Location: Global (Virtual)
Year Founded: 2017
Tell me about your launch story; how did your organization get started?
In 2017, with International Women’s Day only a week away, we decided we wanted to do more than just post a #girlpower status on social media. We were tired of expressing our feminism through hashtags and “the future is female” t-shirts only to go back to focusing on our daily lives.
We started Girlz, FTW because we wanted to do something tangible to support women and girls. We wanted to channel the magic of women’s day every single day. So, we designed a website, asked our most inspiring friends to become mentors, created a curriculum, and launched applications for mentees – all in seven days.
Girls from all over the world applied to the program. We chose a final 16 mentees hailing from India, Canada, and all around the U.S. and paired them with badass female leaders. We hosted a speaker series to learn from other badass women. We shared awkward moments, insecurities, fights with our parents. We talked about how to get into college, how to build a killer resume, what feminism means to us. We watched inspiring TED Talks, started bullet journals, and planned our visions for the year. We supported each other.
What challenges did you face, if any, while launching?
We were racing against time! We wanted to launch a tangible program to support women on International Women’s Day — all within 7 days. In the matter of a week, we had to design a website, find inspiring mentors from our own networks, design a powerful curriculum, and launch applications. When we launched, we received applications from around the globe and accepted our first cohort of 16 girls.
Tell me about its mission/goals and the primary populations you serve?
We’re an international organization on a mission to build the largest community of women and girlz that support, empower, and elevate each other. Our community is made up of thousands of girlz representing over 73 countries that are transcending borders and empowering each other to thrive and to drive gender equality in every corner of the world.
What does your organization do best?
We’ve been honored to build a global, inclusive, and authentic virtual community. Over the past three years, our community has expanded to encompass thousands of girls representing 73 countries, and our internal team has grown from 3 to 13. The girls within our program don’t pretend to be experts or have all the answers. Our community allows us to celebrate each other’s successes and support each other through bad times.
What are you working to improve?
As we continue to grow our program, our vision has expanded beyond just a mentorship program. We are continuing to build a program that can transcend borders and allow girls from different countries, backgrounds, and life experiences to thrive and to drive gender equality in every corner of the world. We’re continuing to listen to the girls in our program and reflect their changing needs in our evolving organization. We know there’s a lot more work ahead of us. So, with our heads held high and a deep sense of urgency, we’re marching towards the future we want.
What does collaboration over competition mean to you?
We’re on a mission to build the largest community of women and girlz that support, empower, and elevate each other — and we cannot get far without building each other up, and collaborating with girls across the globe. Moving the world to where we want to be will take action and collaboration from everyone — and we have seen that progress is possible when we act as a community. If we want to tackle some of the biggest challenges that girls face around the world, we’ll need to find ways to collaborate instead of compete.
Final words of wisdom to all the young women out there who are strategizing to reach their education and career goals?
There is no one path to success! We must redefine society’s standard definition of success and redefine it as our own, in our own terms. Your journey will have many twists and turns, and around every bend in the road, there are new opportunities, new growths, and newfound perspectives to be found.
How can our readers reach you, get involved, or learn more?
We’re a global community of girlz and no matter where you come from, there’s always a seat at our table. Become a mentor or mentee to join us!
Our Website: https://www.girlzftw.com/
Link to Apply:: https://www.girlzftw.com/apply
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/girlzftw