I don't want to step on anyone's toes But...

I think I always tried to be polite--here's me at a birthday party raising my hand...Heaven forbid I spoke out of turn.

I think I always tried to be polite--here's me at a birthday party raising my hand...Heaven forbid I spoke out of turn.

I've realized, with the help of others, that I worry about stepping on people's toes too often. It's something I've always worried about. I have my own ideas and opinions, but worry that by putting them out there I might somehow "come on too strong" (whatever that means), hurt someone's feelings, or challenge the status quo in a way that makes people uncomfortable.

The first time I ever remember anyone bringing this aspect of my personality to my attention was when I had the chance to read a copy of a recommendation a high school guidance counselor had written about me in high school--it said something like "Leslie is a passionate person with a gentleness that sometimes gets in the way."

My mind was blown--as I had never thought about myself in just that way, but I realized it was very true. There are things I care about SO MUCH but I'm hesitant to put them out there too strongly. 

But the thing is, I've realized recently that no one has ever accused me of stepping on their toes. So I don't know why I worry about it so much. In fact, I had a wake up call a couple of years ago when I was about to speak up in a team meeting where I was working at the time.  I prefaced what I said with "I don't want to step on any one's toes but..." And my friend and co-worker at the time, interrupted me to say "Leslie-you ALWAYS say that and you NEVER step on ANYONE'S TOES...just tell us what you want to say! We really want to hear it!" 

There was something quite empowering about that moment. It made me realize the world can handle what I put out there--the only one holding me back is me...not other people's toes. Other people's toes are just fine...

And so I am going to speak up now about something now that I am passionate about. And I'm going to trust that you, lovely readers, are wearing closed-toed shoes and have nothing to worry about.  

What am I passionate about these days?

Empowering girls and women. To raise a whole generation of girls that aren't afraid to step on anyone's toes, especially when it comes to things they are passionate about. To help make it easier today for women to speak up about things that matter to them. Because I don't think I'm alone in my concerns about toes. It reminds me of this commercial from 2014 about women saying "I'm sorry" too much and when it is completely unnecessary (and when often they are the ones owed an apology). Or Jennifer Lawrence's recent letter in Lenny about her challenges with asking for the same pay as her male co-stars. She reached a point where she said: "I’m over trying to find the “adorable” way to state my opinion and still be likable!" Hear hear!

I want to help girls and women speak up more and be confident of their own worthiness and value that they bring to the table, whether that's the water table, dinner table, or boardroom table. 

But I can't do that if I don't speak up myself. So here goes...

I need your help. I've been working for Moms as Mentors, essentially unpaidfor two years. And I can't keep doing that. If we aren't able to raise enough funds during this crowd-funding campaign, I'm going to have to stop working on Moms as Mentors®. And that breaks my heart. Because, despite a lack of funds these last 2 years, the one thing we haven't lacked is AMAZING positive feedback about our programs. I just came across this quote today from a mom who had participated in one of our programs: 

"This is a wonderful and empowering experience. I knew my daughter and I would enjoy the time together, but I never realized how much it would mean to her. At least twice a month she tells me she wants to do another MOM program. She says that she had so much fun, and she loved how it was just the two of us. We would love more programs to be offered and for them to be offered more frequently. There is no other program out there with this unique female-empowering and mother-mentoring approach. It's something that all mothers and daughters should be able to experience."

We have many more testimonials just like that one. 

And we're not going to be able to develop new programs if I worry about stepping on people's toes. 

To support our campaign, click the image above!

To support our campaign, click the image above!

And so I ask you, PLEASE consider making a contribution of any size to our IndieGogo campaign. Every little bit helps. Really. You could donate $1 and that would be helpful. But, if I'm really putting it all out on the line, please consider giving MORE than a $1. Heck, if you can, give a LOT!

And share this blog post with the women in your life. And, also please share it with the amazing men out there who want their wives, sisters, aunts, mothers, daughters, granddaughters to know they deserve an equal seat at the table and have the confidence to pursue their dreams, take healthy risks, try try again and more. And encourage them to make a contribution (and then share the post). 

You can donate to the campaign here

Thank you.

