Although we’ve done it before, it’s a pretty rare occasion for Lady Code to feature men on the blog! When I had the opportunity to interview Shane Feldman for the blog, I just couldn’t say no. Shane is representing everything that we here at Lady Code stand for: Creating champions from adversity. Whether it’s financial hardship, bullying, loneliness, rejection, or anything else, we’re all about overcoming hardship and focusing on success.
Meet Shane Feldman: An award winning producer, inspirational speaker and accomplished entrepreneur, Shane Feldman is the 20 year old creative strategist behind Count Me In, the world’s largest youth-led organization. Born out of Shane’s challenging transition into high school, Count Me In is an entirely student-led charity and global brand that helps young people find their passion through community involvement. With Shane at the helm, Count Me In has impacted more than 10 million young people to date through speaking tours, educational programs and major broadcasts. Shane has established an international reputation as a leader in the youth engagement space, and his thought provoking, inspirational and energetic presentations continue to help audiences reimagine themselves, their purpose, and their power to give back and “live a legacy.” Shane has appeared on national media, been recognized by The United Nations Youth Assembly and President Obama’s volunteer initiative, “serve.gov”, and he has been listed on Youth In Motion’s Top 20 Under 20 list.
Occupation: Founder of Count Me In, Inspirational Speaker, Creative Media Producer
Hobbies: Storytelling, Cooking, Exercising.
Color: Sky Blue
Book: Fiction: Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling) // Non-Fiction: Boy Meets Depression (Kevin Breel)
Quote: You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with. – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Food: Sushi and Ice Cream (but usually not at the same time)
You are a very busy man! What is a typical day like for you?
I wake up in the morning, around 7:00am, and begin my day by smiling at myself and feeling a sense of gratitude wash over me. I spend about one third of my day working with my team at Count Me In, and the development of our programming. Another third is spent working on my personal development, and that can include working on refining my keynote, preparing for an upcoming tour, reading, or watching TED Talks. The last third of my day is spent on health and well being, and can include going to the gym, doing yoga, taking a long walk, and I typically conclude the day by cooking dinner from scratch.
Tell us about Count Me In: Count Me In is now the largest entirely youth-led movement in the world, having impacted more than 10,000,000 people to date in over 100 countries. Count Me In provides youth with tools, resources, mentorship and programming that combats mental health issues and helps teens find their passion through volunteerism and community connections.
What inspired you to start this movement? I was basically tricked into starting an organization. PainToPurposeFilm.com provides a 3 minute look into my start to high school, and how an awful start to freshman year turned into an international movement of positivity.
What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was my age. At the beginning it felt like an obstacle because people didn’t take me seriously. I tried to surround myself with friends who believed in what I was doing and kept pushing my ideas forward. When Count Me In started to take shape, suddenly adults started listening. As soon as we had a bit of traction, suddenly my age wasn’t an obstacle – it was a talking point. I learned to use my age as an “unfair advantage”.
What can our readers do to get involved?
Visit cmileaders.com to learn more about Count Me In’s premier Student Leadership Training Program. We welcome students from around the world to our 4-day camp each spring, and the program is truly life changing. The testimonials on our website speak for themselves. This is THE most meaningful and fulfilling program I have ever produced, and I’m so thrilled it has continued to develop and grow each year.
To learn more about bringing the Count Me In program to your school or community, you can check out http://ShaneFeldman.com
What’s next for you?
I believe you should’t need money to be a student leader. I’m currently focussed on further developing Count Me In’s Scholarship Fund, so that underprivileged youth have the unparalleled opportunity to experience our flagship leadership program.
Where do you see yourself/Count Me In in 10 years from now?
I see myself continuing to tour North America, and other parts of the world, bringing meaningful stories, inspiration, and valuable content to audiences of students, educators and parents. I’m also in the early stages of developing a grassroots digital entrepreneurship portal, to give young entrepreneurs access to valuable insight, helpful tutorials, and a community of likeminded changemakers.
Do you have any advice for out readers who may currently be facing adversity?
Maybe you feel lost in your school, or just isolated in general. You’re not alone, in fact that’s the way I felt when I started high school. You might be powerful, but you can’t handle everything on your own. Batman has Robin, Katniss has Peeta, and Dora has her Backpack. (Though I wouldn’t count on advice from your backpack…) Whether it’s a parent,a teacher, or a friend, find someone that you can speak to about whatever it is you’re going through. It’s tough to open up, and be vulnerable, but I promise it’s worth it.
Keep up with Shane:
To learn more about Count Me In, please visit www.shanefeldman.com .
Do you have a story to share with Lady Code? Please write to us: firstname.lastname@example.org