEDxYouth@TheBeltline in 2012, and TEDYouth and TEDWomen in 2013. My TEDWomen Talk has gone viral worldwide and it has a million views and growing. I am the youngest female to do two back-to-back official TEDTalks.

I'm also really into technology! When I was about four years old my dad showed me how to take apart a computer and put it back together again, and that really started my love for technology. I've built my first website myself, and I'm learning JavaScript and HTML 5 so I'm really hands on in all aspects of my business.
I love to use my creativity to give back to the community, and the environment and it's creatures. 10-20% of my profits go to causes that I am passionate about like: The Atlanta Community Food Bank, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation ( I’m a member of their kids division and I write articles and add content/videos to their website.). I also write a column called Ask The Expert as a contributing writer for Livethrive.org. I'm a member of the iMatter Youth Council. I'm the winner of the Black Enterprise Teenpreneur of The Year Award 2013. I am a proud member of The Pollination Project's Youth Grantmaking Advisory Board. I was honored as an entrepreneur at the 2012 SCLC Women's 33rd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards in the Youth Category. I was honored along with actor and Humanitarian Sean Penn, Actor Samuel L. Jackson, CNN News Anchor Don Lemon, and Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson. I was panelist/speaker at the economic empowerment summit at Agnes Scott College that was being presented by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights for teen age girls. I also have a non-profit organization called Maya's Ideas 4 The Planet. Little Pink Book Spring into Ownership 2013 Panel. I've been a speaker for Girls Inc.
Item reviews! Thank you!!! I love the dress!!! It's so beautiful, and it arrived like a present—so beautifully wrapped, too! Thank you for your special note as well.------- Just got my top in the mail today - not only is it gorgeous, but it arrived beautifully wrapped with a sweet personalized note. I'd recommend this shop to anyone - Maya, you rock!------- WOW! LOVELY packaging, fast shipping and this is a BEAUTIFUL shirt! THANK YOU! xo------- Bought as gift for my daughter, she LOVED it! and it fit her! she's so small it's hard to find clothes small enough to fit her but this was great, and she LOVED the artwork! Thanks again for the beautiful top and how lovely they were packaged, I was able to just hand her the package as it came, it already was wrapped and ready to go as as a gift! Thank you again.------- Just arrived! is much more beautiful than in pictures! i love maya's ideas! These tops are true treasures. Each piece feels so special to wear, very comfortable and just all around amazing (ESPECIALLY the black halter… the fit is perfection and so well crafted!!!). I'm a lucky gal to have found your shop. Thank you Maya!-------RECEIVED THIS TOP SOOOOOO QUICKLY!!! i mean, sooo quickly! abso-frickin-lutely GORGEOUS! looks even more beautiful in person (didn't even know that was possible). I have it on now and can't stop looking in the mirror! oooooooohhh LOVE!! To contact me: ddpenn@comcast.net
To purchase items click on pictures!

mayasideas.com

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My article in ESSENCE Magazine!

I'm honored and excited to be featured in the July issue of ESSENCE Magazine that's out now! :)

Here's a sneak peek!



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Get the July issue today! -Maya

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Salute to Greatness Dinner 2014

I attended the King Center's Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner for my second year! :)

This annual event honors the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his family. This year, in addition to the Observance of the 85th birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and the 28th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Holiday, it was the 51st  anniversary of Dr. King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech. The 2014 Salute to Greatness Awards Dinner honored Muhammad Ali, Xerox Inc., Pakistani anti-violence advocate Khalida Brohi and One Billion Rising and award-winning playwright Eve Ensler.


Me and my beautiful friend and she-ro Eve Ensler, award-winning playwright and founder of One Billion Rising.
My new friend and Pakistani anti-violence advocate Khalida Brohi, Me, and my mom. :)
Me and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. It was great to see him again!

It was great seeing my friend Megan Smith again! We both spoke at TEDWomen 2013. I also got to meet Father Frank, and Megan's two sons. :)

The amazing night was ended with me and many other amazing honorees and activists on stage singing "We shall overcome"



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Speaking at TEDWomen!



Me speaking on the TED stage!
On December 5th I spoke at TEDWomen in San Francisco among many other musicians, leaders, artists, activist, scientists, entrepreneurs, and women who are doing amazing things in the world. The theme for this year was "Invented Here"


"TEDWomen 2013 will celebrate invention in all its forms. Not just technology inventions, but also new solutions to poverty; new approaches to leadership; new expressions of art and music; and, at times, the invention of our own lives. "



Rehearsal group shot!


Me and the amazing and inspirational Diana Nyad. Diana Nyad is an author, journalist, motivational speaker, and world record long-distance swimmer.
"Some of the questions we're asking:  How does geography impact innovation? How would new technologies shape our lives? Can inventions help us lead longer, better lives? How can meaningful change be imagined, fostered, and scaled?"


Me and the wonderful Pat Mitchell




Dava Newman, Aeronautical/astronautical engineer and space-wear designer speaking about her innovative space suit designs as shown on the model (left).
  
Dava, Me and Megan Smith VP of Google





  "More than 150 TEDx events around the world took part, sharing the livestream on Thursday and presenting local speakers around the theme "Invented Here." The result: A truly global conversation -- from San Francisco to São Paulo to Seoul -- celebrating inventors and designers; thinkers and makers; local problem-solvers and global leaders."

This was a truly amazing event and I couldn't have been more honored to be a part of it.
-Maya

Speaking at TEDYouth 2013!

Recently I spoke at TEDYouth in New Orleans! I got to speak to many other youth who are doing amazing things and I got to meet the other amazing speakers! "At the conference, more than 20 scientists, designers, technologists, explorers, artists, performers (and more!) shared short lessons on what they do best. They dazzled us with mind-shifting stories, inspired us with creativity and made us want to dive even deeper into a broad array of topics." 

The event was exciting and I was very enlightened by the other speakers and youth! :)





Me and Tony DeRose. He's the head of the Research Group at Pixar!


Me and 16 year old international DJ Cole Plante


Me and my and my wonderful friend Kelly Stoetzel, Content Director for TED.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My spark - TEDYouth article




My name is Maya Penn. I’m a 13 year old artist, animator, designer, philanthropist, environmentalist, and girls rights activist. I am the CEO of Maya’s Ideas, a company I started in 2008 when I was just 8 years old. I create handmade artisan crafted eco-friendly accessories and clothing. 10-20% of my profits go to local and global charities and environmental organizations. My items are sold all over the world to Denmark, Italy, Australia, Canada, and more. A lot of people ask me, why is you’re business eco-friendly?  I did some research and found out about how some dyes in clothing or the process of even making the items was harmful to the people and the planet by generating a great amount of toxic waste. I thought: how can helping the environment tie into my business? I immediately knew Maya’s Ideas had to be eco-friendly.


I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon and I’ve been making flip books since I was 3 years old. Animation has always been my first love. I love to use creativity to give back and encourage others to find their voice and what they’re passionate about. What I love about art whether it’s through painting, acting, dancing, or music is that you can tell a story and a spark a movement through the creative spirit that is art. Art comes in many forms and it’s a way we can express ourselves.

Doing what you love makes the work easier. And remember, You have to work hard and be committed. It will be worth it in the end. If you have a passion, then listen to that passion. Purse it and don't let anyone or anything stand in your way. You have the power to move forward, and just go for it!

Art and my passion for protecting the environment is my spark.

 Pictures taken by Phil Skinner.