Nancy Lublin: Social Entrepreneur Extraordinaire

"Nancy Lublin" by Joi Ito, on Flickr

“Nancy Lublin” by Joi Ito, on Flickr














Nancy Lublin is a social change powerhouse who has impacted the lives of women and teenagers across the country. In 1995, she founded “Dress For Success” which is an organization that provides professional clothing to low-income women who are struggling to gain employment. In 2003, she took the reins of the failing “Do Something” and turned it into a social change juggernaut that boasts a membership of more than 30 million teenagers.

As a result of’s text campaigns, Lublin created a text line for teenagers who are in crisis. In less than a decade, Nancy Lublin has built three revolutionary organizations that are making a tremendous difference in the lives of people worldwide. Nancy Lublin has what every entrepreneur needs to succeed: a desire to build something larger than themselves.


Dress For Success


“businesswoman walking” by Herlitz_pbs, on Flickr


In 1995, Nancy Lublin was studying to become an attorney. Then, she received an inheritance of $5,000. It was at this moment that she realized what she wanted to do with her life.

Using her inheritance, she founded Dress for Success. It’s an organization that empowers low-income women to attain employment by giving them professional outfits. Along with clothing, they also offer encouragement and emotional support for women who desire to better their lives.

Through support groups, speakers, and meetings, women are being inspired to better themselves and move forward. Now, the organization is doing the same for women all over the world.


When Nancdosomethinglogoy Lublin took over as CEO of Do Something in 2003, it was in dire straits. They had closed 14 of their 20 offices and were on the way to bankruptcy. Then, Lublin came in to save the day. Through her leadership, Lublin was able to save the organization from failure.

Do Something is an organization that unites teenagers in an effort to affect social change. These teenagers are empowered to make a positive difference in their communities. Through their campaigns, they have already made an incredible difference.


Some of their activities include:

  • Gathering clothing for the homeless.
  • Campaigns against texting while driving.
  • Recycling
  • Anti-bullying campaigns
  • Cancer research

Nancy Lublin was able to turn an ailing non-profit into a wildly successful enterprise.


Crisis Text Line


“Highways Agency” by 09_2013_47, on Flickr


In a TED talk Lublin gave in 2012, she discusses a surprising result of Do Something’s text message campaigns. When they texted teenagers about the organization, the teenagers responded back.


The teenagers sent messages telling about their struggles, and the various crises they dealt with. These messages inspired her to form another organization; one that could become a resource for teenagers in crisis. An organization that makes it easier for hurting teenagers to get help and support.


However, the Crisis Text line also serves another purpose: to prevent a lot of the issues that Do Something fights against. It will use the text messages teenagers send to collect data on bullying, violence, etc. In this way, they can communicate with schools and law enforcement to help stop these things from happening.


The story of Nancy Lublin shows that a true desire to make an impact can drive any entrepreneur to succeed. It is something that transcends making money and becoming rich; it’s a desire to make people’s lives better.


This desire keeps you going when it makes more sense to give up. It fuels you when you’re too tired to continue. It makes you work even when you don’t feel like it. Whether it’s a non-profit, or for-profit organization, you must have a larger-than-life view of your business. If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, start thinking about how your organization will improve the lives of the people it touches.



Keep moving forward.

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