Interview with Zikora of GenZHER
Meet Zikora, the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of GenZHER, a digital publication by the youth for the youth. Zikora created GenZHER Magazine to channel the defiant voices of female youth everywhere. In our interview with her, she discusses the pivotal experience of being seen in the media, what she hopes for her vocal generation, the ever-evolving digital media landscape, and filling the gap with her organization.
1. Please introduce yourself
My name is Zikora Akanegbu and I am a 15-year-old from Maryland, USA - and the founder of GenZHER, a digital magazine dedicated to allowing Gen Z girls to dissect politics and social issues.
2. What is GenZHER Magazine?
GenZHER is a digital publication that strives to provide Gen Z girls a platform to share their story, work and voice on making the world a better place, so that they're amplified and prepared to lead change. Generation Z, best known as Gen Z, are those who were born after 1996. We make up 32% of the population. GenZHER sheds a spotlight on young females who are making a clear impact within their community and possibly the world. In addition, the platform Inspires young females to not let labels impact their measures of success while also encouraging them to be the change that they wish to see in the world. GenZHER centers Generation Z girls as content creators, but our teachings and content are available to everyone of any gender identity or expression or age.
3. What inspired you to start GenZHER Magazine and how did you start it?
As my freshman year progressed I increasingly found my passion for activism. I realized how powerful Gen Z is! I can’t even begin to tell you how amazed I am that there are so many students making such an incredible impact in our world. At the forefront of Gen Z change making and activism are the Gen Z girls. I thought it was time we share our voices for the greater good. After a few months, I finally got the website up and running for GenZHER in April 2020. I knew I was taking a big risk. I didn’t let my age, gender or even the stereotypes associated with my generation define who I was. I was frequently asked, “What makes GenZHER different from other online media platforms?” GenZHER is run and written from the fresh perspective that is Gen Z. Other teen magazines have adult writers and executives who try to appeal to their teenage audiences. I seek to ensure the girls of my generation are given a voice through the digital publication.
4. What have been some obstacles you’ve faced in founding GenZHER Magazine?
I would say when starting off, I had to learn how to network/ collaborate with other organizations and figure out how to delegate tasks within my team to stay organized. Still, I was able to figure it out — so if you’re looking to start an organization but aren’t sure if you know enough, don’t worry! Rely on your passion and dedication to a certain issue, and a learning experience will inevitably follow.
5. How did you get the word out about your org? How many participants/team members do you have?
I started GenZHER in 2020 as a fifteen-year-old with an Instagram page to spread the word. GenZHER was grown solely through social media in a really quick amount of time! Through social media, I formed a team of Gen Z girls across the world through an application process, gained a following base of amazing Gen Z girls interested in writing and empowering the girls of our generation, and collaborated with other youth-run organizations. The platform gained a lot of attraction in a span of two months because girls were interested in the opportunities we provided and the pieces we published. Today, GenZHER is proud to be an entirely youth-run team dedicated to empowering the next generation of girls. We are a powerful, experienced, innovative and diverse group of 65+ Gen Z girls from 18 states in the US and 8 countries.
6. Do you have any tips for any teens looking to start their own initiative?
People underestimate the power of just doing it. If there isn’t room for you in a space, there’s always room for you to create that space, bring your own chair. It is so important to have a positive mindset when starting an initiative. You’re definitely going to be faced with several hurdles, but it’s important to be able to grow from those experiences and actually learn from it! You need to be passionate and truly caring about what you do. There are spaces in local communities that offer mentorship and support. Remember it’s okay not to be perfect. Always refer back to why you started your initiative in the first place to keep going when you start to doubt yourself.
7. What are your goals for GenZHER Magazine?
My main goal is wider expansion and to reach more states and countries! This is why we have an amazing International Relations Coordinator on our team. In just three months of its establishment, GenZHER has reached 11+ countries! My initiative has taken the extra efforts to reach out to all the stratas of the society, especially girls in remote areas to empower them and those who have become adoptive to oppressive surroundings. My goal for GenZHER in 2020 is to translate the articles published on our website to languages other than English! We are starting with translating to Turkish and we will soon be recruiting Gen Z girls who can translate from English to their native language.