Rachel Holmes, 18, of San Jose; Kayli Joy Cooper, 17, of Studio City; Naomi Porter, 17, of Rancho Palos Verdes; and Khloe Thompson, 14, of Yorba Linda, today were each named a 2022 Prudential Emerging Visionary for bringing powerful vision and meaningful change to their communities.
As four of the 25 young people from across the country selected in this year’s inaugural class, Rachel, Kayli Joy, Naomi, and Khloe will each receive $5,000 in funding as well as an invitation to participate in an awards summit from April 23-26, 2022. The summit will include a lively agenda packed with skills development workshops, coaching sessions, networking opportunities and special recognition events. Select winners will also have an opportunity to participate in a pitch-off where a grand prize winner will receive an additional $10,000 in funding. What’s more, Prudential employees will vote to name an Employees’ Choice Award winner, who will receive an additional $5,000.
Prudential Emerging Visionaries recognizes young people ages 14-18 whose fresh perspectives and innovative solutions address the pressing financial and societal challenges in their communities. It is a collaboration between Prudential Financial and Ashoka, a leading social impact organization, with advisory support from the Financial Health Network, an authority on financial health and longtime partner of The Prudential Foundation. The program is an evolution of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the country’s largest youth recognition program, which for 26 years honored more than 150,000 outstanding youth volunteers.
“Emerging Visionaries is another way Prudential is demonstrating its commitment to our purpose: to make lives better by solving the financial challenges of our changing world,” said Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey. “The students we’re honoring have a sense of possibility that drives them to look beyond themselves. Their vision and dedication are key to creating fully inclusive communities, and we are humbled and inspired by their work.”
That work includes addressing needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic, combating economic inequality, advocating for inclusion and closing the digital divide. This inaugural group of young leaders was selected based on four main criteria: their solution is innovative; it can create meaningful impact in the future and can scale to a wider community; it demonstrates a deep understanding of the issue; and it inspires the visionary to lead or take action and motivates others to do the same.
Here are California’s Prudential Emerging Visionaries for 2022:
Financial Challenge category winner:
Rachel Holmes, 18, of San Jose, California, started “Black Girls Mean Business,” a career development and networking program for Black high school girls that fosters the skills and confidence needed to become successful in their careers — ultimately increasing their representation in the corporate world. “Since I want to be a businesswoman myself, I’ve become aware of the daunting lack of representation in the field,” she said.
The program includes virtual courses, hands-on learning, networking opportunities with professionals and university-led workshops. Participants reported that they overwhelmingly enjoyed the program and felt better prepared to take on a business career. Rachel wants to expand the program’s reach and offerings, providing year-round programming and opportunities such as college tours and internships.
Societal Challenge category winners:
Kayli Joy Cooper, 17, of Studio City, California, created “Girl Well” to make self-care accessible for teenage girls facing displacement, transition or homelessness. The organization’s carefully curated self-care kits emphasize physical, emotional and mental wellness, featuring items like fuzzy socks, affirmation cards, self-care books and hotline information.
“I started ‘Girl Well’ because I saw an equity gap and knew it needed to be filled. I know there can be change in the world and it starts with me,” Kayli said. In under a year, “Girl Well” distributed more than 365 kits in five different states to girls ages 13 to 18.
Naomi Porter, 17, of Rancho Palos Verdes, California, founded “EntrepreYOUership” to make entrepreneurial education more accessible, equipping the next generation of innovators with skills and startup funds to launch their own businesses. Founded on the idea that “you can do it too,” “EntrepreYOUership” includes free workshops, funding opportunities, mentorship and individualized coaching.
Participants learn everything from managing cash flow to interpreting financial data and writing a business plan. “Very little of what I learn during school hours prepares me for these real-life business challenges, which is why I launched this project to provide resources and support for youth,” Naomi explained. The organization has 141 ambassadors from 35 countries, and the curriculum has been translated into five languages. The project has served 3,300 young innovators.
Khloe Thompson, 14, of Yorba Linda, California, started “PeachTree Pads,” a reusable, eco-friendly alternative to traditional menstruation products to ensure both environmental and personal health. “PeachTree Pads” is on a mission to help eliminate female hygiene waste by developing an all-natural pad that is safe to use and chemical-free, unlike many single-use pads on the market. Khloe also aspires to tackle period poverty and its social consequences by offering a more affordable product in the long run and generating awareness around the environmental impact of single-use products.
Khloe has developed a durable and comfortable prototype, collecting feedback from her community on feasibility, durability, quality and public perception. She is in the manufacturing stage now as she meets with both potential suppliers and buyers to help bring her prototype to life and to stores.
To read the names and stories of all of this year’s Prudential Emerging Visionaries, visit prudential.com/emergingvisionaries.
About Prudential Financial
Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial wellness leader and premier active global investment manager, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees help to make lives better by creating financial opportunity for more people. Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit news.prudential.com.
Ashoka is the largest global network of leading social entrepreneurs — individuals with new ideas to systemically address the world’s biggest challenges and the entrepreneurial skill to transform those ideas into national, regional and global social impact. Over 40 years, Ashoka has supported more than 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 90 countries with solutions addressing society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which Everyone Is a Changemaker — a society that responds quickly and effectively to challenges, and where every individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem. For more information, visit ashoka.org.