Maya Penn is a Gen Z environmental justice activist, filmmaker and the founder of a sustainable fashion company. She is a three-time TED speaker.

Why you should listen

At just eight years old, Maya Penn began acting on her climate concerns by founding her own sustainable fashion brand, Maya’s Ideas, using recycled and vintage materials. Now 23 and CEO of her business, the entrepreneur and activist is focused on raising awareness of the connection between environmental and racial justice. Through her nonprofit Maya's Ideas 4 the Planet, she has launched humanitarian and environmental justice initiatives for women and girls in the US, Haiti, Senegal, Somalia and Cameroon.

An avid animator and director, Penn is creating jobs for artists through her production company, Upenndo! Productions, and directed her own environmental action-adventure short film, ASALI: Power of the Pollinators. She received a commendation from President Barack Obama for outstanding achievement in environmental stewardship and the Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award (Advancing Nonviolence Through Generations of Exceptional Leadership) from the King Center. She was selected by Oprah Winfrey as a SuperSoul100 change maker.

Maya Penn’s TED talk

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