A Brand to be Proud of

Ariel Graham of JCPenney meets with the Teen Advisors in Los Angeles

Last week, Ariel Graham of JCPenney’s campaign Squares & Streets came to visit Girl Up’s Teen Advisor Weekend in Los Angeles. Her visit perfectly encapsulated what a partnership with Girl Up can bring to both the company and the cause.

JCPenney’s new initiative “jcp” and its possibility of creating a youth board brought Graham to us, seeking advice on youth culture from our team of 16 Teen Advisors. In turn, JCPenney has the “brand equity” and reach that could bring Girl Up to new audiences in stores as well as revenue to fund the in-country programs that help adolescent girls.

“Teens are a brand in themselves,” Graham said. “You’re constantly defining and reinventing yourselves in a way that companies can only dream of emulating.”

It was an amazing weekend with an amazing group of girls supporting Girl Up. Sixteen of us were chosen from around the country, united only by our passion and dedication to helping girls equally amazing but without the opportunity to succeed that we had been given.

As I looked around the large conference room, as Ariel Graham asked, “Who are you?” and typed furiously the wide range of answers given, as each girl hailing from a different state, a different background, and a different personality gave their own answer, I realized that Graham was right. We collectively, as Girl Up Teen Advisors, had branded ourselves as individuals but also as a collective—as caring about girls and girls’ welfare.

Girl Up is so excited to begin a new chapter of partnership with JCPenney. It’s the best kind of two-way street. We bring the exposure and branding. They bring the funds and brand equity. Together, we can reinvent ourselves and reinvent our world as a utopia for girls. That’s a brand we can all be proud of.


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