Today we’d like to introduce you to Lynne Dowell.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
For years, I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but when the time came, I realized that was actually not for me. So, I went the complete opposite direction and have multiple jobs: I’m a wife, a mom, a man’s personal stylist, a program specialist for the greatest school fundraiser I’ve ever heard of, and I am fighting human trafficking as Mrs. Texas International.
I love my family life, but I had to find my purpose in other things outside of the home. Starting a family was not only a gift, but it inspired the identity of my personal platform. The tragedy of trafficking became an almost tangible risk. This can/could happen to children like my very own daughter. So, DEFIANT HOPE was born, created, launched.
Up until just over 5 years ago, I thought trafficking was what you saw in the movie Taken- still horrible, but small, overseas. Then, when the Super Bowl took place in New Orleans in 2013, I started hearing talks of anti-trafficking campaigns. I remember thinking, “what are they talking about? This doesn’t happen in the United States.” So, I started to ask questions.. questions you don’t want the answers to. I was taken back to learn that not only was trafficking happening in the United States, my hometown of Houston was one of the worst for sex trafficking.
As a Dressember Advocate, this past year, we raised more than 2-million dollars to help 3 partner organizations: A21, International Justice Mission, and McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center. I am a volunteer leader with the International Justice Mission and I’m also one of the founding members of Houston 20. We partner with non-profits to fight sex trafficking with a city-wide strategy to knock out the biggest need and have already scaled to the Austin 20 and hope to grow with the 20s in every state. Our organization was recently mentioned in both the House and Senate floor championing our efforts to pass the FOSTA/SESTA legislation to fight sex trafficking online.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Gosh, no, I am always juggling my personal life and my professional life and sometimes a ball (or two) has dropped. But, I have learned from other strong women. A friend of mine in Boston did a speech about “dropping balls” and how there are things that are more important – glass balls – and things that are less important- rubber balls. The rubber balls can be dropped, the glass balls can not.
I am a type-A planner and color code my calendar to try and keep myself organized, but my family comes first. They are the glass balls that can’t be dropped.
In my line of volunteer work, I’ve met so many survivors of trafficking. They are the reason I keep going when times get tough.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the J. Hilburn Clothier / Mrs. Texas International/ Boosterthon Program Specialist story. Tell us more about the business.
J. Hilburn: I am proud of the quality of clothes we can provide for men. We give them a confidence that comes from a well-fitted suit made for them, designed by them. I’m also proud of the fair trade practices we have in place and the relationships we have built with our Italian mills.
Boosterthon – our vision is to change the world and we believe we do that with every student inspired, every school funded, every community thriving. The thing that makes me most proud is the look on students’ faces on fun run day when they know they made a difference and helped their school.
Mrs. Texas International – is a service-oriented pageant; an organization with integrity, high ethical standards, and consistent application of its rules and regulations. It is their goal to provide ladies everywhere the opportunity to compete in a pageant system that maintains the highest of moral values. Personally, I love that married women can still compete in pageants and be actively involved in making a difference.
My non-profit work – for years we have been trying to put an end to modern-day slavery and we are starting to see real movement. The women, the survivors I see and interact with are the true heroes. They inspire me and make me so proud of what they have overcome and the difference they are making for those behind them.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Well, I found out about J. Hilburn through a Facebook post of a girl I hadn’t seen in years. And I found out about Boosterthon through an Instagram post of a friend of my husband.
I would say, it was destiny that I was supposed to be doing these things.
As for Mrs. Texas, I didn’t win on my first or second try. The third time, I finally had all my ducks in a row. I think, in this case, luck is what happens when hard work meets opportunity.
- Website: https://lynnedowell.jhilburn.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @lynnster
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MrsTexasInternational/
- Other: https://www.txintlpageant.com/
Allison Ermon Photography, Morgan Clarkson photography