Maya Penn

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Maya Penn TED
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Maya Shea Penn is the CEO of her very own business, “Maya’s Ideas,” at only eight years old; her company makes hand-crafted scarves, headbands, T-shirts and accessories, and is also eco-friendly. As young as she is, Maya has a profound understanding of her responsibility as a steward of the Earth. “Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet” is her non-profit organization which is dedicated to caring for the planet. Aside from being an entrepreneur, Maya is also an artist, animator, designer, speaker, philanthropist and published writer.

Achievements

Why Maya Penn is Extraordinary

At first glance, Maya Penn is just an ordinary kid wearing a limited-edition headband, T-shirt and scarf; you probably wouldn’t guess that she made all those. Why, she’s only 13! For those who have yet to hear her story, Maya founded “Maya’s Ideas,” her made-to-order artisan shop, at the age of eight. Before then, she was not only interested in animation, but already creating it herself! She is also an environmentalist, and all of her products are eco-friendly, meaning she does not use any dye, fabric or material that may harm the environment. She’s on a mission to raise awareness of the implications of little actions towards the fate of Mother Nature, for better or worse. She also founded “Maya’s Ideas 4 the Planet,” her very own non-profit.

A Gifted Child

Maya has shown potential for the arts since she was three years old; by the time she was four, she had fallen in love with technology. It was then no surprise that she began exploring the world of animation. Even her characters are in line with her environmental slogan; “The Pollinators” are bees that are up against “Deforestsaurus.” Isn’t that the coolest?

Another story line she devised is that of the virus world. She created “Malicious Dishes,” a restaurant for just about any type of PC virus. They have "pan seared registry error sprinkled with the finest corrupted data, binary brioche, RAM sandwiches, Conficker fitters, and a scripting salad with or without polymorphic dressing, and a grilled coding kabob." Know, also, that their best-selling dessert is the “tracking cookie.”

Maya had already made a name for herself before she even turned thirteen. She was honored as an entrepreneur at the SCLC Women's “33rd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards” in the Youth Category in 2009. In 2013, she won the “Black Enterprise Teenpreneur of the Year Award” and was also included in the “Little Pink Book Spring into Ownership Panel.”

Her first public recognition came from Forbes, which named her one of their “Notable Grade School Entrepreneurs” when she was only 10 years old. She recently wrote and illustrated her first book, “Lucy and Sammy Save the Environment.” So, what does Maya want to impart to those who are wondering how she made it?

"You always, always, always have to start with a passion because if you don’t have a passion, a love or drive behind what you’re doing, then eventually it’s going to go downhill, and you won’t want to do it anymore. It’s really important to do what you love because you’ll go farther." (SOURCE: TED Blog)

If all teens thought like her, there would be no reason to wait until being 30-something before helping to lead a country.

Top Reasons why Maya Penn is Extraordinary

  1. She founded “Maya's Ideas,” her own business, at eight years old.
  2. She founded her own non-profit, “Maya's Ideas 4 the Planet,” a few years later.
  3. She is an artist and animator, and began drawing at 3 years old.
  4. Her passion for animation began at 4 years old when she discovered computers.
  5. She sets aside 10% - 20% of her proceeds for charitable institutions.
  6. She is a published author, having written and illustrated her first book, “Lucy and Sammy Save the Environment.”
  7. She is the brains behind “The Pollinators” and “Malicious Dishes.”
  8. She was honored as an entrepreneur at the SCLC Women's “33rd Annual Drum Major for Justice Awards” in the Youth Category in 2012.
  9. In 2013, she won the “Black Enterprise Teenpreneur of the Year Award” and was included in the “Little Pink Book Spring into Ownership Panel.”
  10. She has been featured in many publications and has spoken at TED.

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