A locally based women’s mastermind group is branching out to make a difference by connecting with other women and networking to champion gender-, racial-equity, and other social causes.
Known as Legacy13, the group was formed in 2016 and meets twice monthly. The first meeting involves the group giving presentations on timely topics to learn more about them and/or take action. Those topic discussions sometimes prove so informative they’re turned into informational community workshops. The second monthly group meeting sets and shares goals.
Legacy13 was begun by a small core group, which recently opted to add a second sister group with three members. The group’s core now includes Pacific Beach dentist Janelle Bacino.
“Cindy and I decided to start this group in 2016 after a women’s empowerment march,” said Andrea Esajian of her friend and co-member Cindy Phillips.
After that, the pair, whose husbands are business partners, reached out to other women they knew who were community leaders and doers.
“We didn’t want it to be just friends of ours,” said Phillips. “We wanted to reach outside of our comfort zones and outside of our close circle of friends. We wanted to find other women in our community who wanted to be impactful and positive.”
Phillips noted that giving back is one of Legacy’s “strongest core values,” adding “we often partner with the nonprofit my husband and I started called Equal Footing Foundation, equalfootingfoundation.org. EFF is a nonprofit created by members with a shared passion for sports, health, and wellness which strives to help underprivileged children lead more active and healthy lives.
“From there we started a group of six women to meet monthly and set goals and support one another and really join forces to make an impact in our community and really uplift one another,” said Esajian.
“We would like to expand, not just for the sake of expanding, but to make sure we stick to our core values and provide members with the opportunity to have a big impact,” said Phillips. “We hold fundraisers and events that give back to the community. We’re looking to start adding some sister groups and try to make ourselves even more impactful in the community.”
“Legacy13 has been such a positive experience,” agreed Esajian. “It’s been important for us to give this support system to many other women.”
Charitable and fundraising events that have been held by Legacy 13 include a blanket and book drive for Rady’s Children’s Hospital, fundraisers for local women-owned businesses, school supply drives, donations to the Monarch School for the Homeless, and donations to Tiffany’s Place and Generation Hope benefiting sex trafficking victims of all ages.
Workshops presented by Legacy13 have covered a plethora of subjects including feminism, domestic violence, bullying, sex trafficking, internet intelligence, financial literacy, and LGBTQ issues.
“Our first workshop we had talked about feminine leadership and modern-day gender bias,” noted Phillips. “We were so moved by another presentation that we did our own fundraiser and raised $10,000 that was donated to San Diego’s first home for minor victims of sex trafficking.”
“We had a big fundraiser with pop-up vendors where we invited local women-owned businesses, and we invited women and men from the community to shop and learn about them,” said Esajian. “We have a silent auction, sell raffle tickets, and we raise money for that cause each year.”
Legacy does not currently have a website but does have a Facebook page and Instagram account @legacy13.womenrising.