Inspire a generation of possibility thinkers & ignite a vision for equal opportunity
The purpose of Girls Can Do event series is to host events around the country and the world, at no cost for young women and girls. Our events are special days where girls come to engage, connect, and share experiences with amazing women speakers who are pursuing their dreams. At each event we offer access to dozens of year round programs as “next steps” for inspired Possibility Thinkers through our Girl Partner Network. Our unique speakers are positive role models who are everyday, yet extraordinary women sharing stories about choices, determination, hardships, failure, resilience, and success.
Our vision is that our speakers and events inspire a generation of girls to make a difference in their lives, the lives around them, and the world. Our events give young women support, encouragement, and the knowledge that they can pursue their greatest dreams. After all, opportunities are endless when you are a Possibility Thinker.
Our Possibility Thinker Model
Girls Can Do consults with advisors in psychology and human development, such as Board Member Dr. Linda Wagener, to ensure our events are designed to inspire a real change in perspective. Cognitive-based methodologies, including those from Drs. Brook and Goldstein’s work “The Power of Resilience,” support our value in using charismatic women role models to engage girls.
Facilitating Possibility Thinking
Girls Can Do facilitates Possibility Thinking in three key ways:
- The elegant performance event space is a physical catalyst for igniting thoughtful consideration of what is possible and give girls a sense of belonging among a diverse crowd of their peers.
- The personal stories shared by everyday yet truly extraordinary women. Each woman shares a story of facing adversity, failures, determination, and building resilience while living a fulfilling life and pursuing their passions.
- The connections made between the girls and our local partner organizations. Partner organizations are invited to give short stage presentations on the support and services they offer to girls.
Our events are designed to engage middle and high school aged girls. Our outreach model is focused on inviting girls from underserved communities. However, we welcome and encourage all individuals to join our events and there are some very inspired Dad’s walking around our halls!
Girls Can Do employs a hands-on community-based model in order to reach girls in underserved communities. Our Ambassador Outreach Program supports and collaborates with community leaders, students, and our partner organizations to reach out to youth and invite them to the events. These collaborators are essential to making the event a trusted, accessible, and impactful experience for girls. Together they take the bus, drive, or use Girls Can Do – sponsored transportation.
Immediate Impact: The Event
- A middle school, high school, or college girl finds out about our event through her local community and attends a live event at a beautiful performance hall or a community satellite location to watch via live streaming. Girls in underserved communities come to our events through our community outreach program, which serves to elevate equal access for all girls.
- During the event, girls listen to a diverse group of speakers and become inspired by at least one of the speakers and a spark is ignited for a new perspective on life. Girls consider themselves Possibility Thinkers and use that as a lens for making decisions in their daily lives.
- Onstage and after the events girls meet dozens of local organizations who offer programs year-round for girls. They are encouraged to sign-up and join their organization and start making their dreams a reality.
A Year Later: Girl Partner Network
Girls are actively participating in the programs at our partner organizations and making positive changes in their lives. Each partner measures the success of their girls independently.
Lifelong: World Change
Generations of Possibility Thinking girls create a world of equal opportunity.
Our events are having an impact. The data we have collected and continue to gather at each event demonstrates this. We utilize four main methods for measuring our success. We collect data on the following:
- How many girls attend each live performance hall event and how many attend our satellite broadcast events.
- How many programs we offer to girls at each event through our Girl Partner Network organizations.
- Qualitative feedback from our participants on if and how they were inspired. This survey is handed out at the end of the event and it captures basic demographic data and feedback on specific aspects of the event, such as their favorite speaker.
- Blog stories shared on our website and social channels from event attendees about the impact of the event on their life and how they have become Possibility Thinkers.
Girl Partner Network
At our events and through our Girl Partner Network webpage, Girls Can Do operates as an umbrella for girls to connect with carefully selected organizations. The Girl Partner Network is complied of local and national nonprofits such as Digigirlz, Young Women Empowered, ZGirls, Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, Girls on the Run, Powerful Voices and many more. Services range from leadership development to life-skills to internship and scholarship opportunities. Through evidence-based programming, our partner organizations foster long-term relationships with our girls, offer them direct services, and guide them to success. These programs are the “next steps” for inspired Possibility Thinkers.
Our Unique Speakers
Our unique and, for the most part, unknown speakers are everyday yet truly extraordinary women. Each woman shares a story of facing adversity, failures, determination, and building resilience while living a fulfilling life and pursuing their passions.
