You are using an outdated browser.
For a better experience, please upgrade your browser here.

Hannah Brencher

Millennial Communications Expert

New Haven, CT

I wanted something bigger, something more meaningful to be passionate about, but I found myself floundering without even knowing where to begin.

After graduating from college, I was left standing in the center of "what happens next" with a degree in hand and a heavy heart. I felt a little hopeless as the world burdened me with pressures to be successful and shine, no matter what.

I'd moved to New York City and secured a good job, but there was still this ache inside of me for something more. I was battling against loneliness and craving real connections in the big city. I wanted something bigger, something more meaningful to be passionate about, but I found myself floundering without even knowing where to begin; I didn't feel like shining at all.

Through my job working for a human rights NGO at the UN, I became enamored with girls' education and the social issue that has restlessly left a crucial half of the population from feeling the tingle of chalk dust on their fingertips. I sat in the middle of a massive conference room hearing about this problem that has plagued so many young girls just praying for a brighter future and a new notebook. Injustices. Child marriages. Poverty. The list of reasons why a girl could be turned away from the doors of the school house seemed endless and daunting.

I thought about the blessings of my own education and wondered what already existed to helped girls go to school and stay in school.

I stayed up late at night looking for a more tangible way to better involve myself closely in this cause I cared so much about. My search ended a few days later when I stumbled upon She’s the First: an organization of vibrant and driven young women who were working tirelessly to get little girls the desks, textbooks and school uniforms they so deserved. It was the Fall of 2010 and I was ready to meet the movers and shakers behind the organization and assist them in any way possible.

She's the First lit a fire in me almost immediately. It flushed my cheeks with passion for everyday life. It taught me to use classic networking tools to bring so much more social good into the world. I formed friendships rooted in something bigger and brighter than myself and my own loneliness. I was challenged in the best ways possible and felt entirely blessed to be learning alongside young women who I truly believe will be notables in history books one day.

In the last two years of working with She's the First, I've found out what it means to harbor a relentless dedication for what you care about and how to make seemingly impossible things happen before the breakfast scone and coffee.

Get more from Lean In

Start a Circle

We make it easy to get started, and provide all of the materials you’ll need to run your Circle

Start your Circle

Join a Circle

Women around the world are meeting regularly in small groups to support each other and learn new skills–join one today

Find a Circle

Learn New Skills

Use our library of education resources to build new skills and support your career

Build your skills