The 35U began with a vision to inspire the leaders of tomorrow by telling them about the leaders of today. With millions of people involved in government, education, business and community service across the country, it sometimes may be hard for the 35U to connect to leaders individually simply due to an age barrier. The 35U to us is any young adult from the ages of 18-35 in this country. These individuals have a voice – they can vote, serve, and most importantly, they can make a difference for future generations.
Today’s Q&A feature is Jade Zaroff, Founder of Entertainment for Change. The mission of Entertainment for Change is to educate and engage both emerging and established artists to develop original content inspired by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as set forth by the United Nations.
Jade is an artist, producer, entrepreneur, and young change-maker who’s passion and purpose is to create impactful content. She created an original event that now runs annually at Emerson College to celebrate Earth day called the Emerson Green Gala, and won the Spirit of a Emerson Award in 2016. Jade is currently producing and acting in a web series for teens about how climate change IS real called “Jade & Jaded”
Jade is an inspiration to youth that want to use their talents for positive change in the world. We caught up with Jade to find out what leadership means to her and what advice she would give to the next generation of leaders.
Why did you choose this career path?
I chose this career path because it was a merge of all of my passions and interests. What better way to live your life then to do what you love! I truly believe that “work is love made visible.” I absolutely love what I do, and wake up every morning with the drive to be better than I was the day before and make a meaningful impact. I believe that sustainable change comes from inspired action, and passion is truly contagious — so everything that I do to develop and build my career comes from those two sentiments. Practically speaking, I love opportunities in which I can strategically lead and manage teams to execute a creative vision. Being the Founder & President of Entertainment for Change allows me to do this on a daily basis. I also keep my personal artistry alive through Voice Over acting/performance arts/singing, so that I can authentically communicate to the target audience from a genuine understanding of the industry..
Who inspired you to get involved?
I founded the nonprofit, so the inspiration to get involved truly came from my heart. Not to be cheesy, but I do mean it when I say… it was an intuitive feeling that came from a sense of recognizing my purpose. That being said, my mom has been a leader in the sustainable fashion movement, so she has definitely inspired me to become a leader in my own industry, field, and movement. We joke that our paths parallel each other… she trademarked “EcoFashion” in the 90s and I trademarked “Entertainment for Change” about 3 years ago. Now her company is EcoFashionCorp (EFC) and mine is Entertainment for Change (EFC)… both founders of “EFC”! Theatre has always been a prominent part of my life. My great uncle (who passed away about a year ago) wrote the musical “Cabaret,” so my mom’s side of the family were avid Thespians. My dad’s side has always valued music and dance, so the arts had a massive impact on my life since I was little. I joke that I came out of the womb singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
How do you define a leader?
I believe a leader is someone who empowers others to recognize their truest potential, and then take inspired action by utilizing/merging their skillsets and passions to do so. I feel that a leader can combine logical and analytical tactics, with emotional intelligence and intuitive drive to create a safe space that allows for collaboration and co-creation. As a leader, I personally strive to empower individuals (specifically artists) to grow and unlock their purpose/talents to inspire positive change.
What projects are you currently involved with in the community that engages the next generation of leaders?
Entertainment for Change is committed to doing just that! Our platform is a community of IMPACT ARTISTS inspiring youth and amplifying the United Nations’
Sustainable Development Goals through the power of the arts and entertainment. The #SDGGROOVE (available on YouTube/iTunes/Spotify) is an original song and dance that educates the United Nations’ SDGs. Once you learn all the lyrics, now you know all of the goals! We also are launching an interactive podcast/video series called AMPLIFY on June 1st that amplifies young “IMPACT ARTISTS” by aligning their creative work to an SDG. Listeners and viewers can vote for the artist that resonates with them the most. Think, America’s Got Talent for social and environmental change.
What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders who want to get involved?
Engage with platforms, communities, families and tribes that inspire and empower you. Your environment and the people you surround yourself with have such an effect on you as an individual. If you internalize the energy and positivity that you want to externalize and exemplify as a leader, more people will be drawn to you. Find your purpose, be passionate, smile and have fun changing the world.