Janelle Bechdol is an artivist and social entrepreneur from New York. She is a founding partner and current president of the Hall Pass Tour, which leverages cultural influencers as a means to reach adolescents and help them find their jam. Despite having eight siblings, Janelle is the only biracial member of her family. Her biracial identity has molded her into a cultural broker, and drives her work of building a better world for the vulnerable.
The world should be a place where all young people can live their dreams fearlessly. Through an integrated professional life, Janelle leads with this philosophy in a variety of settings including work with nonprofits, social enterprises, educational institutions and for-profit companies.
Janelle helps people find their jam in three ways:
- directly with youth
- with organizations + leaders
- through artivism
Adolescents are a reflection of our past, a megaphone of our current state, and the crystal ball of our collective future. Society is only as strong as the members of its most vulnerable populations. My primary concern is the kind of world we're building for them. I help youth find their jam on an individual level through identity affirmation and building self-advocacy skills for college and career ownership.
Who is influencing the influencers? I work with purpose-led orgs and leaders who are shaping our future by taking on roles in diversity/inclusion/equity, talent development and community engagement/corporate responsibility. When members feel a culture of belonging, they bring their holistic identity to the mission of the organization, and that's where real change happens.
What's the glue that holds this altogether? Culture. The voices in your head at night, the headlines, Tweetable moments -- and for me, most specifically, the music and art that are driving the times. Systems can only change when the culture demands it. I am an artivist. I use music to do resistance work, adding to the culture that provides the soundtrack to our 21st century experience.