GET LOUD Gets Even LOUDER on The Drew Barrymore Show!

By Cara Politi
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What an incredible experience: announcing our March Elevate Prize GET LOUD Award winner on stage at The Drew Barrymore Show

The only thing even more exciting? Keeping the whole thing a secret from the winner.

Here’s how it all went down:

As we do every month, we put out a  call for nominations on the Elevate Prize Foundation’s Instagram asking our community  to nominate community-led organizations empowering women and girls — and while we were blown away by the organizations we learned about, we were especially impressed by the intersectional work of Stephanie Woodward’s organization Disability EmpowHer Network, which champions women and girls with disabilities to live life to the fullest. 

We told Stephanie that she was a GET LOUD Award finalist, and invited her to join our very own CEO, Carolina Garcia Jayaram at the taping for The Drew Barrymore Show in New York City to talk about her organization. Team Drew was in on the secret and kept her in a dressing room with a conveniently “broken” TV so she couldn’t watch the show in progress.

On stage, Carolina, Drew, and co-host Ross Matthews discussed Carolina’s personal journey and Elevate’s mission to Make Good Famous – a mission exemplified by 2024 Elevate Prize winner Daniel Forkkio from Represent Justice, who spoke from the audience about the impact the Elevate Prize has made for his organization. They then let the audience in on our GET LOUD secret…

Finally, it was time for Stephanie to come to the stage. She talked about her journey — how her dad marched into school to powerfully advocate for her right to accessible classrooms, and how his example led her to become a lawyer, an activist, and to the creation  of Disability EmpowHer Network. At last, Drew said she “couldn’t hold it in any more” and announced that Stephanie wasn’t just a finalist, but the winner of the Elevate Prize GET LOUD Award, and would receive $25,000 to help her make even more impact. 

A delighted – and shocked – Stephanie was given a much-deserved standing ovation by the studio audience. 

Drew called her “a living example of awesome,” and we couldn’t agree more. 

Watch the segment here.  

Our Takeaways

  1. Seeing progress in action changes us.
    When Stephanie’s dad advocated for her rights, he taught her to never accept less, and set her on a journey towards becoming an activist herself. As Drew pointed out, role models matter, whether they’re parents, teachers, or mentors – and we can all be that model for someone else.
  2. Proximate leadership is vitally important.
    Stephanie noted that because Disability EmpowHer Network is run by and for women and girls with disabilities, they know exactly how to help people with disabilities – exemplified by how they were able to help those impacted by Hurricane Maria
  3. Yes, Drew Barrymore is exactly as great as she seems on TV. 
    The whole team was incredibly supportive of our mission and worked with huge ingenuity to keep Stephanie’s winning announcement a secret. Drew herself shared vulnerable moments with Carolina and Stephanie, as well as with Daniel in the audience.  THANK YOU!
  4. Keeping surprises is hard – but it’s worth it!