Kim Plewes has been a leading voice in the WE movement for nearly two decades. From the steps of Parliament to Kenyan hillsides shaded by acacia trees, she’s spent her remarkable career working alongside, learning from and mentoring incredible change-makers who are charting a path for the next generation.
In 2015, she continued her already meteoric rise within WE Charity by stepping into the role of International Campaign Co-Director. She led the strategy and execution of WE’s most significant fundraising initiative to date, and the first major gifts campaign in honor of the organization’s 20th anniversary. Today she acts as Senior Advisor, working closely alongside WE’s co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger, to drive growth, engage families, oversee essential programming and empower youth and organizations to truly make doing good, doable. She has shared extraordinary stories from this work around the world, most recently on the WE Day stage where she delivered her inspiring message of empowerment alongside world leaders and some of the greatest entertainers of our time.
Kim’s unique perspective comes from not only her personal experience, but also her impressive academic background. She is a Presidential Scholar from American University in Washington, D.C., and completed her degree at Oxford University with a focus on International Development in Africa. Her personal journey as an advocate began, much like Craig Kielburger’s, at the age of 12, when she first learned about the issues facing women and girls in developing countries. While still a child herself, Kim lobbied the Canadian government to tighten import laws, ensuring products made by children wouldn’t enter the Canadian market.
During high school, Kim continued making an impact through unique volunteer work. She spent a week in silence, not uttering a single word, in order to raise awareness about the value of women’s voices and contributions, which so often go unheard. She organized the first now-annual WE Scare Hunger campaign for the entire Halton District School Board, collecting thousands of pounds of food donations. Kim has invested hundreds of hours listening to and learning from women and girls around the world—hearing their stories while standing in the shadows of towering garbage dumps in Jamaica, or on cool dirt floors in rural India.
At 18, Kim saw an opportunity to fully apply her passion, and began working full-time with WE (formerly Free The Children), then a budding youth-led organization. Since then, WE has grown to become a unique and world-respected platform at home and abroad, buoyed by Kim’s experience and insight every step of the way.
Today, WE has built over 1,000 schools around the world, empowering 200,000 children with an education. The award-winning international organization uses a holistic and sustainable development model to help lift over 1 million people from poverty. WE has empowered 30,000 women with financial independence and actively engages more than 3.8 million youth around the world in service.
Throughout this expansion, Kim was instrumental in creating and leading many of the organization’s most vital initiatives. She established WE’s first U.S.-based regional office in California, building a foundation that has allowed hundreds of thousands of youth to give back to their communities. She also helped launch the pivotal O Ambassadors program, created in partnership with Oprah’s Angel Network.
Kim passionately believes that all people—regardless of age, gender or circumstances—can make a difference in the world. Kim herself, a lifelong champion and advocate of women’s empowerment, is an inspiring example of this.