In the next ten years, how can we guarantee more women in positions of leadership? How do we address the lack of diversity in our organizations and communities? And how do we empower the next generation of women and girls to never take no for an answer, pursue their goals, and find boundless success?
LiveGirl seeks to answer these questions through leadership and skill-building courses that reach middle school girls where they’re at: By empowering young women to reach for the stars while lifting each other up, LiveGirl aims to support the next generation of brave, inclusive leaders.
“We coach girls to embrace their original, quirky selves and to understand that self-confidence comes not from others liking you, but from you loving yourself,” says Sheri West, Founder and Chief LiveGirl. “Our mentors show them that when they truly believe in themselves, they will become unstoppable and astounding things will happen!”
Founded in 2014, the Connecticut-based organization focuses on supporting girls’ confidence through free year-round leadership development and mentoring programs. Supporting girls in grades 5 through 12, LiveGirl’s programs are “proven to build self-esteem, social emotional intelligence, and foster diversity.”
Since its founding in 2014, LiveGirl has served more than 5,000 young women in their home state of Connecticut, along with participants from communities across the US. In 2019 alone, the organization enrolled 1,420 young women in its free programs, 65% of which are girls of color.
Among these free programs is She Works, a career-readiness training and internship program that connects diverse young women with the skills they need to succeed in the workforce, as well as with internships at companies that demonstrate female leadership.
In the summer 2020 cohort, for example, girls in Connecticut, Washington DC, and Oregon enrolled in She Works. These young women participated in training webinars that covered the key components of finding, landing, and succeeding in employment. Course topics included resume and interview preparation, the basics of personal finance, the importance and power of diversity and women in leadership, and how to build confidence in oneself through professional purpose and career values. In addition, the She Works cohort also benefited from a “Know Your Rights” training on sexual harassment, which equipped participants with the knowledge and confidence to recognize and call out harassment in the workplace.
“My future is significantly brighter because of SHE WORKS,” said Kellie Taylor, a rising college sophomore who interned with LiveGirl partner Mind Money Media Inc.
Another She Works participant, Molly Rachlin, shared her internship at 1843 Capital “has given me the opportunity to learn from accomplished female leaders who have worked had to create their own successes. I will be able to use all of the tools I have learned to push me toward my own success.”
LiveGirl rounds out its year-round offerings with Camp LiveGirl — a summer camp typically held in person in Connecticut. Due to COVID-19, LiveGirl has moved its summer offerings online, with free Chromebooks available to participating girls who would otherwise be left out due to technology issues. This summer’s leadership program features speakers who represent the best in women’s leadership — women like Alisyn Camerota, anchor of the CNN morning show New Day, and Nicole Lindsay, who serves as Vice President of MasterCard, join the classes virtually to speak to the cohorts and answer questions about their careers.
Outside of events and training programs, LiveGirl also encourages the next generation through their podcast, Confident, which founder Sheri West hosts with her daughter, Olivia.
“Whether we’re talking about the fear of failure or anything else holding you back, confidence is the key to unleashing your power,” says West. “The world needs confident, inclusive leaders who embrace diversity to rise up. The time is now. Join us!”
The impact of LiveGirl’s programs is easy to see: Building confidence in the next generation of diverse, inclusive leaders puts us one step closer to the diverse and inclusive future we’re fighting for. By supporting the educations and confidence of the women and girls who will lead the way in the future, we directly contribute to a more just and equitable world.
“Our female youth, especially those in the middle school years, need programs just like LiveGirl,” said Laura Magnotta, Program Director of the Wakeman Boys & Girls Club. “LiveGirl emphasizes that they can, and will, reach their goals, if they strive to work hard at what they want. These young ladies, regardless of their background or socio-economic status, deserve the best that life has to offer and LiveGirl exposes them to ideas and people that show them that they are smart, strong and special people.”
To learn more about LiveGirl, their programs, the Confident podcast, and more visit their website at www.golivegirl.org.
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