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Athlete and activist Allyson Felix has been a fierce advocate for advancing women’s rights, and she’s driving her efforts forward through a new partnership. According to CBS News, the Olympian has teamed up with Pure Leaf to create an initiative centered on equity in the workplace.

A study conducted by the beverage company revealed every time a Black woman says “no” at work, she runs the risk of losing approximately $1,406 in future earning potential. Further research showed 2 in 3 women face negative backlash for saying “no” in the workplace.

Aware of the inequities, Felix joined forces with the SeekHer Foundation—a nonprofit that has a mission rooted in increasing awareness around social issues that impact women’s mental health—and Pure Leaf to develop a project dubbed the “No” Grants program. Through the initiative, women reprimanded at work for standing up to their employers and voicing their concerns regarding matters that impact their well-being will receive short-term financial support.

“Too often, the ‘Cost of No’ is too high for women, particularly those in minority communities,” Felix said in a statement. “Each time a Hispanic or Black woman says ‘no’ in the workplace, she loses over $1,400 in future earning potential. I’m partnering with Pure Leaf because we must help women say ‘no’ at work without the worry of financial repercussions.”

Felix has continually used her platform to uplift women. Last year, she led an initiative with the apparel brand Athleta and the Women’s Sports Foundation to provide childcare grants for women who competed at the Tokyo Olympics.

The grants are part of a larger campaign launched by Pure Leaf in 2020 dubbed “No is Beautiful.”

Julie Raheja-Perera, General Manager, North America, Pepsi Lipton Partnership, added she hopes the collaborative effort will empower women to set boundaries.

“We recognize that the inability to say ‘no’ to asks in the workplace has real consequences for women, including burnout and financial impacts,” she shared. “While we at Pure Leaf push for ‘no’ to be more widely accepted in society, the ‘No’ Grants are our first step toward helping women say ‘no’ in the workplace so they can say yes to the things that matter.”


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