The Rio Exchange is a blog dedicated to capturing probably the most unusual, unexpected and exciting month of my life –  30 days of being on “exchange” in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil where I’ll be working with the social enterprise Rede Asta.

I’ll be working with small groups of women artisans, using my communications expertise to not to sell products but to change lives. My goal will be to impart of my marketing know-how to these artisans, giving them the communication tools so they can grow their businesses.

My exchange is a story that involves many women inspiring women.

That story starts with Philippa White – someone who saw untapped potential within the advertising industry to do good. So she set up to TIE – The International Exchange – an organization that links advertising professional with charities all over the world, enabling people like myself to travel abroad and make a positive change.


Then there’s Alice, another inspiring change agent in Rio. She founded Rede Asta almost 15 years ago and has helped thousands of female artisans across Brazil, empowering them turn their skills into a livelihood and to pull themselves out of poverty.


And of course there are the female artisans themselves. Women who are skilled, determined, hard working, and choosing to create a better life. In many ways, these women are the keepers of Brazilian culture, preserving traditional handcrafts against the backdrop of a rapidly modernizing country.

rede asta artisans.jpg

How could you not be inspired by a group like this? These women are changing the world. I’m inspired and humbled to work on their behalf. I can’t wait to be on their team for a whole month. And I can’t wait for all the things they are going to teach me along the way. So let’s go!

Eryn xo