Featured Guest

The 100 Years Project: Emily Verellen

David Sedaris


Emily Verellen


30 years old

Where are you from:

Federal Way, Washington (it's a suburb of Seattle)

Where do you live:

The Upper Eastside of Manhattan

What do you do for a living:

I work at the Fledgling Fund which is a privately endowed foundation that supports social change through creative media, primarily documentary films.


For the last few years I have been fortunate enough to have interviewed some very interesting and incredible people who I have regularly showcased in the Inspiring People section of Dana Delivered. One of my favorite moments of each interview is the last question that I ask each and every Inspiring Person:

100 years from now what do you want to be remembered for?

Often the initial reaction to the question is as fascinating as the answer. To observe each person grapple with issues related to mortality, productivity, the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life as they endeavor to arrive at an answer that somehow reflects something of who they are and what they stand for, has piqued my curiosity to discover what anyone, anywhere might have to say when asked that very question:

100 years from now what do you want to be remembered for?

Join me everyday for the next 365 days as I ask the question, get an answer and capture the images of all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. Visit Dana's Dailies on DanaRoc.com everyday, "friend request" me on Facebook or follow me, @Danaroc on Twitter.

How will you be remembered someday? What is it that you will have said or done or built or mastered that people will still be talking about decades and decades from now, long after you are gone and what if anything are you doing about that right now?

The 100 Years Project is ultimately an attempt in 3 phases to leave a record behind of this particular and unique period of time at the beginning of the 21st century.

Welcome to Phase 1...

100 Years from now what do you want to be remembered for:

The five things that came to mind are a little bit of a blend of personal and professional, those things that I define myself as...

First, I want to be remembered for being really genuinely passionate about finding ways to improve the lives of others. I want to be remembered for doing work that was not just something that I did because perhaps I was good at it or something to pay the bills but that I did something that I really loved being a part of.

I love finding creative ways to make someone's 24 hours a little brighter. I really truly believe that every person can make a difference in someone else's life. That is my passion and I have chased after that with my whole heart.

Second, I want to be remembered for loving with complete honestly and selflessness and that I took the responsibility and the privilege of loving very seriously.

Thirdly, I want to be remembered for the obstacles that I face; that I didn't let the obstacles drag me down but instead that I used every obstacle as a step up and a way to make myself stronger and those around me stronger. I want to be remembered that I was very honest about my obstacle and that I didn't hide them and that I spoke up and found community with people that had the same challenges I had and that we connected and became collectively stronger.

Fourth, I want to be remembered for not taking anything for granted. I understand completely how lucky I have been in being born where I was born, when I was born and to whom I was born. And, that I understood my privilege and what kind of responsibilities came with that privilege.

Lastly, the older I get, the more responsibility I feel for mentoring the next generation and taking the lessons that I have learned and passing them on. I want to support young women in really discovering what they are passionate about. I am so glad that my parents gave me the kind of push and independence to find that out on my own and I want to be remembered for having spent time giving this concept back to young women:

Find out what you are passionate about and use that in some way to make the lives of others better.

Is your life right now a demonstration of what you want to be remembered for:

I think that everyday I live these things.

It clicked for me when I was 19 years old and started traveling and feeling like I could connect with women all over the world for different reasons; for things that I have dealt with in my childhood that I think are universal to women.

At the Fledgling Fund I feel slightly removed because I am not in the trenches but the work feels really important because it is part of building movements. The people who are in the trenches and working day to day need a group of people that they know are supporting them. I am doing that. I am helping to build those movements with the films and with the creative media that we support.

I also spend a lot of time outside of work writing and working with my organization in Kenya. All of these things define who I am everyday. I wouldn't change a single thing about it. I hope that I am lucky enough that this can continue...I wake up every single morning for the last 10 years loving the work that I am doing! I have found the intersection of profession and passion...

Identify one thing that, for you, represents the time that we are living in right now:

The thing that instantly pops to mind is the inter-connectedness of us all. Maybe it's because of the popularity of the movie The Social Network but the thing that immediately comes to mind is Facebook.

I can talk to the young woman in the slums of East Africa, right here from this Internet café right now and I couldn't do that a decade ago. Social networking and the Internet is something that is defining my generation. Nothing feels far away anymore. Nothing feels out of reach.

Fill in the blank - In 100 Years I hope that:

In 100 years I hope that life is better than it is now - less disease, less war...

I hope that the trajectory is up in 100 years and that my children and my grandchildren have even more choices and opportunities than I had. I just hope that we don't go backward but I think that's a real possibility...

We've got the ideas. We've got the manpower. We've got the ability. I just hope that in 100 years we are making the decisions that will lead to a better life for tomorrow's children.

Head back to the top.