Business & Entrepreneurship

Cynthia Hornig ’91

A Woman You Should Know

Portrait of Cythia Hornig

Rachel Schultz

Ten years after Cynthia Hornig ’91 and her friend Jen Jones left their jobs in 2001 to start a public-relations agency in New York City, they launched a website to fill a critical need. Women You Should Know features a collection of untold and inspirational stories about the impact women have on their communities and the world.

With a nod to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the pair shared the stories of seven female first responders during the terror attacks. In less than a day, Huffington Post republished them, and the site was off and running as a pioneer in digital empowerment. Today, you’ll find features on feminism, entertainment, and women in science, technology, engineering, and math; trailblazers in photography and finance; a look at concussion dangers in women’s ice hockey; and a profile of an 11-year-old who is collecting 1,000 books about black girls.

Along the way, Hornig and Jones heard from women who were raising money for new businesses, charitable causes, and artistic projects. Recognizing another way to support the important work that women do, they designed the crowdfunding platform Women You Should Fund and offered hands-on public relations and marketing feedback for every campaign.

Women You Should Fund launched in March 2017 with a bid to raise funds for the nonprofit Harriet Tubman Home historical site in Auburn, New York. The campaign exceeded its $25,000 goal in less than three weeks. The platform has since supported 12 additional campaigns, including an illustrated series about women in science and a cheese-storage-and-preservation device (sure to appeal to Hornig’s fellow Badgers). United Women Firefighters raised nearly $20,000 on the site to fight gender disparities at the New York City Fire Department.

Hornig and Jones have also launched a product called (em)Power Laces — a collection of shoelaces featuring words such as fearless and warrior — to support their women’s advocacy initiatives. And Women You Should Fund has been featured on, Upworthy, and other media outlets.

Filmmaker Leah Warshawski turned to Hornig and Jones to raise money to market and distribute her feature documentary Big Sonia, about her grandmother — a business owner and Holocaust survivor.

“Cynthia and Jen are two of the hardest-working women I know,” Warshawski says. “We talked almost every day. We felt like a team.”

Thanks to more than 600 donors, the film crew beat its goal and raised just under $80,000. “The campaign was a success, but more importantly, [Hornig and Jones are] like family now,” Warshawski adds. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

Published in the Summer 2018 issue


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