Melba Ayco was born into segregation in the South, while Dawn Smith’s family lived through the Canadian Native residential schools, designed to remove children from the influence of their families and culture. Jennifer Moran attended 12 elementary schools by the end of 4th grade, bouncing from one family to another, while facing the challenges of knowing she was gay. Jessica Markowitz started a non-profit at age 11 to help Rwandan girls after the genocide. She later found in high school that her friend’s support had turned to bullying. Special Olympian Gold Medalist, Angela Martin has been living independently for 20 years and showed us that people with disabilities have hopes and dreams, just like everyone else.
Our speakers make clear that success has no one definition nor does it come without hard work and setbacks. They show examples of building resiliency and emphasize that bouncing back is the key ingredient to making it through hard times.
The goal of Girls Can Do is to ignite a spark in as many girls’ minds as possible across the nation and around the world. Each event will be funded by corporate sponsors and any proceeds from each event will go towards future event planning. Tickets are $25 except all girls 24 and under are free. Our goal is to have a portion of the sponsorship funds allocated towards event planning and to also fund planning through grants and fundraising efforts.
Year One: Host four events nationally, with multiple satellite locations for each live event.
Year Two: Host eight events nationally, with multiple satellite locations for each live event.
Year Three: Host eight events, at least two internationally and the remaining national. Each event has multiple satellite locations in the respective countries.
Year Four: Host 12 events per year as the target number going forward. Combination of national and international events with multiple satellite locations in the respective countries.
Year Five: One of the 12 annual events will be hosted on the International Space Station by a woman astronaut with a live feed to a US event site for Q&A with the girls in the audience. This event will be widely live streamed around the world.
Girls Can Do events are funded by sponsors, therefore, our operating budget is concentrated primarily on salaries for our event planning and community outreach focused staff.
An investment of $200,000 will cover three to four full-time employees and will sustain the organization for roughly 8-12 months. Additional funds will allow Girls Can Do to scale faster and put on more events nationally and worldwide, igniting the fire for change in girls around the globe.
National Board of Directors
In the past year our Board of Directors has developed from three Seattle members to a national team of 13 diverse, energized individuals who support the Girls Can Do mission through their financial, social, human, and intellectual capital. Four of our board members are past Girls Can Do speakers.
- Karen Clark Cole: CEO, Blink UX :: GCD Board President :: Seattle, WA
- Anna Amato, PH.D: CEO, Edtec Central :: Detroit, MI
- Greg Beams: Audit Partner, EY Seattle :: Seattle, WA
- Dan Beaupre: Vice President, Experiences, National Geographic :: Washington, DC
- Christy Hansen: Airborne Science Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center :: Washington, DC
- Zabrina Jenkins: Director, Corporate Council, Starbucks :: Seattle, WA
- Dawn Smith: Acting Director, ȽÁU, WELṈEW̱Tribal School School Board :: Brentwood Bay, Canada
- Barbara Steel: Manager, Deloitte Consulting :: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- Rashelle Tanner: Senior VP, General Counsel & Chief Compliance at CRISTA :: Seattle, WA
- Linda Wagener, PH.D.: Partner, Marigold Associates :: Seattle, WA
- Noelle Beams: COO, The Thought & Expression Co. :: Seattle, WA & Brooklyn, NY
- Timothy Wallach: Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI):: Seattle, WA
- Jackie Woodard: Senior VP Operations, Bank of America :: Boston, MA
Girl Partner Network :: Program Overviews
Beat the Streets :: Educational, vocational, and life-skill services for at-risk youth :: Empower young adults with adequate resources to stimulate self-improvement through the achievement of educational and employment goals.
Chapter Be :: Inspirational podcasts and storytelling events :: Provides interviews and daily inspiration from those who are charting their own journeys to have a career and life doing what they love.
DigiGirlz :: Connecting girls to career opportunities technology, Microsoft employees and hands-on workshops :: One-day event, held at multiple Microsoft locations worldwide, is designed to provide middle and high school girls with a better understanding of what a career in technology is all about.
Fight the Fear Campaign :: Community oriented violence-prevention initiative :: To make self-defense training easily accessible because the skills and confidence that it builds are a proven deterrent to violence.
FIRST Ladies :: Educate to Innovate initiative driven by the Federal Government, foundations, nonprofits, and educational societies :: FIRST Ladies (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a community of girls and women involved in science and engineering programs.
Girls Rock Camp :: Week-long music-oriented summer camp for girls 8-18 :: Dedicated to empowering girls through music, promoting an environment that fosters self-confidence, creativity, and collaboration.
Girl Scouts of Western Washington :: Girl-led, recreational, community engagement activities and programs :: Girl Scouts gives girls access to life-changing experiences that inspire them to do something big.
