Dear Friends,

Happy Summer! We are using these longer days to get ready for our flagship program – our three-week, over-night, life-changing, Summer Camp for girls. This is the program where GLI Co-Founder Rachel Simmons first paused over ten years ago, to ask, “What is girls’ relationship to leadership? How can we most effectively prepare girls to live lives of leadership?”

One thing we’ve learned over these ten years is that the lack of leadership ambition starts early. A recent study found that girls’ leadership ambitions peaked at age seven! Girls are getting out of the game before they’ve even graduated from elementary school.  The same study even found that the number one influencer in a girl’s leadership ambitions is her mother.  What an amazing opportunity that gives moms!

This insight made us want to celebrate Mother’s Day GLI style. This month we invited moms to send us their stories and photos of personal and societal leadership.  I’m including our NJ Outreach Manager Amie Herman’s story, and my own personal story. I hope that you’ll join us by thinking about how you are a leader in your own life. Please send us your stories and photos to support this critical movement.  Lets make Mother’s Day meaningful for girls all year round. We can’t change the face of leadership without you.

All my best,

Simone Marean

Co-Founder and Executive Director


Amie’s Face of Leadership Story: Hold On to Me as We Go

Amie Hannah Emily HermanIn this piece, GLI NJ Outreach Manager and mother Amie Herman discusses the meaning of leadership and family support with her two daughters, Emily (15) and Hannah (10).

Hannah:  So, Emily, how do you think Mom is a face of leadership?

Emily:  What sticks out in my mind is that she really got us through some hard times as a family, when it was just the three of us alone. During that time, she could have just retreated and fallen apart.  It’s not that she wasn’t sad or scared –– in fact she let me know when she was feeling those feelings. Even so, she led us through.

Click here to read more!


Simone’s Face of Leadership Story

Simone___OllieIn the fall of 2008 I was offered the chance to take leadership of Girls Leadership Institute. Having never run a business before, my first reaction was to reject this offer. How could I do something I had never tried before? I knew I could be successful earning a modest but stable income as a teacher, but I was full of doubt about my ability to be an entrepreneur. Over the next two weeks I had a series of powerful conversations with our families that revealed GLI’s impact and uniqueness, and I was convinced to take the risk. A year later we were a non-profit operating in four states. Now, almost four years later, we’re operating in five states and reaching 6,000 participants a year.

While growing our organization I  became pregnant with my first child, Oliver. As I grew bigger I saw the demands of our non-profit grow, too. Budgeting was now on a whole new level, and I needed to tackle financial modeling and strategic planning. I had to prepare for annual audits and annual reviews. Facing motherhood and these demands made me fear that I would not have the time to take the organization where it needed to go. I shared my worries with a Leadership Coach at Google, who gave me simple, yet powerful advice. Rather than worry and make any rash decisions before my baby was born, she recommended that I wait to see how I felt when I was actually doing the work as a mom. I took her advice and the feelings could not have been clearer. I loved my maternity leave, and I loved returning to work. I went back without any of the guilt or confusion I expected to feel (I know this is never supposed to be said out loud). Instead I was brimming with gratitude for my hard working team who had covered in my absence and the opportunity to show my son what it means to do meaningful work.


GLI Summer Camp starts in 1-month

GLIers say that Summer Camp has changed their lives. This is because at GLI, girls learn the skills that they need to live full lives of leadership. They also have a ton of fun and make lasting friendships.

GLI’s goal is to provide a record number of camp scholarships this year, but we can’t do it without your support. Thanks to the generosity of our individual donors, we are just $11,000 away from reaching our goal. Please make a donation to help us send sixty-five motivated and deserving girls to camp!


May’s Girl Find: Sara Bareilles’s “Brave”

We know that a girl’s ability to speak up, ask for what she needs, and be confident in her own voice is crucial to her development as a leader. But we also know that speaking your mind can be challenging, particularly when you feel alone in your opinion. At times like these, sharing your thoughts can seem like a task only suitable for SuperWoman. So if, like us, you sometimes crave some catchy, pop-infused inspiration to speak up, you’ll love Sara Bareilles’s new single “Brave.” In her energetic lyric music video –– one of two rocking videos for the song –– Bareilles doesn’t just sing her message, she spells it out for us: “Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out.” It’s a meaningful message, made ever better by the fact that the video –– which features real girls of all ages dancing around, rocking out, and tossing each other into a swimming pool –– is a whole lot of fun. So the next time you need a reminder to speak your mind, turn on Bareilles’s tunes and get ready to show the world “how big your brave is!”

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