I've had the privilege of being able to work with the incredible ladies behind what's sure to be a night to remember, and now I want to take a second to introduce you to two of the power players behind making this event a reality. Allow me to introduce Kelsie Smithson, recently named on LEO Weekly's Watch List, and Cameron Kurz both on the board for Louisville Girl's Leadership. They were gracious enough to sit down with me for a few minutes and help explain what IF Girls Rise is, just in time for tomorrow's event!
1. What is IF Girls Rise?
IF Girls Rise is the Louisville Girls Leadership vision. Kelsie and I were sitting at dinner one night when Kelsie decided that we should have a cocktail party/kick off/reception the night before the Girls IdeaFestival so that we could plug in individuals that want to be involved in LGL, but that wouldn’t necessarily attend the IdeaFestival. We wanted to reach out ot possible donors while engaging community leaders, advocates, and women that do great things throughout Louisville. We then decided to call the reception “IF Girls Rise” because it was catchy and the IF comes from IdeaFesitval and the question sparks a great conversation of what happens IF Girls Rise??? Then it caught on as a sort of campaign where people across Louisville, are telling us what their vision is for girls rising above. The idea is that girls rise above stereotypes, rise up into roles that they didn’t think were feasible, and overall we want girls to overcome any barriers that may affect their success! IF Girls Rise is a great way to start a conversation, it’s energetic, and it’s a phrase to remember. The IF Girls Rise event will showcase looks from local designers, modeled by LGL girls; open bar; appetizers; focus on the four topics that the girls find important to them. In essence it’s an introduction to Louisville Girl’s Leadership.
2. What are you hoping to see come of the event?
We are hoping to do several things with this event; establish donors, get our name out into the community, showcase the amazing things our girls have, can, and will do, and most importantly, focus on building our brand. We have almost kind of reinvented what we are all about. We are incorporating the logo into everything we do, working on marketing, social media, and helping the community to understand that impact that young women can have on their community. Although we have been around 12 years, it feels as if the journey has just begun for LGL and this year has been a big turning point for us. We have made finally honed in our goals and are working on growing our capacity as an agency. OVERALL, our goal is the change the landscape in Louisville when it comes to the way that girls are viewed. We are the only organization in the state that does what we do.
3. What is Louisville Girls Leadership?
"Louisville Girls Leadership: one girl from every public and private high school in Jefferson County is nominated by their counselor, teacher, etc.; join the program as sohphomores and meet monthly to learn about leadership, hear from professionals in specific fields, it is “girl-driven” meaning that the girls decide what they want the program to look like, and the board just helps them make it happen; the juniors and seniors can come back to be leaders for the sophomores; the girls learn to be advocates; they meet with councilwomen and men, meet with the mayor, and change the way things happen in their schools and communities." Basically, girls are already born to be leaders, LGL just provides them with the tools and skills so they can be geared up to change the world. Some girls don’t know what they are capable of, so we just open the door and they walk right through it.
4. What will happen IF Girls Rise?
IF Girls Rise, the world will change. But in order to do so, people need to change the conversation, and change the way they talk to their girls and the way their raise their daughters. A girl must know from the beginning that she is not only capable of being a leader, but she is “allowed” to be a leader, and a damn good one at that. IF Girls Rise, there will be more opportunities for future generations, more equality in the government and private business sectors. We will see more creativity, a better economy, and a change in the family structure.
5. How can people help support the cause?
People can help support the cause by donating, becoming a mentor for our girls: by allowing the girls to shadow them at work, checking up on them, meeting them for coffee to discuss school or career options, be a speaker at our monthly sessions during the school year, and most importantly they can support the cause by changing the way they view girls! Be open-minded when it comes to the career options, leadership, business owners, or relationships. Girls need to know that there are no expectations for their future, but that they can do what they want to do.
Tickets are still available for IF Girls Rise, and they can be purchased on EventBrite. Be sure to check out this night to remember and support our future generations! I hope to see you there tomorrow night.
Photo courtesy of Louisville Girls Leadership's twitter page.