Nadya Okamoto

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Nadya Okamoto

Okamoto at the 2018 Texas Teen Book Festival
Born February 11, 1998 (1998-02-11) (age 23)
New York City, United States
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Entrepreneur, Author
Political party Democrat

Nadya Okamoto (born February 11, 1998) is an American social entrepreneur who is the founder and former executive director of the non-profit organization Period Inc.,[1] which distributes menstrual hygiene products and advocates for ending what is known as the tampon tax. In January 2020, Okamoto stepped down from Period Inc. as Executive Director; later that year, she left Period entirely.[2]

In November 2020, Okamoto launched August, a lifestyle period brand, which she co-founded with Nick Jain, the founder of JUV Consulting.[3]

Okamoto is also the former Chief Brand Officer of JUV Consulting.[4] Her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement, was published in October 2018.[5]

Early life

Okamoto was born in New York City before moving to Portland, Oregon.[6] Her mother, Sophia Tzeng, graduated from Harvard University in 1995 and later Columbia Law School.[7] Tzeng was previously a visiting instructor of social impact management at the University of Portland.[8] Her father, Shintaro Okamoto, is the founder of Okamoto Studio. He attended Brown University and Hunter College.[9] Okamoto is no longer in contact with her father and has shared her story publicly of experiencing sexual abuse and violence in her relationship with him as a child.[10]

Education

Okamoto attended Catlin Gabel School as a Malone Scholar, a scholarship at the school offered to students in need of financial assistance.[11] In December 2019, Catlin Gabel published a report on the school’s history of abuse by faculty towards students, wherein Okamoto’s experience of harassment and grooming from her student advisor of four years was included.[12] Okamoto came forward publicly with more details on her experience related to the abuse in January 2020.[13] It was later revealed that her former student advisor was fired immediately after the inappropriate behavior was reported to the school.[13] He publicly denied all allegations.[13]

During her senior year of high school, Okamoto received the Gates Millennium Scholarship.[14] Okamoto was also a 2016 Coca-Cola scholar, and designated as a notable alumnus of the program.[15] She was also chosen as the 2016 Most Valuable Student Top Scholarship Winner by the Elks National Foundation, given to one female student per year.[16] In October 2019, Okamoto was given Catlin Gabel's Distinguished Young Alumni award.[17]

Okamoto studied at Harvard College.[18]

Career

Okamoto is the co-Founder of August, a lifestyle period brand. In March 2020, August launched a free educational database called Ask August.[19]

In December 2014, Okamoto founded Period Inc. with Vincent Forand, a high school classmate. The organization distributes menstrual hygiene products, has campus chapters at universities and high schools around the United States, and advocates for ending what is known as the tampon tax.[20] Under her leadership, the organization registered 800 chapters in all 50 US states and 40 other countries.[21] In 2017, Okamoto's organization hosted their first "Period Con," a global conference for young activists.[22]

Okamoto moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in August 2016 to attend Harvard College. Less than seven months later, Okamoto announced her candidacy for Cambridge City Council, with a campaign team primarily composed of other Harvard students. She was the youngest candidate in the race and focused her campaign on issues of affordable housing, education equity, and climate change. Okamoto lost the election but managed to take 15th place out of 26 candidates.[23][24]

In 2018, Okamoto published her debut book, Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement with publisher Simon & Schuster, which made the Kirkus Reviews list for Best Young Adult Nonfiction of 2018.[25]

In 2017, Okamoto was named as one of Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21.[26] Okamoto was awarded the L'Oréal Women of Worth award at the annual Glamour Women of the Year ceremony in November 2019.[27] In December 2019, Okamoto was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in law and policy.[28]

On January 29, 2020, Okamoto announced that she had stepped down from Period Inc. as Executive Director; at the time, she stated that she would continue working with the organization.[2]

