Amanda Bernardo: The Influencer

“I cried at my event and it was really emotional. I’m not shy, I’ve done public speaking my entire life but when you talk about something that’s very personal and very raw it’s a different type of public speaking.”


 
At the end of college, Amanda Bernardo felt a slump not uncommon for recent grads.
 
She had gone through a couple of jobs (nothing related to what she saw herself pursuing a career in) and was deeply discouraged and worried the time and effort she had spent furthering her love of writing in an English Lit degree had been a total waste of resources.
 
She sat down at her desk and started processing her frustrations the only way she knew how – she wrote.
 
Line by line, Amanda composed a poem that would serve as a reminder to herself to listen to her little voice inside of her heart, the one telling her to keep going, never give up and to always chase her dreams.
 
Many of us are familiar with this little voice, Erin even talked about her own moment where she listened to that subtle nudge but deeply meaningful call to action to make a film about female entrepreneurs.
 
To encourage other women and girls to pursue their passions, Amanda published her poem as a children’s book, appropriately called the Little Voice, and launched her social enterprise under the same name, which seeks to create awareness for causes and initiatives through the power of literature and illustration.
 
When she heard about Dream, Girl, Amanda knew she wanted to bring the film to Ottawa and give back to the community through a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s research. Her event was one of the very first Dream, Girl screenings ever. Our team was sending her a digital version of the film (we didn’t even have DVDs at that point) as we were planning our own premiere in New York.
 
But something unexpected happened when she was sharing her story with attendees.
 
“I cried at my event and it was really emotional.” Amanda said. “I’m not shy, I’ve done public speaking my entire life but when you talk about something that’s very personal and very raw it’s a different type of public speaking.”
 
In front of her sold-out crowd of 140 people, Amanda shared the story of her grandmother who battled Alzheimer’s disease and talked about her experience with anxiety. The room was filled with women of all ages, mothers, daughters, grandmothers and children.
 
“I think that Dream, Girl is kind of a timeless type of thing,” Amanda said. “To see that a young girl and an older woman and a well-established business person can all feel something from that film, like, that was one of the biggest reactions.”
 
The screening raised $2000 for Alzheimer’s research, which Amanda describes as the “cherry on top” of a day of inspiration and meaningful connections.
 
Amanda continues to listen to her little voice and is publishing a second children’s book called The Lighthouse focused on mental health.
 
Before the film was even finished, Amanda was knocking at our door and telling us about the partners, venues and plans she had for her screening. Her unwavering belief in Dream, Girl from the very beginning gave us the confidence to listen to our own little voice telling us that this film was not only important to make, but had the potential to inspire women globally.
 
We can’t wait to see where Amanda’s little voice takes her next.

 

Check out the photos from Amanda’s screening in Ottawa, Canada!

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