About 40 Southwest Florida women in business mentored 140 girls as part of the 16th annual Girls Going Places® Entrepreneurship Conference on May 6 at Florida Gulf Coast University.
The Girls Going Places® conference is a partnership between Alliance Financial Group and the Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University. It is designed to mentor and educate young women, ages 12 to 18, in the areas of entrepreneurship, careers and financial independence.
“Girls Going Places here in Fort Myers is a wonderful collaboration between Florida Gulf Coast University, Alliance Financial Group and the Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Center,” said Betsy Steiner, national facilitator for Girls Going Places. “We’ve got over 40 schools participating. They’ve sent 140 girls and these young ladies are spending the day with 35 mentors who are today’s entrepreneurs, and in fact, these young ladies are getting exposure so they can think of entrepreneurship as a path to their own financial independence and their own future career success.”
Local women business owners, career executives, and entrepreneurs inspire girls through activities and discussions that will introduce them to the areas of leadership, entrepreneurship and financial responsibility.
“I’ve been proud to be involved with thisprogram for the last 16 years, helping to educate our future leaders,” said Lynne Tarman, of Alliance Financial Group, the Girls Going Places director. “These girls leave here empowered, knowing they can pursue any career they want or they can create their own job path through entrepreneurship.”
During the conference, Tarman and others thanked Dan Regelski, the Regional Director of the Florida SBDC, for his years of support. It was his final Girls Going Places Conference since he is retiring.
“This day is important to me because this is the seeds of our community. These girls come here with ideas, options, ways to make change but they don’t know how to harness it,” said Dr. Mary Kay Peterson of Radiology Regional Center. “So we are using mentors and leaders in the community to help these young women formulate, open up, learn from each other and give back. All we are doing is watering the seeds in our own community. It’s a fabulous day.”
“Today has been a great experience. I’ve learned that in order to succeed first you must fail and you never lose until you quit,” said Gulf Coast High School Sophomore Vasy Montague.
For more information about Girls Going Places and to see more photos and video, visit the website at girlsgoingplaces-afg.com.