Vimeo with Lenna Daniels

Changemakers from Within wide
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Listen to learn about Lenna’s beginnings at Vimeo, how she started Vimeans for good, how she leverages herself and her job for good, and what her vision for social impact at Vimeo is 10 years down the road.

Lenna and Rachel recording the pod!

A Heart for Impact

Lenna Daniels is one of those people who is always getting involved, taking the lead, and finding ways to help people. While she was at Ithaca College, she started a group called Helping Hands, which helped busy students find volunteer opportunities. She also organized a fundraiser at the restaurant she was working at during summer breaks – all of the servers picked a nonprofit to represent during their shift and then donated their tips.

The Live Event Production class from Ithaca College visiting Lenna at Livestream HQ in 2017.
Lenna with the Ithaca students and former professor and mentor, Chrissy Guest.

Early Days at Vimeo

A few months after graduating in 2017, Lenna was hired at Livestream as a Live Video Support Specialist. But just two weeks later, Vimeo acquired Livestream. As the last one in, she worried she’d be the first one out. But Vimeo made it clear that they acquired Livestream because they valued the team’s knowledge and talent, and Lenna is still at the company.

The Birth of Vimeans for Good (VFG)

Lenna being Lenna, she started looking for ways to make an impact almost immediately. A marketing colleague who had led a one-off project called Videos for Good suggested Lenna connect with the Head of DEI at Vimeo to learn more about their Employee Community Groups. The Head of DEI connected Lenna with a colleague named Natalie who had also expressed interest in social impact at Vimeo. Together, Natalie and Lenna spoke to the VP of People at the time, who was very supportive and gave them approval to become an official Employee Community Group. They also got connected with Mark Kornfilt, who had previously been the CEO of Livestream and who was then the CTO. Mark became the executive sponsor of Vimeans for Good, which officially launched in July of 2018.

Lenna participating in reading hour at Hudson Guild, a community center a few blocks away from the Vimeo office, in 2019.
Lenna and Natalie at the Ali Forney Center Gala in 2018.

Vimeans for Good Events

The first event Lenna and her new team organized was a back to school supplies drive. Then, they partnered with the Coalition for the Homeless to help families experiencing homelessness. Employees were receptive to and excited about these initiatives, which was encouraging to Lenna. They went on to lead a pumpkin painting event where they donated the decorated pumpkins to a senior center and a women’s shelter. That was followed by a holiday gift drive. To this day, Vimeo does the back to school supply drive and holiday gift drive every year.

VFG pumpkin painting event in 2019 at the Vimeo office.

Making Good Happen

While supporting Coalition for the Homeless in 2019, Vimeans for Good paid particular attention to a 12-year-old boy whose birthday was between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. His wish list included a request for a birthday party and birthday cake, which were two of the few wishes that were not basic need items. Vimeans for Good decided to throw him a party at Chuck E. Cheese. However, they faced an obstacle when trying to pay for the party. Chuck E. Cheese’s systems wouldn’t allow prepayment. They had to pay on-site, day-of. That wasn’t going to be possible, so Lenna got creative. She emailed the CEO of Chuck E. Cheese to explain the situation. The next morning, she had a response in her inbox from the CEO, who found a way to make this birthday party happen! Now that’s initiative.

A Bigger Impact

In May of 2021, Covid began to rapidly escalate in India, where Vimeo has an office in Bangalore. Mark approached Lenna asking for ideas on how to help. The next morning, Lenna presented a one-pager full of ideas that Mark and Lenna ran by Anjali Sud, the CEO of Vimeo. They decided to move forward with a giving campaign that would support various nonprofit organizations providing medical aid and supplies throughout India. Between the employee contributions and a generous company match, they were able to raise $129,327! Being able to support so many people in their time of need on this global scale was a proud and impactful moment for Lenna.

Women4Good

Last year Lenna participated in an ambassadorship program through Women4Good. She was paired with the nonprofit Centro Community Partners, where she was able to support minority and women-owned businesses by bringing them the power of video.

Centro Community Partners is an organization that seeks to build thriving communities by providing underserved, low-income entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship education, one-on-one business advising, mentorship, and access to capital.

In October, Lenna’s Employee Community Group, Vimeans for Good, hosted a virtual event with Centro where the entrepreneurs were able to showcase how they were using Vimeo’s tools to amplify their businesses. The event was a big hit with Vimeans across all areas of the organization and the entrepreneurs walked away with newfound confidence in their video skills! One Vimeo employee wrote, “I loved to see how Vimeo supports other causes, and hearing from people who are actually using and discovering our products was inspiring.”

At the end of the event, Lenna announced that each entrepreneur was gifted a Vimeo Premium account and that Vimeans for Good was donating $2,000 to help Centro further its mission of supporting small businesses.

VFG hosting a virtual event this past October with Centro and the entrepreneurs Lenna partnered with.
Women4Good Ambassador graduation in August.

Mindset

Working in social impact can be daunting. There are so many causes that need support. It can feel like you’re never doing enough. Lenna would like to remind everyone working in the social impact space that even if you help one person, the effort is worth it – you may not be able to do everything, but you can do something. Take a moment every now and then to step back and celebrate all that you’ve done to help people and the planet.

What’s Next?

Lenna was accepted into a highly competitive 9-month Executive Program in Social Impact Strategy at UPenn. It’s designed to help individuals from across industries gain the tools to better incorporate social impact into their work. During the program, students get to focus on a specific project or initiative and bring it to life in the real world. Lenna is excited to dive in deep and set herself up for a lifetime of leading impact.

An Exciting Post-Interview Update

After the podcast was recorded back in November, Lenna accepted the role of Social Impact Program Manager at Vimeo and will be starting on Valentine’s Day! We’re so thrilled to see her start this new chapter in her career and will continue cheering her on. Way to go, Lenna!

VFG’s annual volunteer event with Hudson River Park in October 2021.

This episode includes music by audionautix.com, released for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.