Troy High School hosts chapter of new organization that means business

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published January 27, 2022

 Troy High School hosts chapter of new organization that means business

Troy High School hosts chapter of new organization that means business

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TROY — Troy High School is home to one of the first chapters of a new organization hoping to guide young women who are interested in learning about business and entrepreneurship.

Known as Girls for Business, it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was founded in June 2020. It is composed of an international team of 120 members whose mission is to expand access to free business education resources and to strengthen female empowerment in the business field.

“The inspiration behind the organization’s creation was really centered around our observing the gaps in business education and female empowerment,” said Rachel Wang, the executive director and co-founder of Girls for Business. “We started it in June 2020, so this was in the middle of quarantine when COVID hit the globe really badly, so Ivy (Shi and fellow co-founder Sophia Shiu) and I took that time and brainstormed together how we could launch an organization that could address these needs. As females interested in business ourselves, we thought this mission would really resonate, so we sought to create both resources and community platforms so we could empower girls like us to become the next generation of businesswomen.”

“We basically used quarantine to brainstorm and eventually launch the organization,” added Ivy Shi, one of the co-founders and a former Troy High School student. “We began with our team of three and started recruiting. We received a surprising number of applications while recruiting potential team leaders, and we knew this was one of the most important parts of our mission, because an organization like this is fundamentally based on the people who are driving it and the passion for working for our joint mission.”

Meera Manek is among the members of Girls for Business and is a student at Troy High School. A member of the analytics and writing team, she helps create newsletters, documentaries and other media for the organization.

“The writing team made a documentary last year, and we spoke with one of the entrepreneurs in Detroit as part of that. She was one of the first female civil engineering entrepreneurs, and that really opened my eyes to how business lessons can be applied in several ways. Girls coming out of Troy High can apply business lessons in a variety of ways, so it’s not just about the finance or marketing aspects that we’re often pushed towards. A business focus can be anything we want it to be.”

Girls for Business breaks its activities down into three organizational objectives: mentorships, community programs and resources.

“The first is centered around a 10-week mentorship program where mentees apply and then we recruit mentors among business school students and young professionals in the business field,” explained Wang. “We match our mentors and mentees based on their areas of interest. The mentees also are educated on topics like economics, finance, entrepreneurship and international business. They explore one of these particular topics in depth and through personal connection. We’ve completed four 10-week cycles so far and have had more than 150 student mentees take part.”

Outreach covers connecting Girls for Business members and recruiting new members. It also focuses on starting new chapters like the one at Troy. So far, there are 15.

“We’ve been working closely with our outreach team to help expand the community platform because we want to create a platform for like-minded girls who are interested in business to empower and inspire each other,” said Shi. “(As part of this) we’ve been hosting events every month, which include workshops, Q & A’s, and panelist discussions. This has covered topics like personal finance, starting a business and managing time.”

The resource program also has goals within the organization and outside of it.

“Our resource program consists of newsletters. We’ve created 35 newsletters so far, which is what our writing team focuses on. We also handle social media like posts on TikTok and Twitter. Writers like Meera will brainstorm an interesting business topic for the newsletter. Then one of our analytics teams will publish different topics on the subject. We recently discussed Spider-Man and how it relates to the Marvel brand, and discussing things like that really make these discussions accessible and understandable to everyone. … We also publish opportunities that readers may want to explore and an interactive advice column where readers can ask questions and get some of our mentors to answer.”

There are seven different teams those getting involved can join in on: the writing team, the mentorship team, the graphic design and art team, the outreach team, the public relations team, the film creation team, and the finance team. It is open to any girl in the middle or high school age range, and there is no cost to join.

“As our organization is primarily geared toward middle and high school girls, we open up program opportunities to pretty much anyone in that age range,” said Wang. “This can be joining a team as a team member or an ambassador or leader of local school chapters. They also can apply for one of our mentorship programs. There are no entrance fees, since we are a nonprofit and we want to bring this to everyone, including underprivileged areas. There are applications and interview processes for certain positions, though.”

COVID-19 has meant Girls for Business has had to largely meet and interact virtually, but its leaders say that hasn’t stopped them from growing.

“Because we wanted to cater our early programs to a large audience, we started virtually. We wanted to connect mentees that are interested in learning more about the business field to experienced mentors. … We’ll be able to do more in person when COVID gets better, but for now this lets us work both across long distances and at a smaller, more impactful level,” said Shi. “Once we had our main initiatives set, which was our newsletter, our mentorship program, and our monthly events, we wanted to begin working to scale our organization up and make it a nationally recognized 501(c)(3). We wanted to target more local communities since we were doing mostly virtual programs at the start. We wanted it to work on a smaller scale, so we started forming school chapters. Members on our director leadership board helped us start Troy High School as one of our first local chapters. I used to attend Troy High School, so I was happy to see us bring it to that community. Now we’re working on starting state and regional chapters and expanding internationally.”

More information on the organization can be found at www.girlsforbusiness.org.

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