Meet the Founder

Brittany's Story
Brittany Merrill Underwood has made an extraordinary impact through her dedication over the past 12 years to transform the lives of impoverished women and families through the Akola Project. Akola operates a social business designed to empower women in crisis through training, living-wage work, and holistic care. Akola’s products are sold throughout the country and their elevated jewelry line is the first Full-Impact Brand to be sold in the luxury space through their national launch in Neiman Marcus. As a non-profit, Akola reinvests 100% of their profits to support work opportunities, training, social programs and the construction of training centers and water wells in impoverished communities throughout the globe. Akola has a social impact throughout its entire supply chain and offers women opportunity through the creation of their raw materials, assembly of their product and their distribution center that acts as a second chance job program. Akola has created a new, high impact model for social business that is paving the way for high impact millennial run businesses that seek to have an impact on the world.

In 2017, Brittany was named among the top The World’s Top 10 CEOs in Inc. Magazine, the ‘Best Person in the World” by Yahoo in 2014, and was honored by clothing manufacturer Levi as one of 50 women around the globe who have changed the political, cultural, and spiritual shape of the future. She was awarded the Emerging Leader Award from SMU in 2013, the Young Leader Award from the Dallas Women’s Foundation in 2014, and was awarded a silver medal from the Business & Interfaith Peace Award given by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation in Rio. Brittany has been featured on the likes of the Katie Couric Show, CNN’s Young People Who Rock, Fox Business and Modern Luxury. In 2014, she was asked to join the mentoring class for the Laura Bush Women’s Initiative and joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University as an adjunct professor in 2015 where she teaches a new course on Social Innovation. Brittany continues to devote her life to creating a brand that empowers women through economic and holistic development as CEO of the Akola Project.

According to Inc. Magazine, “Underwood is a clear example of a servant leader practicing conscious capitalism to transform the lives of impoverished women and families.”


  • 2016 Business & Interfaith Peace Award Silver Medalist given by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation
  • 2015 Leg Up Award by Spanx
  • 2014 Yahoo “Best Person of the Year”
  • 2014 Dallas Women’s Foundation Young Leader Award
  • 2014 Michelle Moment Award by Michelle Watches
  • 2013 SMU Emerging Leader Award
  • 2012 Levi Wrangler - Shape What’s to Come


Speaking Engagements

Brittany is passionate about sharing her experience, lessons, and expertise with audiences who are eager to make an impact in our world. If you would like to request having Brittany speaking at your next event, please complete this Speaker Request Form