For BELLA New York Magazine: How Gwendolyn Boyd Moss, Jessica Feldman Mashkevich and Kirsten Dickerson are Making An Impact

Every day, our world becomes more tightly interconnected. And it’s true that what you put out, you get back. These inspiring women prove it is possible to connect with others and make a positive difference in their lives.


Gwendolyn Boyd Moss | My Special Friends

You may have seen Gwendolyn Boyd Moss on WE TV’s “Selling It: In the ATL.” Boyd is also a real estate agent, author, and single mother of three boys: Justin (Jo Jo), Damon, and Brandon. At the age of 3, her oldest son Justin was diagnosed with autism, and when he turned 14, with schizophrenia. Inspired by personal experience, her new book, My Big Brother Jo Jo & His Friend Schizophrenia, sheds light on the subject. What’s more, Boyd decided to create a whole series of children’s books centered on the characteristics of children with special needs, with the goal of assisting their peers in understanding developmental differences and encouraging friendships. “Not only do I want to bring awareness to these conditions, but I want to take action. It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a nation to provide services to get help needed for these children,” she explains.

My Big Brother Jo Jo & His Friend Schizophrenia is the first release in the My Special Friends series. Boyd works with Autism Speaks and is launching this year.


Jessica Feldman Mashkevich | Kona Benellie

Jessica Mashkevich created Kona Benellie Designs, makers of the Throwbee Blanket Poncho and OmniRobe Bathrobe, in 2010 with only a pair of scissors and a desire to improve lives through comfort. Mashkevich entered the world of innovation, manufacturing, distribution, and retail on a shoestring budget, while managing her family and a full-time job. With much determination, she brought her products to the public. In the spring of 2014, Mashkevich visited a local animal shelter and noticed the dogs had very little to bring them comfort and security. After discovering that blankets are atop shelter wish lists nationwide, she knew that this was where she could help make a difference. For every blanket sold through, another blanket is donated to a shelter dog.


Kirsten Dickerson | Raven + Lily

Kirsten Dickerson is synonymous with social business and ethical fashion. Before starting her company Raven + Lily, Dickerson’s career was divided between her passions for social justice and fashion. Dickerson founded Raven + Lily to alleviate poverty among women. Currently her company helps employ more than 1,500 marginalized women at fair-trade wages. This gives them access to a safe job, a sustainable income, health care, education, and a real chance to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. Raven + Lily is committed to providing products that are made by hand, follow fair-trade standards, and honor the company’s eco-friendly commitment.

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