We got to learn a bit about Cassie Bingham, a local Braider who hopes to make big change in the world. To read about the "why" behind Cassie's story, keep scrolling below!
How would you describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Explorer and advocator of truth, value, and beauty.
Tell us about what you are hoping to build.
My goal is to build a means by which others are exposed to culture, various worldviews, and diversity in a way that creates bridges of knowledge and respect between groups of people. I have brainstormed long and hard about the best way to go about this, based on the talents and passions I possess that could possibly fuel an effective project or product. So far, I hope to build a travel experience that emphasizes sustainable and ethical tourism practices and authentic cultural learning, while avoiding the pitfalls of ethnocentrism and patronizing attitudes that often trail American and European tourists who visit developing countries. I also hope to collaborate in building some form of media platform that encourages social activism and minority empowerment, whether that be a blog, magazine, or documentary style video series.
What inspired you to start?
My inspiration has largely been my experiences traveling domestically and abroad. My childhood consisted of moving every two years, due to my dad being in the military, and a lot of road trips in between. As I grew older my constant movement transitioned to international trips as well. I have been to 12 different countries, and lived anywhere from 2-18 months at a time in 5 of those. My travels, especially my longer-term stays, have allowed me to meet a huge spectrum of people, observe a vast variance of lifestyles, and become exposed to endless belief systems and perspectives. Many people who have spent significant time abroad know that travel has an inverse effect, in that the more you get to know, the less you seem to “know.” Having my assumptions challenged, my biases exposed, and my ignorance revealed through travel has inspired me to look for ways to help provide such experiences for others, and bring humans closer as a result.
If you have a mission, goal, or vision, what would it be?
My mission is to foster the desire in myself and others to be fierce advocates for valuing diversity, approaching cultural differences with humility and openness, and eschewing apathy to fight for the voice and causes of those different from ourselves.
Who is your target audience?
My target audiences are probably fellow millennials, and the rising generation. We have been incredibly fortunate to inherit a lot of educational opportunity and material wealth, which has allowed us the absolute privilege of being able to focus on social issues in our own communities, and the external world. I am excited about the ways in which we care, how we explore, and how we get involved. I hope the products I develop will add to the solutions my generation, and the one after ours, are already trying to create.
What’s the biggest challenge and biggest success that you’ve experienced so far?
My biggest challenges have by far been self-doubt and complacency. Especially with social media, it is so easy to fall into the trap of viewing others, comparing, and feeling I am not capable. It is equally easy to see the incredible standards being set by my role models, start feeling intimidated by the hard work it will take to meet or surpass those standards, and want to just remain in my comfort zone.
My biggest successes have been when I become innovative, industrious, and self-sacrificing to put in enough effort to add value to others’ lives through my leadership or something of my creation. I have seen this the last two summers as I trained humanitarian teams on principles of cultural relativity and sustainable development, and led them through challenging projects in rural Uganda and a refugee camp in Greece.
What do you hope to learn and who do you hope to meet at Braid ?
I hope to learn the technical details and logistics of developing a product and starting a business. Already I have gained vital information about strategic planning and legal practices from my Braid Workshop attendance.
I hope to meet equally passionate, intelligent, and assertive women who can become my mentors, collaborators, and friends.