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I’m a 16 year old philanthropist, environmental activist, entrepreneur, eco-designer, keynote speaker, artist, animator, coder, (I make animated short films), illustrator, and writer. Simon & Schuster author. 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 love to use my creativity to give back. 10-20% of my profits go to causes local and global charities and environmental organizations. I have been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, ABC's The View, NPR,CNN, TIME, Essence, Seventeen Magazine, The Steve Harvey Show, Entrepreneur Magazine, Redbook, FOX 5 Atlanta, Wired, Black Enterprise, Cosmopolitan Magazine, CBS This Morning with Gayle King, Ebony, TechRepublic (CBS Interactive), Atlanta Tech Edge, TakePart (Pivot Media),The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and many other publications. I've done three TEDTalks. My TEDWomen Talk has gone viral worldwide and it has over a million views and growing. I am the youngest female to do two back-to-back official TEDTalks. I spoke as a keynote at the launch of IBM Verse.

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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.

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