Global Media Spotlight Shines on #IDSADetroit16 Keynote Speaker

#IDSAIDEA Winner & CCS Alum Empowers Thousands

"I saw a young woman who has that special spark that will ignite others to fix what’s wrong in the world."—Denise Restauri, Forbes

An IDSA International Design Excellence Award (#IDSAIDEA) winner, who's serving as a keynote at the 2016 IDSA International Conference (#IDSADetroit16), is earning global headlines for her designs with social impact. Veronika Scott's coat-turned-sleeping bag won IDEA Gold in 2011 when she was a student at Detroit's College for Creative Studies. She credits a product design class with prompting her "to create something that fills a need in the community."

Scott now leads The Empowerment Plan which has made and distributed 15,000 water-resistant, insulated coats in 30 states and seven countries in five years. Visitors to her Detroit site have included Madonna, Martha Stewart, Deputy Secretary of Labor Chris Lu and singer Michael Bolton. The 26-year-old Scott hopes to move production to a 13,000 sq. ft. facility later this year.

The so-called "Crazy Coat Lady" has been named a CNN Hero and one of CNN's 10 Visionary Women. Scott's efforts have been profiled in major media such as ForbesThe Huffington Post; The Detroit News; Crain's 20 in Their 20s; PBS Newshour's Agents for Change.

She tells SELF she spent much of her life running away from her background. "Her family lived in a household she described as 'constantly on the edge.... Her 'way out,' as she called it, would be through industrial and product design—a field she felt she could prosper in."

Adds Scott in the interview: "It comes down to pride, independence, and wanting to take care of yourself. People want to take care of their day-to-day needs.”