Parent Voices: Michael Glassman

Based on our many years of running programs and countless conversations with girls, parents, caregivers, and educators, we know that our work is impactful. Yet we’re always so deeply moved to hear how our programs and tools help people make positive change in their lives. We recently had an opportunity to chat with Michael Glassman, a father of two who first connected with Girls Leadership through our Raising Resilient Girls webinar (the next one is November 7!), then participated in three of our Girl & Grown-Up workshops (registration is now open for sessions starting in January of 2023).

Tell us about your journey with Girls Leadership. Do you recall how you heard about them? What drew you to the Raising Resilient Girls program?

The parents association at my daughter’s school offered Raising Resilient Girls as part of their morning speaker series. Simone Marean was the speaker. My daughter was just starting kindergarten, and I was looking to become as educated as possible on the things that would impact her social-emotional development. I saw the information about Girls Leadership and it seemed like something I should listen to!

That was now seven years ago, and it was already clear that between social media and other things that impact kids in the world, the potential for negative influences and pressure were high, especially living in a big city. The guidance provided in Raising Resilient Girls helps parents effectively address these negative influences.

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How did that guidance help you support your daughter?

One of the big takeaways for me was about the expectations that girls face not only from their peers but other people they come in contact with. Topping the list of expectations for girls are being pretty, smart, and polite. The important things that I wanted for my daughter — and my son too — were things like feeling self-confident and independent, and pursuing what brought them joy regardless of what the world tells them to do or be. Raising Resilient Girls helped me recognize the importance of doing all the big and little things that would help my daughter develop the power of her voice. This power would enable her to navigate outside expectations, support her own social and emotional wellness, help her be true to herself, and lead a good and fulfilling life.

Another big takeaway came from the data that was shared. Oftentimes people look at the data about girls — that they are doing well academically and increasing representation in traditionally male-dominated fields — and think that all is well. But seeing the data on how middle school anxiety and depression for girls is increasing while self-confidence is declining precipitously … it really made me feel like we need to focus on what is driving these feelings and give girls the agency and tools to change this narrative.

You also participated with your daughter in some of Girls Leadership’s Girl & Grownup Workshops. How did that go?

After hearing the Raising Resilient Girls talk, I did the first workshop when my daughter was in first grade and then another when she was in third grade. My wife did a workshop with our daughter when she was in fifth grade. There was one other dad in the first program I did but more over time — it is such a great opportunity for dads and daughters to connect.

Over the years, we learned so many things that were helpful; each workshop provided tools and exercises to practice. Some of the specific things that have been helpful over the years were lessons about how to identify and share feelings, how to ask people for what you want in life, becoming comfortable with conflict and using conflict constructively, and owning our mistakes and being able to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and that’s OK. When I think about my own childhood, these things were not emphasized at all, and having the tools to address the tough stuff — especially with social media and drama and frenemies — in a positive way is so important.

I was so moved by these programs that I — along with another parent who became very involved with Girls Leadership — helped bring a dozen in-person workshops to my daughter’s school. More than 100 families and girls have been positively impacted by their participation in these programs.

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Why are Girls Leadership’s programs particularly important now?

The pandemic obviously has been challenging for everyone on various levels, and more than ever the skills and awareness that Girls Leadership programs offer are so helpful for families, parents, and girls. We all need support to get through these challenging times, and especially for kids, to make up for some lost ground due to lost social contact and connection.

These programs will give girls the tools to find agency and advocacy in their lives and address very important parts of gaining the power of their voice and being able to tell the world who they are and to be true to themselves. Really, what more could you ask for?


Girl & Grown-up Workshops Professional Development



  1. Brenda Marean

    Really nice to see and read about an involved Dad! Nice work GL!!


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