Last year, I won an award. As I stood at the podium giving my genuinely surprised and emotional acceptance speech, I found the words coming out of mouth 'I will do something powerful with this award, I want girls like me, who started out from humble beginnings, to know that they can achieve anything'
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a woman of my word. I set out thinking about how I could help girls. My first foray was to provide workshops for teen Mums, but I didn't feel that was enough and I wasn't sure I was the right person to make a difference with that audience.
Then I thought, what about a conference for teen girls, a large scale conference that brought together girls from all walks of life, from all races, a truly inclusive day, that inspired, increased their career aspirations and helped them recognise that they could make a social impact in the world. As a mother of a teen, I had been researching the stats and recognised that teens really need our support:
• An Ofsted survey of 150,000 children found that by the age of 10 a third of girls cited their bodies as their main source of worry.*
• 16% of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds have avoided going to school because they felt bad about their appearance and 20% have avoided giving an opinion in public because of it.*
• Nearly a third (31%) of boys believe women politicians are not as good as men.*
• Twenty per cent of girls said they were put off a career in science because they saw them as 'jobs for boys'*
You probably have great ideas daily, like me, but most just disappear, because you might not have: time, energy or know how to put them into action. However I started to share my idea, saying "I am running a Teen Conference...' and you know what, the people who could help to make it happen were attracted to the idea.
So where are we at?
Well Rocking Ur Teens CIC is formed. Our first Teen Empowerment Conference is taking place on the 12th March and is being hosted by Thomson Reuters. We are over subscribed, with 200 13-14 year old girls attending, and amazing speakers on board. We have ambitious plans for the future to include boys and girls, and extend our reach beyond the UK over the next 5 years.
If you are interested in getting involved, do get in touch; we'd love to partner with Corporate organisations who know that teens are their future workforce and are prepared to invest in them.
And if you want to make a difference in the world, my advice is 'just do it'
* Source: UK Feminsta http://ukfeminista.org.uk/take-action/generation-f/statistics/
Jenny Garrett is the Award Winning Coach and founder of Reflexion Associates, a leadership and coaching consultancy. She's also the author of Rocking Your Role, a how-to guide to success for female breadwinners. Creator of the online coaching programme the Happenista Project and co-founder of Rocking Ur Teens CIC