Girls on the Run of Puget Sound :: Running-focused interactive lessons and games for girls in 3rd to 5th grade :: Inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.
Girls, Inc. :: Variety of research-based, informal education programs for girls and their community :: Develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges.
Girls Who Code :: Summer Immersion Program and Girls Code Clubs :: Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors
Girls Fly! :: Community events tailored to specific skills and STEM based activities :: Encourages women and girls from all age groups and all walks of life to pursue a wide range of personal and professional aspirations through presentations, mentoring, and interactive experiences.
Mission Propelle (Smarty Panty Yoga) :: Mobile girl-power business that provides after-school programming, in-school support groups, and birthday parties :: Empowers girls to know who they are, what they believe, and how to advocate for themselves.
Northwest GirlChoir :: After school and summer program all girl choir :: The Northwest GirlChoir community offers girls and young women a transformational experience through music education and artistic excellence.
Northwest Tap Connection :: Distinctive urban dance studio specializing in Rhythm Tap :: To train, inspire, and nurture young dancers towards artistic excellence.
Powerful Voices :: Workshops, employment, and school programs for girls in middle school and those affiliated with the juvenile justice system :: Fostering adolescent girls’ development by providing programs and promoting social justice so girls can realize their dreams, their communities, and shape a better world.
Richard’s Rwanda :: School fundraising club and community supporting education for girls in Rwanda:: Bonding student to student, to educate and empower girls in Rwanda.
Skate Like a Girl :: Girls-only skateboard clinics, camps and contests :: Creates an inclusive community by promoting confidence, leadership, and social justice through the sport of skateboarding.
Step Up :: After school programs and mentorship to foster college readiness :: Step Up propels girls from under-resourced communities to become confident, college-bound, career-focused, and ready to join the next generation of professional women.
Twirly Girls :: Girl-focused clothing line :: Strives to empower girls to embrace their creativity and individuality through clothes they make memories in.
Toptal :: Scholarship and mentoring for women :: Toptal supports aspiring female scientists, developers, and software engineers to achieve their goals via financial support and mentorship by top professional developers and designers.Upower :: No-cost fitness, health and wellness classes to underserved teens in King County :: Address an absence in schools and community centers, caused by funding challenges, and offer high school-aged youth broad access to quality programs.Vital Voices :: Training and mentoring of emerging women leaders around the world :: Identifies, invests in, and brings visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities.Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) :: Intergenerational and intercultural creative leadership for young women :: Empowering young women from diverse backgrounds to step up as leaders in their schools, communities, and the world.
You Grow Girl :: Comprehensive services for young women :: We seek to provide a safe forum for girls to tackle the fears, insecurities, and pressures often associated with transitioning to young women, to develop the life and healthy relationship skills they will need as they enter womanhood.ZGiRLS :: Sport camps and coaching :: Z Girls empowers young female athletes with the confidence, courage, and community they need to thrive in sports and thrive in life.
“The most inspiring day of my life.”
– High School Student from St. Margaret’s School, Victoria, BC Canada
“This was my first time at a Girls Can Do event and I wish I had been able to attend something like this 10 years ago. It was so beautiful to see accomplished, confident women empowering the females around them. I didn’t know any of the hundreds of women I was surrounded by, but the sense of sisterhood in the auditorium was undeniable. Programs like this will change the world. Girl power is real.”
– Kelsey Jae Wardwell, Partner Organization, Youth in Focus
“The shared emotions among a large audience were pretty powerful. The communal gasp when Jennifer Moran described the moment her athletic dreams died when she ruptured multiple disks in her spine on the basketball court… and just an amazing overall example of overcoming early hardships in life to achieve great things and make a huge impact on her community. Angela Martin’s talk that left nary a dry eye in the room. And the many, many laughs and cheers throughout the afternoon. Big, important, shared experiences tend to get under your skin and stay with you. The fact that there were probably equal numbers of girls as there were adult mentors in the audience speaks of the fact that in parenting, as in life in general, we are all hungry for someone to assure us that we are doing the right thing.”
– Jennifer van Hardenberg, Teacher
“You need to believe. Success. Love. Possibility. Family and Community. Find your destiny. Find it in your heart.”
– Lilia, Student, 7 years old
Our Message to Girls
Girls Can Do founder, Karen Clark Cole read the following letter to a packed house of 1,500 diverse girls during our second event at Benaroya Hall, home to the Seattle Symphony.
Girls-Can-Do is a WA State corporation with 501(c)(3) non-profit status.
For more information please contact Karen@girls-can-do.org. www.girls-can-do.org