Brand Partnerships & Business Development Director at Every Mother Counts
We are delighted to share with you our new ‘Marfa Monthly Muse’ Journal series.
The idea to launch the Journal came from Founder Georgia Dant wanting to create her own space to spotlight the women she admires, and support her fellow female founders and entrepreneurs. Each month we will interview inspirational women selected and interviewed by Georgia herself - because what’s better than women supporting women?
We are proud to launch this series with Grace Lee Kellum, Brand Partnerships & Business Development Director for our incredible charitable partner Every Mother Counts.
I’ve always been connected to women-owned/led and mission-driven brands. While I’ve worked at companies of all sizes, most of my 20+ year career has been in launching and growing startups in consumer technology, beauty, home, and food. Prior to Every Mother Counts, I was part of the team that founded giggle, the first multi-channel, high-design baby products and resource content brand that grew to 14 stores nationwide. I left in 2014 to leverage my experience in building organizations and product development to benefit the non-profit sector. giggle laid the groundwork for my dedication to mothers, and Every Mother Counts cemented my commitment to mothers.
EMC turned 10 this year! Our birth story is one that begins with EMC’s founder, Christy Turlington Burns, who says she became a global maternal health advocate the day she became a mother. Christy gave birth to her daughter 17 years ago. Here is EMC’s birth story: “I was healthy throughout my pregnancy and had plenty of provider and facility options to ensure the birth experience I imagined for myself. My husband and I chose our very capable midwife to deliver our baby in a hospital birthing center just a few miles from home. I felt so well-prepared for everything, except for what occurred after she was born. My placenta was retained and could not expel itself so it had to be removed. As a result, I lost a few litres of blood. While the active management of this complication was painful, I never feared for my life because I had confidence in my midwife and others who worked together to stabilize me. Without access to this critical and timely care, I may not be here today. Many other women are not as lucky. Becoming a mother has been a life-transforming experience in so many ways. My birth experience led me on a journey with maternal health as a central focus.
There is a lot we already know about how to prevent pregnancy- and childbirth-related complications, but not enough political will or resources dedicated to this issue. The belief that knowledge is power is only true if it is clear what needs to be done to make change and, ultimately, to prevent unnecessary or harmful events if we can. My story is not exceptional nor is it as rare or uncommon as many might think. My story is not the beginning, and not even close to the end.
Every Mother Counts was created to raise awareness and to educate the public about an issue that touches us all, but one that not enough people know about until it’s too late.”
There have been so many! From our films, which capture moments and feature our partners and EMC’s work; to traveling to Guatemala with our incredibly supportive and longtime partner, Minted to visit our grantee partners, Asocion de las Comadronas del Area Mam and Asocion Corazon del Agua; to our team working so closely together this year during an unprecedented pandemic and reckoning of systemic racism – it’s impossible to choose.
But I’d have to say that Marathon Day in NY never ceases to move me. It has to be one of the best days in NYC. To say it’s inspiring to witness the dedication and commitment of Team EMC, but really all the runners is an understatement. It’s particularly inspiring, because distance is one of the greatest barriers facing mothers around the globe. In many parts of the world, women have to walk miles to reach the nearest public health facility—even while pregnant or in labor. EMC runs so mothers can reach the care they need.
People can shop products from wonderful EMC partners like Marfa Stance that benefit mothers around the world! Other ways to help EMC, include supporting our work by donating and taking action by using your voice to advocate for quality, respectful, equitable maternity care for all. Additionally, people can attend our events and organize their own, as well as share our films and campaigns on social media with their networks and communities. And as I mentioned, people can run on behalf of EMC.
While there are a number of initiatives, we’ve recently launched an innovation project, a virtual doula support program rooted in a birth justice framework, called JustBirth Space with community partners, Ancient Song Doula Services, Village Birth International, and Jacaranda Health. In 2021 and beyond, we will continue to focus on our birth justice work. Please visit everymothercounts.org to learn more and sign up to receive our emails!
Shop our limited-edition quilts in partnership with Every Mother Counts HERE, in which 10% of proceeds will be proudly donated throughout November and December.