Saxbys Training Manager Kate Zipin -- second row, fourth from the left -- with her Own Your Awesomeness students and co-counselors.

Did you rent a house down the shore this summer? Get a cabin up the mountains? Or did you embark on a staycation? Maybe you took a trip to Europe, spent a week or two backpacking through different countries. Vacations are usually a time to relax, recuperate and maybe vacate your house. Not so much for Saxbys Training Manager Kate Zipin, who on her week off started a day camp to empower high school girls.

The camp, called Own Your Awesomeness, launched in mid-July to great success. Kate and several other counselors brought together 14 girls for different activities throughout the city, from yoga to football to replacing a tire and working with power tools.

Outside of the physical focus, the counselors educated the girls on mental and emotional health issues, as well as female representation in the media. They also covered less obvious topics, such as using credit cards, writing checks and maintaining bank accounts. At one point they made a trip to City Hall to visit Councilwoman Helen Gym. As Kate puts it, these were just some of the many ways “women can own their awesomeness.”

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One of our core values at Saxbys is “we are a community serving our community.” Own Your Awesomeness started because Kate wanted to do exactly that. Before joining Saxbys, she had numerous teaching jobs in Philadelphia and elsewhere. Her strong passion to connect with her students is what led her to create the camp. It provides her the perfect platform to build and strengthen those connections.

As Saxbys’ training manager, Kate is responsible for acclimating our new team members into our hospitality culture and café operations. This week-long process is required for everyone in the company, even our corporate team members. Without her passion to teach others and foster stronger relationships, the process wouldn’t be possible.

And, thankfully, young entrepreneurs like Kate are all over the city, pushing themselves to do more — to do better. With so many issues throughout Philadelphia — such as struggles with the school district, increased homicides throughout the city and a 26 percent poverty rate (36 percent for children)  — it’s important  for our businesses to rally our teams to make a sustained social impact.  Collectively, across city businesses, we’re seeing more entrepreneurial people join our ranks. Our newest hires are teeming with ideas and we should provide them with the capital, connections and resources to ensure they succeed. That’s how we get Own Your Awesomeness. It’s how we get a list of 17 community leaders who are making a difference in the city.

Philadelphia is Saxbys’ home. It’s provided us amazing opportunities and supported us as we’ve grown. It’s important that we reciprocate  that support by elevating those who seek to do well by doing good. We’re extremely proud of Kate and the dedicated professionals like her who continue to create, motivate and sustain. We can’t wait to see where Own Your Awesomeness goes in the future as it exemplifies our core values and fulfills our mission to Make Life Better.

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Saxbys CEO Nick Bayer created Saxbys Coffee in 2005 because he wanted to provide a welcoming space with consistently good coffee. Since then — thanks to an unparalleled focus on hospitality and community...