References

  1. "This Harvard 'Period Girl' Wants to Help Lead the 'Menstrual Equity Movement'" (in en). NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/harvard-period-girl-nadya-okamoto-helps-lead-menstrual-equity-movement-n655451. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Nadya Okamoto on Instagram: "BIG NEWS, @periodmovement is bringing on a new Executive Director! We’ve grown so much, and we’re excited to keep going! ❤️ Yes, I’ll keep…"" (in en). https://www.instagram.com/p/B76pjmRHvtT/. 
  3. "The period industry is all about shame — this brand wants to change that" (in en). https://www.today.com/tmrw/august-new-period-brand-wants-eliminate-stigma-shame-t199796. 
  4. Cheslaw, Louis. "Gen Z Are Pressuring the Travel Industry in All the Right Ways" (in en-us). https://www.cntraveler.com/story/gen-z-are-pressuring-the-travel-industry-in-all-the-right-ways. 
  5. "Period Power" (in en). Kirkus Reviews. September 2, 2018. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/nadya-okamoto/period-power/. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 
  6. Johnson, Akilah (April 13, 2017). "19-year-old Harvard freshman runs for City Council - The Boston Globe". Boston Globe. https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2017/04/13/year-old-harvard-freshman-runs-for-city-council/9rtqcygRtK3t9MqIeuUxkM/story.html. Retrieved October 11, 2019. 
  7. "Harvard student pens manifesto on menstruation". Harvard Gazette. November 7, 2018. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/11/harvard-student-pens-manifesto-on-menstruation/. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 
  8. "Professor Sophia Tzeng and her colleagues at Innovation Law Lab receive international recognition for legal innovation.". University of Portland. December 5, 2017. https://sites.up.edu/psoba/sophia-tzeng-innovation-law-lab/. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 
  9. "Okamoto Studio Custom Ice New York" (in en-US). https://www.okamotostudionyc.com/shintaro. 
  10. "PERIOD talk with Nadya Okamoto — Assembly | Malala Fund" (in en-GB). https://assembly.malala.org/stories/period-talk-with-nadya. 
  11. "Nadya Okamoto | HuffPost" (in en). https://www.huffpost.com/author/nadya-teresa-229. 
  12. Manning, Jeff (2019-12-12). "Scathing report outlines decades of sexual abuse, inadequate response, at Catlin Gabel private school" (in en). The Oregonian. https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2019/12/scathing-report-outlines-decades-of-sexual-abuse-inadequate-response-at-catlin-gabel-private-school.html. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Manning, Jeff (2020-01-11). "Catlin Gabel’s dirty secret: Former students go public for first time about private school’s dark side" (in en). The Oregonian. https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2020/01/catlin-gabels-dirty-secret-former-schoolgirls-go-public-for-first-time-about-private-schools-dark-side.html. 
  14. Hammond, Betsy (May 4, 2016). "23 amazing Oregon students win full-ride Gates scholarships" (in en). The Oregonian. https://www.oregonlive.com/education/2016/05/21_oregon_students_win_full-ri.html. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 
  15. "December 2018 Connections" (in en-US). 2018-12-17. https://www.coca-colascholarsfoundation.org/blog/december-2018-connections/. 
  16. "Elks.org :: Most Valuable Student Competition". https://www.elks.org/scholars/scholarships/mvs.cfm. 
  17. "Nadya Okamoto on Instagram: "Healing 🌻 taking time to reflect on my mental health journey, and recommit to all the work that I still need to do. This has been a year of…"" (in en). https://www.instagram.com/p/CGLVdYoH5xq/. 
  18. "Harvard student pens manifesto on menstruation" (in en-US). 2018-11-07. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/11/harvard-student-pens-manifesto-on-menstruation/. 
  19. Srikanth, Anagha (2021-03-30). "Gen Z is taking their sex education into their own hands — and tackling period poverty in the process" (in en). https://thehill.com/changing-america/respect/equality/545627-gen-z-is-taking-their-sex-education-into-their-own-hands. 
  20. Wischhover, Cheryl (October 18, 2018). "How one woman is trying to end period stigma and the "tampon tax"" (in en). Vox. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/10/18/17994380/nadya-okamoto-period-power. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 
  21. Santilli, Mara (2020-05-28). "There's a Global Movement to End Period Poverty, and Young Women Are Leading the Way" (in en-US). https://www.popsugar.com/node/47498189. 
  22. O'Brien, Sara Ashley (2017-12-01). "First Period Con celebrates everyone who bleeds". https://money.cnn.com/2017/12/01/technology/period-con/index.html. 
  23. "Nadya Teresa Okamoto - Cambridge City Council Candidate 2017". http://vote.cambridgecivic.com/okamoto.htm. 
  24. "The Harvard Sophomore Aiming for City Council". 2017-10-13. https://harvardmagazine.com/2017/10/nadya-okamoto-city-council. 
  25. "Best YA Nonfiction of 2018" (in en). https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-lists/best-ya-nonfiction-of-2018/. 
  26. Bridge, Lizzie Arneson at. "Meet Teen Vogue's 21 Under 21 Class of 2017" (in en-us). https://www.teenvogue.com/story/21-under-21-2017. 
  27. Browchuk, Eliseé. "Tears of Triumph and Cheers for Change at the 2019 Glamour Women of the Year Awards" (in en-us). https://www.vogue.com/slideshow/2019-glamour-women-of-the-year-awards. 
  28. "Nadya Okamoto, 21" (in en). Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/pictures/5ddd7cb0ea103f0006537307/nadya-okamoto-21/#15c8021332ae. Retrieved June 30, 2020. 

External links