Yi Meng, from our Penn State Harrisburg chapter, is changing the way we shop online to improve mental health. Through her business, CoCarting, she’s brought a human touch and sense of togetherness back into shopping.
In 2020, there were over two billion online shoppers. Seeing the negative impact of the pandemic on people's mental health helped Yi envision a social shopping concept where people could engage with friends, family, and the community while in their homes.
The concept extends far beyond the pandemic, as online shopping will continue to be a staple for people. Her business brings the positive aspects of going to a brick-and-mortar store to the online space.
"I started CoCarting because I wanted friends and family to stay connected. It makes it easier to get together and spend time shopping online with our loved ones."
Improving Mental Health in a Digital World
Her idea began when she wanted to go shopping with her sister-in-law. The only problem was that they lived halfway around the world.
So, she put together a team to bring social shopping to life. Friends and family can now add items together, delete them, vote on possible purchases, and also pause to socialize via live video and chat.
The site allows you to sign up for free and shop from millions of products from thousands of retailers, transitioning typical online shopping into what Yi's website calls "squad shopping."
With a drastic increase in reported anxiety and depression due to the pandemic, the mental health aspect of this can't be overstated. By bringing the human touch into what was an isolated activity, Yi is living our mission of creating positive change.
"A leader is not someone who is bossy. A leader does something that can be beneficial for the world and make a big impact for others."
The National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) helped her understand the qualities of a leader and the importance of honing one's skills for the greater good.
"The NSLS helped me become a better person and a better leader because I learned to be a good listener. The network of leadership also helped me to understand what a leader is, and it reshaped my thinking to see how much work we still have to do to make a better tomorrow."
Yi's Advice for Future Leaders
Yi sees leadership as an exacting practice, focusing on the small details and having a plan of action. She lives by servant leadership methods and understands the importance of goal setting. She also sees constant learning as an attribute for great leadership.
Individuals become leaders for life when they adopt a growth mindset and have an appetite for knowledge. Leadership development is designed to keep those learning habits active as you embark on your goals.
"Study the things you don't know and keep a positive attitude. Take one step at a time until you achieve your goal."
She looks up to George Washington as a role model for her leadership journey. Instead of becoming an Autocratic leader, the first US President prioritized serving others. "He refused and he gave people hope through democracy."
She makes sure she is as democratic in her leadership style as she continues to scale her business, and takes full responsibility for her actions as a business leader.
"The leader sets the example, so I’m careful with every decision and action we take. Leadership means to have a clear vision and lead a team to achieving it."
Another entrepreneur who tackled a big issue is Jamie Giovinazzo, founder/owner of Eat Clean Bro. Hear how he took a small idea and turned it into a big business to help people overcome obesity.