Text Message Service Sends Support With Daily Affirmations

Naomi Hirabayashi, Shine Text
Presented byPresented by Kia
Mar 7, 2016· 2 MIN READ
Tosten Burks is a contributor for Passion of the Weiss. He has written for The Fader, GOOD, Grantland, and VICE.

This profile is part of TakePart’s “Re-Visionaries” series, in which we highlight people who are shaking things up—and making a difference—in their field and community.

As the chief marketing officer for DoSomething.org, Naomi Hirabayashi spent the last five years helping millions of young people take social change into their own hands. Her latest project, Shine Text, cofounded by DoSomething.org Director of Mobile Product & Messaging Marah Lidey, aims to offer help to its participants directly. The text message service is designed to send daily affirmations and messages of support to marginalized workers (including women and minorities, to name a couple). To see for yourself, text "SHINE" to 30644.

TakePart: What inspired you to tackle confidence and insecurity in the workplace?

Naomi Hirabayashi: I found that when it comes to feelings of imposter syndrome, insecurity, or doubt, it can be really hard to talk about unless you have that friend you can process with, the person you call and celebrate a promotion with, the same person you would call if you feel like you bombed a meeting. That's how I've been inspired, from conversations with those friends in my life.

TakePart: Why texting?

Hirabayashi: Right now there is limited support in terms of a scalable product. You either do high-priced career coaching at $250 per hour, or you go online and find general content. Text is really exciting to us because one, it's really user-friendly—it feels like a friend if you get the tone right. And two, my background combined with my cofounder's background, Marah Lidey: For the last four years, we really doubled down on SMS at scale for DoSomething.org. There's something really powerful about the intimate medium of text to reach people.

TakePart: What influenced Shine's specific approach to affirmation?

Hirabayashi: We looked at resources about implementing cognitive behavioral therapy and learning from positive psychology, the idea of "living intentionally." Setting affirmations in your day and gratitude journaling are some of the big themes we wanted to bring to the Shine product via text.

(Photo: Marc Fusco)

TakePart: How do you hope to see Shine develop?

Hirabayashi: This year we're trying to sign up as many people as possible. We have a focus on women and minorities, people who are dealing with more specific issues in the workplace, but we're for everyone. Thirty percent of our list is male. Everyone needs these forms of support.

TakePart: What does being a Re-Visionary mean to you?

Hirabayashi: Re-Visionary is the new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation. There are people with amazing ideas who want to iterate on existing technology and ideas but haven't felt empowered because they didn't really see entrepreneurs that looked like them, or they had more fear because they don't have the luxury of going a month without salary. Looking forward with the millennial generation, I see more diversified entrepreneurs, I see more democracy in terms of where those ideas are coming from, and I see a big focus on social impact and social enterprise, solutions to problems that we're facing every day or in society at large.