Girl Scout Leadership Institute - NYC

What happens when you combine the Athena Center’s newly developed Athena CORE10 methodology, a unique set of 10 core competencies specifically developed for women leaders, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, a model based on three keys to leadership––discover, connect and take action? The Girl Scouts Leadership Institute is born!


The Girl Scouts Leadership Institute

For 22 years, the Girl Scouts of Greater New York has conducted a successful Scholars Program, a college and career exploration initiative that has pushed thousands of NYC girls to enroll in and graduate from top colleges and universities. In Version 2.0 of this effort, GSGNY is adding a new focus on girls’ leadership. They have tapped the Athena Center to create a new model of excellence.

The Girl Scout Leadership Institute - NYC has been specially designed to help Girl Scouts in grades 9 through 12 from the five boroughs unlock their leadership potential. Focusing on entrepreneurship in Year 1, the goal is to foster a new generation of leaders who act with courage, confidence, and character to drive systemic change and reform in their communities.  

In the pilot year, which commences in the summer of 2013, the Girl Scouts will, through a competitive admissions process, identify a diverse group of 50 high school girls from the five boroughs to participate in a 10-day Summer Intensive focused on providing a transformative immersion into the world of ethical and effective entrepreneurship. Talented high school students will be guided through the process of creating an idea for a socially responsible business and will work in small teams to develop their ventures. They will gain critical problem-solving skills as marketers, storytellers, public speakers and first-time entrepreneurs.  

In addition to the Summer Intensive, the Girl Scout Leadership Institute will include an ambitious school-year program that will focus on a developing a wide range of leadership skills and exposing young women to dynamic role models and committed mentors. The scouts will be expected to create their own independent projects and will have opportunities to travel as well. Following 2013, we hope to grow the Institute to serve 150 girls from all five boroughs. Athena will work with GSLI-NYC to develop this program, bringing together both organizations’ expertise and experience and our access to a premier and diverse network of women leaders. 


The 2013 Summer Intensive Program: Entrepreneurs in Training

This July, 51 girls attended the Summer Intensive, a transformative 10-day program where they learned to design, develop, market and ultimately pitched a socially responsible business to notable startup community leaders.

Students attended guided experiential workshops that assisted in developing their skills as marketers, storytellers, public speakers and first-time entrepreneurs and worked in small teams to get ventures off the ground that examine problems in need of solutions that also use their existing skills and interests. They were coached by experienced entrepreneurs and educators passionate about promoting women-owned startups.

Meet Our Instructors and Pitch Panelists

The series of workshops range from Product Design and Development to Getting Funded and Business Naming; each providing insight into entrepreneurship and helping students become successful first-time entrepreneurs themselves. Workshop highlights include:


●  Storytelling, which will help students learn how the craft of storytelling can be leveraged to tell the story of their business in a fun and compelling way. It will be lead by Michaela Murphy, a playwright, digital storyteller and social media guide whose clients include Estee Lauder and Microsoft, among others, and who has been featured on NPR, the Moth Mainstage, and the Clinton White House.

●  Customer Analysis and Market Research, where students will learn strategies for designing a business idea that is rooted in a deep understanding of the needs of their target audience or customer. Sessions will be led by instructors Grace Ng and Adam Berk, from Lean Startup Machine, which trains entrepreneurs around the world in a scientific process to create successful companies.

●  Personal Finance which meets the Girl Scouts goal of girls being financially fluent at an early age even as they consider the financial plan for the launch and ongoing survival of their businesses as budding entrepreneurs. This workshop will be lead by Candi Sparks, a financial literacy consultant, author, and motivational speaker who developed Sparks Fly, to provide age- and content-appropriate events, curriculum, books, workshops, and financial coaching and development that is engaging, interactive and fun.

The program also includes field trip days with visits to start-up companies. At the end of the program, students will practice effectively communicating their ideas with top entrepreneurs and investors during the culminating Pitch Fest.

From the 10-day program, the two organizations aim to build future leaders, and plant the seeds of entrepreneurship for the future.


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