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Charity Meets: Maimah Karmo, Founder Of Tigerlily Foundation

Washington DC

Charity Meets: Maimah Karmo, Founder Of Tigerlily Foundation

Maimah with her daughter, Noelle and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Photo Credit: May Joren Photography)

Maimah with her daughter, Noelle and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Photo Credit: May Joren Photography)

In addition to creating and growing her non-profit, Tigerlily Foundation, Maimah is also a breast cancer survivor, educator, advocate, and philanthropic partner and mentor in Washington, D.C. Don’t miss her 6th Annual Empower Ball at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA on November 8, 2014.
Occupation: Founder & President of Tigerlily Foundation
Website: www.tigerlilyfoundation.org
Twitter Handle: @tigerlilycares and @maimah
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tigerlilyfoundation
What are three words that best describe you? Passionate, ambitious, and fearless.
 Describe your business:
Our goal at Tigerlily is to educate, advocate for, empower and provide hands-on services and support to young women (15-40), before, during and after breast cancer.
We provide programs to young women of diverse backgrounds, including those at heightened risk and those with less access to care, and help improve the quality of life for young adult breast cancer survivors by creating vigilant self-advocates. Our aim is to end isolation among young adult breast cancer survivors, and to promote ferociously fearless females.
What is your role, where are you based and what inspires you most about your work?
Founder and President of Tigerlily Foundation. We are based in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. I love being in service to others and supporting others in achieving their goals, empowering women and making the world a better place. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “what affects one affects all. I cannot be who I ought to be if you are not who you out to be.” This is of of my personal mottos. Most of all, I enjoy seeing others find the “Personal Legend”.
Was there anything in your past that pointed you in the direction you’ve taken?
Yes, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32. This was a turning point, where I realized I wanted to dedicate myself to helping other women to heal, grow, learn, and have support.
What experience in your career are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the young women Tigerlily Foundation supports, who get through treatment, then reach back to inspire and pull someone else out of the “trenches”.  I love to watch others transform and reach outside of themselves, and their old comfort zones to shift and inspire others. If I can inspire change in someone, that excites me.
What advice would you share with those still in school?
I would offer the advice that you should surround yourself with others like you, be passionate, be driven, and follow your dreams….and always have faith, always follow your heart and always believe.

Key To The Cure with Maurisa Turner Potts, Maimah Karmo, Michelle Gloden Schoenfeld and Allison Priebe Brooks (Photo Credit: Kipp Burgoyne)

Key To The Cure with Maurisa Turner Potts, Maimah Karmo, Michelle Gloden Schoenfeld and Allison Priebe Brooks (Photo Credit: Kipp Burgoyne)

Why is giving back is important to you?
I want to help other women to face their fears, whether it be battling Breast Cancer or another health or life challenge. As a philanthropist, I want to leave the world a better place than I found it and also create solutions that are out of the box, that are catalysts for real, long term change.
How has giving back helped you?
By giving back to my community and to others, I have become a stronger person in both work and in my personal life. This is because I have learned I can get through even the toughest obstacles, to include surviving Breast Cancer, starting a non-profit, running a consulting business, and raising my daughter as a single mother. Most of all, every day I wake up and I feel grateful and humble for the blessings in my life. My daughter, my family, my health, my ability to help other women find healing in support that the organization I created a community.
How do you incorporate giving back into your life?
I have incorporated giving in my life by being a ‘servant leader.’ I support a lot of charitable organizations, and also give back to other daily when opportunities present themselves, and my gut tells me what to do.
Which charities are near and dear to you and why?
The charities that I am most passionate about are those which foster a sense of community and positive support for their members, such as Bite Me Cancer, International Justice Mission, Girls Health Ed, and more.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? 
The largest impact I have made is on the mindset in the community of women, at all ages but especially from ages 15-45. My goal is demonstrate to these women can access and utilize new information, and highlight that women can be their own ‘best advocates.” The challenge of the disease, can be a catalyst for an even more powerful life.

Noelle supporting her mom (Photo Credit: Maimah Karmo)

Noelle supporting her mom (Photo Credit: Maimah Karmo)

What is the most creative fundraising idea you’ve come across?
Selling cupcakes and doing fundraising with my daughter, Noelle. She started at 6, and she’s relentless. Where I might have backed down, she keeps asking, without batting a lash and she gets donations for Tigerlily. Oh, to be a child again.
What brands do you wear most often? Seven Jeans are a must, Tahari Suits, love Ann Taylor silk shirts or from Nordstrom. Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Anne Klein.
What’s your favorite beauty product? I can’t go without my Image Vital C cream, Obagi, NARS Sheer Macao Glow foundation (just a touch), and Bigelow’s My Favorite Night Balm (which I wear 24/7) and Chanel perfume.
How would you describe your home décor? A mix of modern and traditional. I love to read and I love my family and friends, so there are lots of books and pictures everywhere. I love having people over, and want them to feel comfortable, so lots of throws and pillows, so that every room has a warm, cozy place for someone to snuggle into.
What’s your secret to hosting a good party? Every little detail matters – wine, candles, apps, music, and pairing of guests so people get to mingle, connect, and have fun. Creating an atmosphere that fills the room with laughter and an enjoyable relaxing evening is the goal.
Favorite food: Sushi
Favorite cocktail: Apple martini with Grey Goose vodka.
Favorite restaurant: Top picks are – The Capitol Grille, Chef Geoff’s, Peacock Café, Red Fox, Inn in Middleburg, Charlie Palmers and Le Diplomat.
If you could host a dinner part of 8, who would you invite – living or dead? I would invite President Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama; Anne Frank; Oprah Winfrey; Ellen DeGeneres; my daughter, Noelle, God, and my future husband. It would surely be one of the most incredible evenings of my life.
Favorite vacation spot: Cabo San Lucas (Off the Coast of California, Baja Peninsula)

Maimah Karmo and her daughter

Maimah Karmo and her daughter, Noelle (Photo Credit: Maimah Karmo)

Do you have any tips for parents? Yes – listen, honor and respect your children. Try and put yourself in their shoes. Be gentle and love them unconditionally – as they are learning and growing with you. Always keep in mind, we are not their bosses, but rather their guides in life, and our goal is to teach them, as well as listen and learn, to awaken their intuition – so they know when God is talking to them. The result will be their following passion and their hearts.
Favorite TV show: ID Network and anything on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) channel.
Favorite movie: Bridges of Madison County, Anne of Green Gables, Sound of Music, Fault in Our Stars
Favorite song: Anything Coldplay
Favorite book: There are too many to choose just one. I would say I am fond of the Authors, Neale and Donald Walsch.
Favorite apps: Too many to count. Anything inspirational!
iPhone or Android: iPhone
 Favorite workout: Running, followed by weight training.
Where do you get your news? I watch some television and read latest news on the internet, but I also enjoy listening to talk radio programs that are more independent and non-partisan based.


In 2008, I launched AskMissA.com which grew from my personal blog into a site with 700 writers, covering the intersection of charity & lifestyle in 20 U.S. cities. With Charity + Life, I am going back to a personal blog where I can share my favorite things, and continue to shine a light on nonprofits, and cause marketing campaigns to inspire others to give as they live.

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