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Payton McGriff, 2020 Women of the Year

Founder and Executive Director

Style Her Empowered (SHE)

 

Payton McGriff, 2020 Women of the Year honoree.

While reading the book, “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide,” for an entrepreneurship class at the University of Idaho in 2017, Payton McGriff realized she could create change in the community.

Her idea would grow into Style Her Empowered (SHE), a nonprofit that creates education and employment opportunities for underrepresented women around the world.

“What I came to learn through this book was not only the oppression that women face worldwide but that something can be done about it,” said McGriff. “So I started SHE because I thought I could do something important.”

As a result of the class, McGriff talked with professors about the barriers girls face in trying to receive an education. Soon, she found a professor who believed in her initiative and thought it would be perfect for his hometown: Togo, Africa.

The professor, Romuald Afatchao, agreed to help her under one condition: she would have to visit Togo.

And that’s just what she did.

“I spent as much time with the girls in junior high and high school trying to learn about their barriers to education. And it turns out that the school uniform was even more of a barrier than I thought it would be,” said McGriff. “So that kind of gave me the inspiration and the green light to try to start something with this energy.”

Over the years, SHE has evolved into a holistic program that now fosters and sponsors 180 girls in Togo.

“We try to position ourselves as a program that helps girls and women determine their future, whatever that looks like for them,” said McGriff. “We want to provide the resources, opportunities and networks to help make that happen.”

Although it was McGriff’s idea that started the project, she has had support both locally and around the world. McGriff’s husband, Dylan Raymond, has seen that growth firsthand.

Click on the cover to view the digital edition of the 2020 Women of the Year publication.

“To be able to start from this one idea and be able to refine it over time as the missing pieces to the mission come into view is amazing,” said Raymond. “She has really dialed in the mission of SHE and has a clear goal of what she wants to do in the next five to 10 years.”

In addition to founding SHE, McGriff co-founded the networking group Boise Women Who Get Sh*t Done to help women overcome hurdles they face when starting new projects. It has evolved into a forum for women from all walks of life.

“Leadership can be something that is really lonely and that is something I have discovered throughout this process with SHE,” said McGriff, “so having a network like Boise Women Who Get Sh*t Done or whomever you surround yourself with is completely transformative.”

About Taylor Rico-Pekerol