Best wishes,
Leslie

JOIN THE OTHERS WHO BELIEVE IN OUR WORK TO IMPACT THE NEXT GENERATION OF FEMALE LEADERS.
 

Don't wait.

Our Empower Moms. Empower Girls. campaign ends on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2nd.

DONATE NOW and your gift will be matched through our "MOM MATCH CHALLENGE"


JOIN OUR CAMPAIGN HERE!

 

 

 

 

 

 


We all need power poses!

Hi Friends,

For the last 2 minutes, I stood in the "Wonder Woman" high power pose.*

Why?

Because I myself am trying to build my own confidence--as I start this blog, and put myself, Moms as Mentors® and our crowd-funding campaign out to the world, where it is beyond my control what happens and how we are received.

These days there is more and more talk about encouraging girls to take healthy risks, to be confident, expect bumps along the way and be fueled by failure, not paralyzed by it. But this is something I too need to learn-it isn't something that was ingrained in me as a girl. It wasn't until I started working in the "girl-serving space" (an admittedly bizarre term meaning I've worked for organizations devoted to helping advance women and girls) that I really started to learn how much confidence is an issue for so many women.

Along my way, I have accumulated tips and tools to help build confidence, ones I try to use myself and also ones to share with girls and women. One of those tools was "power poses"--using confident body-language even when you don't feel confident as a way to not only project confidence but actually start feeling more confident. That's why we incorporate learning "high power poses" (and distinguishing them from "low power poses") into a game we play with moms and girls at our programs. I'm always moved by the idea that the girls in our program days, months or years later, might go into a bathroom stall for 2 minutes and stand like wonder woman before a big test, a class presentation or even a college interview. And, I love that we are also sharing these power poses with the moms in our program, because they too can benefit from power poses, (before a job interview, an important business meeting etc.). 

Power Poses have been on my mind lately because I just bought a ticket to go see Amy Cuddy herself discuss her new book which I'm so excited to read, called Presence, Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest ChallengesIt's a great time for me to read this book and hear her speak, because it is taking my boldest self to lead this crowd-funding campaign. And, it's hard to be bold. I need all the help I can get, even if that means standing like Wonder Woman before writing a blog post!

Thanks for reading,
Leslie

P.S. Do you have any confidence-building tips to share? If so, please pass them on! 

*For those you not familiar with power poses, I  highly recommend you take the next 20 minutes to watch this TED talk by the expert Amy Cuddy responsible for bringing world-wide attention to the power of power poses. 

New Year, New Everything!

Happy New Year Friends!

It is a new year indeed at Moms as Mentors®. I get overwhelmed just thinking about all that's going on! As you may notice, we have a brand new website (which will be a work in progress!) that gives us the capacity to keep you all more up-to-date with what's going on and us the chance to be more connected to you.

We're particularly excited about this new blog, which we plan to use as a space where we can really be ourselves with you, be vulnerable and let you inside what's going on as we build this organization into what we know it can be.

We know that being a mom means being busy, and so we will try to reserve sharing what's most important with you in our email updates. Here, we will share what's on our mind in longer form, with the expectation that you probably don't have time to read it all. But, if you need a break from the daily grind, or want to hear from real people dealing with the real struggles and demands of growing a non-profit, we'll be here. While I personally am not a mom (which is a huge reason why I am able to devote so much time to Moms as Mentors), the one thing I've noticed as so many close friends and colleagues have become moms over the years, is how often moms feel guilty about not being perfect or be everything to everyone. So often this is intensified by things like Facebook, where other moms appear to have it all together, with the photo of the perfect holiday craft activity they found on Pinterest that they did with their children last night while your kids were fighting and to quiet them down, you sat them in front of the TV for an hour. At Moms as Mentors, we don't want moms to feel that they need to be perfect (the best mentors in our lives are never perfect and always human), and so we are going to show you that we aren't perfect either!

The first thing we are going to let you in on throughout January is our crowd-funding campaign. This campaign, which has now officially launched, is SO important to us and the future of the organization...and yet we are new to crowd-funding and will be learning as we go. And, since we will assume no one has the time to be reading this, let us know if you find yourself following us along this journey! Post a comment, shoot us an email or message us on FB/Twitter. If you have advice, questions, shared experiences, we want to hear from you.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading and we hope you come back again soon.

