Lacey Koughan is a Canada150&Me alumni who is also doing big things! She’s an entrepreneur, feminist advocate and a speaker! Learn about her empowerment program and her involvement with the Entrepreneur conference below.
-Tell me about 24STRONG; what is it and when was it founded?
24strong is a nationwide empowerment program for self identified teen girls. Founded in October 2017 on Prince Edward Island. Our goal is to empower each girl to be her best self, from the inside – out. 24strong offers a variety of programs and workshops focusing on self esteem, body image, goal setting, social media, healthy relationships and fitness.
We also have a growing online community of girls from across the globe who are able to connect with each other in a positive way through our social media channels.
-What led you to starting this organization?
24strong was inspired by my own experiences growing up as a teen girl in a society that put so much emphasis on living for the approval of others vs living for yourself. I struggled a lot with my self-confidence and body image during Jr high and high school and a lot of this stemmed from the strong presence that social media had in my life. I recognized that my peers were also feeling similar to me but nobody wanted to admit that they were feeling this way and majority of adults couldn’t necessarily relate because they had not grown up with social media in the way that we have as millennials.
I fell into a dark spiral where I had lost my drive towards my dreams and my confidence in myself. I knew that I didn’t deserve to live a life that made me so unhappy, so I decided it was time to make some changes. By incorporating fitness, a healthy diet, positive role models and new experiences into my life, I began seeing positive changes in the way I felt and the way I acted. I began sharing these lessons with some of my peers and younger girls who were in my life and noticed the positive changes in them as well.
I felt it was my purpose to share these positive lessons with as many young women as I can, because our world needs the bright ideas and strong spirits of all girls and women, working together to make our world a better place.
– Did Canada 150&Me have an impact?
I started 24strong before I attended Canada 150&Me, however, being present at the conference with so many other young Canadians motivated me even more to continue spreading the movement of 24strong. Canada 150&Me proved to me that the youth in our country are determined to make a change and are flooding with innovative ideas. It solidified that there are endless resources and supports available to young Canadians who want to make a change. By empowering even more of the young women across Canada, our country is destined to continue down the right path, for generations to come.
What was the biggest challenge for you when launching 24strong?
The biggest challenge that I faced when launching 24strong was my time management. To this day, I have been the only person behind the company. Developing program content, taking care of registration, marketing, doing interviews and running photoshoots and social media is a lot for one person to handle, especially while still being in high school. I struggled with this for a few months but managed to get myself into a good routine and broke down my larger tasks into daily steps that I could do to ensure I was staying on top of things.
I’m at a point now where I am hiring a few women to join my team which will give me the time to focus on what I do best within the company and grow a team of inspiring, diverse women to work with the girls in 24strong.
-What advice would you tell others who might be interested in launching their own business?
The biggest piece of advice I can give you is this…
“If it feels right, it’s right.” Trust yourself. If you have an idea you believe is worth sharing or an innovative product that you are confident in, go all in. There is no such thing as failure, only lessons to be learned and opportunities to move forward and be even better next time.
-You’re also a speaker at the Entrepreneur conference. How did this great opportunity come up?
I am very grateful to Canada 150&Me for connecting me to so many fellow young Canadians with visions to better our country. Dozens of friendships were created throughout my time in Montreal and I continue to talk with some of the attendees. Shae Guy was one of the other youth in Montreal with me. We kept in touch via social media and he presented me with the incredible opportunity of travelling to Alberta next spring to speak at the Entrepreneur conference! If it weren’t for Canada 150&Me, I don’t believe Shae and I would have connected.
This is a great example of one of the positives of social media.
-What does the future have in store for you? Any other exciting things coming up?
My future is full of possibilities and it excites me every single day. I am the type of person who wants to live with no regrets. I want to look back on my life and be proud that I took the path less travelled and tried as many different things as I could. That being said, I recently auditioned for Big Brother Canada and got my first apartment with a close friend! I see myself travelling lots in the future and making friends across the globe.
As for 24strong, I am continuing to come up with new ways to expand our programming and we are in the process of growing our team. We hope to offer our programs in each province and territory within the next five years.
Want to see her speak at the Entrepreneur conference ? Share this blog on any of your social media platforms and you will have the chance to win 2 tickets! Don’t forget to tag us and use the hashtag #ExperiencesCanadaGiveaway! Draw will be on October 1st.