Party Patrol

Q&A: Femme It Forward on Paving the Way for Women

Last week, we popped out of our winter hibernation to co-host “Party to Pay It Forward”, an invite-only evening hosted by Ava Donaldson in NO BAR to raise money for Femme It Forward. Sounds by Quinn Bee and Ankia set the tone for the evening, with Aryanna Alexa behind the camera:

Launched by entertainment industry powerhouse Heather Lowery, Femme It Forward is a joint venture partnership with Live Nation whose mission is to celebrate, educate and empower women. Femme It Forward is dedicated to increasing opportunities for women of color by pairing promising talent with industry leaders through initiatives like Next Gem Femme.

We caught up with Heather on the latest Femme It Forward happenings below:

What are some success stories from mentorship at Next Gem Femme that have been particularly rewarding to hear?

There are so many success stories that authenticate our mission to shape the next generation of leadership in entertainment. Our mentees are not only getting mentorship, but they are also getting internships, jobs, new connections and lifelong bonds. I am so inspired by the young women in our program and moved by the impact we are making and the lives we are changing for so many young women of color. Our mentorship program is a one-year commitment that often transcends the completion of the program.

Next Gem Femme hosted the 2nd Annual Give Her FlowHERS Gala this past year to honor artists including SZA, Teyana Taylor and Brandy. What inspired you to host an in-person awards ceremony over a digital gathering or concert, and what were your takeaways for the next one?

The Give Her FlowHERS Awards Gala is a celebration dedicated to some of the biggest and baddest women in entertainment who indisputably deserve their flowers for their amazing achievements. Following the global pandemic, it was imperative that we take advantage of the privilege to host an in-person awards show. Live musical performances entwine throughout the night as we raise awareness about the Next Gem Femme Mentorship Program. 

This is our yearly reminder for all women to celebrate all of our wins -  big and small. We all deserve to smell our flowers. 

What qualities do you look for in mentors for the program, and how can women get involved as mentors?

Next Gem Femme has a diverse pool of mentors who are at the top of their game in various sectors of the entertainment industry. Our objective is to shape the next generation of leaders by connecting mentees with dedicated mentors to help guide them professionally. 

Our mentorship program is a one-year commitment, but many of our pairings continue their mentorship journey beyond the completion of the program. Anyone interested in being a mentor can visit for more information.

What are you most excited about for Next Gem Femme to debut in 2024? 

As the demand for this program continues to grow, we are inspired to incessantly discover innovative ways to serve our Next Gem Femme Community. We are hoping to provide more stipends and scholarships for college students in need, enable diverse job opportunities for young professionals, and connect more women in need of mentorship.

What are the top three songs or artists on your own personal hype playlist?

It’s so hard to choose among so many talented artists. I won’t even try to narrow it down to top songs. Three artists who always get me hype are Victoria Monet, Beyonce, and SZA. Each one of these incredible women inspire me with their audacious perspective on the complexity of womanhood. Listening to each of them fuels me to persevere and keep it pushing.   

To support Femme It Forward’s impact through 2024 and beyond, send a donation here.


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