Best wishes,
Leslie


Top 12 Tools to Empower Girls (and Their Moms!)

We wanted to make it easier for all moms and girls to have bonding and empowering moments at home. 

That's why we created the Empowerment Toolkit for Moms and Girls.

WE'VE CHOSEN OUR FAVORITE TOOLS TO:

  • Strengthen the mother-daughter bond

  • Promote girls' and moms' confidence

  • Spark girls' interest in STEM 

(While we made this toolkit with girls and women in mind, the items we’ve selected can be just as empowering for the boys and men in your life ).

Here are a couple of our favorites from the toolkit:  

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 4.44.14 PM.png

1) BASIC ROOMINATE. As featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and designed by two female engineers, Basic Roominate is a do-it-yourself wired dollhouse building kit with hands-on building and circuits. Makes STEM fun while promoting critical STEM skills like creativity, tinkering, problem-solving and spatial skill development.

2) YOUR FANTASTIC ELASTIC BRAIN by JoAnn Deak, Ph. D. and illustrated by Sarah Ackerley. This wonderful book introduces in a fun and engaging way the important idea that, like lifting weights strengthens your muscles, you can strengthen your brain by trying new things. And, in fact, making mistakes is how brains learn.

Moms as Mentors Launches Its First Crowd-Funding Campaign!

Moms as Mentors® is at an inflection point in its growth and development. The organization is poised a make a substantial difference in the lives of girls and women, as well as the next generation’s workforce and leadership. To date, we have more demand for programs than we have the capacity to create and offer.  The first goal of our campaign is to provide us with the financial resources necessary to sustain us while we develop the  infrastructure that would allow us to scale our ability to run programs and be able to rely on program fees. If we are able to surpass this goal, we will be able to develop and run a series of moms-only educational workshops, fund more staff hours to accelerate our ability to grow and run a series of programs to underserved communities at no cost to the participants.

    The Impact 

    Your gift can allow us to offer our programs at reduced rates to under-served mothers and daughters who wish to participate in our unique programs. It’s a small investment that can lead to a large impact of the lives of these young women and their mothers as well. If you don’t believe us, listen to the words of some of our past participants who are the true recipients of your donations:

    • "It's an awesome program to get behind and really support. It's so important to support our young women and encourage them in areas that we might not think to, like STEM. There really are a lot of subconscious attitudes in our culture that steer young girls away from feeling confident in math and science and engineering. The Moms As Mentors programs tackle those preconceived expectations and make it fun at the same time."-- Mother Participant

    • "One of the things that struck me as we were driving home is that there are plenty of places to do stereotypical mother and daughter activities, art, shopping, beauty etc however; never have I been able to "use my brain" and "work" with my daughter on problem-solving.  The day gave me an opportunity to model an example of what to do when challenged and showed [my daughter] that parents also need time to figure things out!  I loved loved loved the fact that we did something "smart" together!"-- Mother Participant

    Challenges We Face

    After every Moms as Mentors® program, participants will ask "when's the next one?"

    Sadly, the truth is often… “we're not sure,” or “not for awhile.”

    We would love nothing more than to be frequently running programs in which mothers and daughters:

    • work together
    • play together
    • create together
    • reflect together.

    In the real world, however, our ability to develop and run programs is severely limited.

    As a volunteer-run organization, we lack the resources to regularly deliver programs for busy moms to connect with their daughters.

    That’s why we need your help to keep Moms As Mentors running programs for mothers and daughters of your community, to build strong and lasting effects that the girls will be able to take with them for years to come. You can make a difference with just one gift. 

    Donations of any size make a big difference. Please consider making a meaningful tax-deductible contribution toward of 2015-2016 campaign. Thank you for your support!

    Don't wait. Donate now.

    Other Ways You Can

    We know not everyone is able to donate, but everyone can give. Beyond your money, we need help spreading the word.

    • Thumbs Up- Like and Share Moms as Mentors on Facebook to let people know about our unique organization

    • Make Some Noise- tell your friends about Moms as Mentors using the Indiegogo share tools!