NAL-NayLilly is an online platform that is dedicated to creating networking opportunities for silenced voices in the media industry.

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  • Education

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


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Phone Number: 443-813-0103 Maryland: 5033 Ellis Lane, Ellicott City (21043)

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We are rolling out our social media in late October!

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

While diversity is something the entertainment world is slowly trying to address, much work still needs to be done to highlight voices that are often silenced in the industry. In the past year, I have had numerous directors/producers/managers tell me they often do not know where to find diverse talent to occupy necessary roles in Hollywood. With NAL/Nay Lilly, this problem will be addressed.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We are planning to create a platform in which users can create a profile, self-identify on that profile, designate geographic location, upload 3-5 samples of their work, and indicate what type of work they are interested. As a result, users will then be able to use a boolean search based on profession, amount of experience, and location to find creatives they may be interested in connecting with. In our basic plan, up to 20 profiles can be accessed/messaged per month. With our premium plan ($15/month) there are no restrictions.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

The idea was birthed from a year devoted to entertainment internships in New York and LA. In each environment, the lack of knowledge pertaining to where to find diverse talent was echoed. I held a total of four different internships in music, marketing, television, and advertisements. I could not understand why diverse talent and community was so hard to come across. As a result, NAL-NayLilly was birthed to create community and cross functional networking between marginalized groups. There are niche communities doing this work, but not one space for all of these communities to unite. We have since been inspired by the inclusion rider initiative and have spoken with April Reign, Kalpana Kotagal, Fanshen Cox, Dr. Stacy Smith, Regina Miller, and a host of other individuals who have been doing work in these networks. We have gained plenty of advice and a few advisors to continue to help us .

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Hypothetical: Stacy is a creative from Kentucky who identifies as a woman who is Black and Queer. She is looking to connect with other Black creatives in the Kentucky area to develop a sense of community and individuals she feels understand her. Stacy hears about NAL-NayLilly, and decides to create an account. Roy is also a creative from Kentucky. Roy identifies as a transgender Black man who struggles with depression and anxiety. He has been searching for months in his area to unite with creatives he can identify with. He decides to create an account on NAL-NayLilly. Through a boolean search, Roy comes across Stacy. He notices she lives about 10 miles from his city. He sends her one of his 20 allocated messages in the NAL-NayLilly basic account. Stacy receives a message from Roy. Shocked to find another queer Black creative near her, Stacy jumps on the opportunity to meet.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

While there are other efficient professional platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed, NAL caters to a unique, and more importantly, diverse community of artists, creatives, and entertainers. We are aware that there is a space and need for NAL, so we’re choosing to empower those communities by tailoring a platform to their specific needs. NAL is the only platform within the entertainment industry that solely focuses on building bridges between marginalized creators and opportunities in the entertainment industry. Now more than ever we recognize a need for intentional representation.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

We plan to note how we are making a difference through the use of numbers to determine how many people are on the platform. We will also know the work is helpful, depending on how many people see a need to access premium to connect and meet more people. Finally, based on social media engagement with the niche communities mentioned earlier, we would like to have users share testimonials concerning people they have met or projects they have started to develop as a result of connecting with other creatives. Finally, depending on engagement and ensuing usage by job recruiters, we will know how users have been connected to the varying industries we seek to infiltrate.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We are currently in the phase of creating our partner one-pager to send to our contacts at Netflix and Cirkle (an intergenerational networking platform). We also have a host of investors who would like to see our interactive map, so we will be rolling out that material over the course of the next two weeks. Our SWE team and UIUX designer started the actual product two weeks ago and we are looking to launch mid-November/early December. We have created a list of people we would like to partner with and present our agreement to (i.e. Refinery29, TeenVogue, Google, Sephora, Audible, Squarespace, etc.) Finally, in the spring we are looking to secure office space and housing in LA to work full-time after school.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Accounting & Finance

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian) (7)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Nadya Okamoto

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Project Imagine

This is so ambitious but seems like you have a solid vision, team and opportunities ahead. Especially that you have connections to such huge platforms like Netflix and TeenVogue. We never thought of this as being social change but it is so important and a very creative and great idea!

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