When Naomi Porter was growing up, she tried every after-school activity you could think of, from soccer to art, to ballet. But it wasn’t until she participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy Start-Up competition at just 11 years old that she found the right fit.
Naomi remembers stepping up to the podium to give her presentation to the competition audience and realizing that even though she was only five feet tall, she was powerful enough to make an impact.
This week, we sat down with Naomi, on the latest episode of The Conversationalist Podcast, who’s making waves as a 16-year-old entrepreneur, public speaker, and activist from Los Angeles. Since the beginning, she’s been a crucial part of our mission of amplifying voices and breaking open echo chambers. After placing second in that fateful competition, Naomi has fine-tuned her calling for writing business plans, making pitches to investors, and creating enterprises that make a difference in the world. Each day, she proves that no one is ever too young or too small to find their voice.
Naomi is the founder and CEO of Spice it Up and Bright Futures, and in 2019, Naomi founded EntrepreYOUership. This organization has served over 600 young people through free workshops that equip young people with an entrepreneurial mindset. She is also a National Intern for Girl Scouts of the USA and a 2020 Gold Award Girl Scout. In celebration of her incredible accomplishments and commitment to using her voice for good, she was honored as part of our 2020 ConversationaLIST in the economics category. Plus, she’s an advocate for social justice and sustainable development and believes that many of the issues we face today are an opportunity for young entrepreneurs to take action.
In proper TC fashion, we opened the conversation by breaking the ice. Naomi shared that her echo chamber comprises youth activists and advocates working for gender equity, climate change, social justice, and racial justice while also focusing on school and making college plans.
Naomi shared her journey into the business world. She’s founded Spice it Up, an online spice kit company, and Bright futures, which helps young people with their academics and EntrepreYOUership. All of her businesses are aligned with the UN’s sustainable development goals, making them more inclusive.
She’s also all about empowering young people to think like entrepreneurs. “The world is constantly changing, and young people need to feel empowered with an entrepreneurial mindset to identify problems, investigate solutions, but more importantly, to take action,” Naomi explained. “Many of the social problems that we face are opportunities for entrepreneurial minds to address them.”
Here at TC, we have a whole room in our community dedicated to Hot Takes, where members can share a controversial thought, question, or icebreaker about something that they believe in. TC Community Member Nicholas Kaplan suggested today’s Hot Take and wanted to know Naomi’s opinion on the best web conferencing platform. Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft teams, WebEx, or Skype.
Naomi chose Zoom, which she described as the “OG” platform. “I was zooming before it was cool with my internship with Girl Scouts of the United States of America,” she said. “You mean I can go online, and I can meet 25 other people all from different time zones, and we can see each other at the same time?”
She’ll have to duke it out with Nicholas on Geneva, as he is a proud member of “Team Google Meets.”
Naomi acknowledged the most important lessons she’s learned throughout her entrepreneurship journey, including placing trust in herself, valuing collaboration over competition, and the importance of empowering others in her mission to build a better world. “There is no script where you're seeking to change the world,” she advised. “You have to trust every conversation, every small step that's moving you closer to clearly articulating your life's purpose.”
She also offered some advice for making meaningful connections with others. “My biggest advice if you're looking to start a conversation with people, [is] figure out where you have common ground and then just go from there and figure out what issues unite you rather than divide you,” she said.
Naomi invited any listeners interested in launching their businesses or sustainable development goals to join one of her upcoming online events, which take place every Sunday.
She also encouraged listeners to reach out to her via DM with questions. “There's always a place for you in our entrepreneurship world,” she said.
Now, we want to hear from you! How are you using your voice for good? Join The Conversationalist Community on the Geneva app. You’ll be able to make new friends, find new opportunities, and have 24/7 conversations about anything under the sun that matters to you. Come and introduce yourself, break the ice, share your hot takes, and more. Want to be chosen as our featured hot take on our next podcast? Make sure you’re in our community and sharing your thoughts in our hot takes room.