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Be passionate... be fierce.

Grace Plihal is the Director of Community for Fresco News, a next-generation news network that gives citizen journalists the power to voice their perspectives on breaking news events. This D.C. native, activist, creative, and community builder is our #WCW because of her self-confidence, work ethic, and relentless dedication to helping others!

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, an extremely socioeconomically diverse suburb right outside of Washington, D.C. In 2012, I moved to New York City to attend college at New York University. I pride myself on never being afraid to speak my mind.

2. What motivates you?

It may sound cliche, but what motivates me is being able to help others. If I can make even one person’s day, I feel like I’m really fulfilling my purpose in life.

3. Who is a hero of yours?

I have a lot of people I look up to. Senator Bernie Sanders has to be one of them; you absolutely cannot top a kind old man who has been campaigning for justice for the underprivileged and underserved for longer than I’ve been alive. Other heroes include Obama, J. Dilla, Jim Vance, and my mom.

4. Give us a road map of your career. How did you get to where you are today?

One of my friends who was working for Fresco in late 2014 recommended I apply for the job. This was when Fresco was working out of a small office and had about 7 employees. I applied, and got the job! I worked up from a Content Manager to a Community Manager, worked a couple hard months at both Fresco AND as an intern at NBC's Morning Joe, and was ultimately promoted to Director of Community, my current position at Fresco. It’s been incredible to see the company's growth over the past two years!

5. What's your future plan? Your goals?

I want to work at Fresco for as long as I can. I’m really proud and lucky to work for such a vibrant, innovative company. But my ultimate long term goal is to make enough money to be able to retire, buy a few acres of land and use that land to own and run my own dog shelter. :)

6. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be? I really subscribe to this idea: Be yourself, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. Or, put much more bluntly, be yourself, because people will not like you anyway. There is no use in trying to please everyone. Be passionate, be fierce, and don’t waste your energy on people who put you down for that.

7. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

I feel very strongly about racial and economic justice. I’m also a staunch feminist and environmentalist. I believe we need to redistribute wealth, de-militarize the police, leave women’s health issues to individual women, and stop ignoring the distress warnings our planet is so obviously showing us. I have a lot of beliefs, a lot of ideas, and I’m not afraid to talk to people about them.

8.What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?

I’ve done a lot of cool things, but in recent memory, the coolest has been traveling to Cuba last winter. I went before Obama announced he’d be taking steps to end the embargo, so there really weren’t many Americans there. It was a strange and beautiful city and I can’t wait to go back.

If you'd like to reach out to Grace for mentorship opportunities, you can reach her HERE.

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