A business venture with a focus on social change.

When Karla Stephens-Tolstoy and her teen son Zach started Stand Up Speak Up, the intention was to create a brand that had advocacy at its core. Karla raised Zach not to shy away from speaking up and taking action when he believed he could make a positive difference. They wanted to create a product that would inspire others to do the same.

Zach - Co-Founder and Spokesperson

Born in 2001, Zach is one teen who understands the importance of speaking up for social change. In addition to going to school and being one of the faces of Stand Up Speak Up, Zach has also trained in Mental Health and in Time Management, among other things. This company gives Zach a way to see his words and actions make a positive difference. He puts a lot of his own time and energy into making sure that Stand Up Speak Up is the change agent the world needs.

Zach is one of our models and contributes to our social media posts. He also generates ideas that keep us moving in the right direction. When he's not doing this, you can usually find him perfecting his magic tricks and enhancing his personal skills such as learning film editing, dubbing computer software skills, scuba diving, theatre combat training and improv acting to highlight but a few.

Karla - Co-Founder and CEO

Karla is moved by the ability to help others. Whether that is by bringing a voice to causes, or sitting and listening to a teen tell her their experiences, she believes that the key to change in this world is action. She strives to affect people from a personal level, getting to know who they are and what they need and helping to make that happen.

To learn more about Karla, check out her interview on our sister blog here.

One of the causes close to both Karla and Zach's hearts is Mental Health Awareness and Support. They have both trained in Mental Health First Aid and Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training. To find out more, check out our blog.