Common Purpose / 03 April 2024

I Started A Non-Profit Organization With My Sisters And Learned This One Crucial Lesson

The organization’s story comes directly from the heart.


The impact of having a positive female role model while growing up as a young girl is profound. Marsha Powell knows this better than anyone, and she’s made it her life’s work to ensure as many girls can experience this impact. She and her sisters Chyloe and Rochelle Powell founded BelEve, a non-profit charity based in London that supports girls aged 8 to 22 to maximise their potential and celebrate their achievements – and the BelEve team, now consisting of 15 inspiring individuals, are the kinds of role models she hopes all girls can connect with.  

Their organization’s story comes directly from the heart. Marsha and Chyloe and Rochelle’s ’s mother tragically passed away in 2011, and as they processed their grief, they became fully aware of the positive impact their mother, a true role model had on them. It was her who inspired them to launch BelEve. 

“We want to ensure that young girls are in a safe space whereby they can develop, and they can also fail, but most importantly even through failure, they are connected to amazing role models who will enable them to increase their experiences and their opportunities,” Marsha tells us.  

Interestingly, the very structure of BelEve means that not only is it helping young girls, it’s also helping and developing leaders within its team of staffers – something Marsha is particularly passionate about especially after attending the American Express Leadership Academy alongside 57 other non-profit leaders in 2023.  

“I want to develop a team of purposeful leaders - I think we can all be leaders, we just need to find our leadership style and develop those capabilities,” Marsha continues. “What I've learned from the Leadership Academy is that I need to be able to bring my team along with me, and focus on the ‘why’ of the organization – the reason that we are all here.” 

Because of this, it was only natural that the sisters Marsha and Chyloe initially enlisted the help of others to work on the growth of the organization. Ten years on, they’ve added an additional 12 staff, and together, they empower the hundreds of girls who have connected with the charity.  

But these successes haven’t come without challenges – in fact, working with her sisters on such an important project so close to her heart has been Marsha’s biggest joy, and her biggest obstacle to overcome.  

“My leadership team are also my support system,” she explains. “The dynamics of running a business with your sisters in this space, being directors and directing an organisation has always been a challenge.”  

But through this challenge, Marsha has come out stronger – and she’s learned an important lesson along the way.  

“I have been able to develop a second voice that helps me to help them in understanding where we're going as an organization, and the role that they each play. This voice informs how I, as a leader, can support them to also become the leaders they want to be, which might be different to what I, as a big sister, want them to be. I’ve learned to really take a step back from that big sister role and be present as a CEO, in order to understanding what their needs are. 

“And for girls in the wider world, I advocate for mentoring, and I advocate for equality,” Marsha continues. “I want to be able to give more young women the opportunity to be to be mentored so they can have the confidence to become the next generation of female leaders, and also to be bold, and to challenge barriers that hinder them from being who they want to be.” 


Who we are. What we stand for.

Who we are

Stay connected with us

Follow us to learn more about who we are and what we do