Catalyst | Personal Development | Bridge Builder
Becoming a leader in our own life begins with knowing who we are and what we stand for.
We believe that the journey to self-leadership, economic and social mobility is tied to a fundamental understanding of our core values, key character traits and how we fit into the larger world we live in. We aim to help every girl identify her strengths, recognize her weaknesses and learn how to utilize her unique characteristics to find success in work and life.
In 2013, Foundation For Girls founder, Shreya Mantha, discovered the Global Girls Project — a global storytelling platform that explores the role character and core values play in the global gender conversation. Inspired by the stories and eager to learn more, Shreya reached out to Sharon Reed, co-founder of the project with her then 10 year old daughter, and shared her vision with Sharon for creating a non-profit to serve at-risk girls by nurturing the leader inside of every girl.
What initially began as a mentor-mentee relationship evolved into a collaborative partnership and friendship. Today, this partnership speaks to the power of cross-generational leadership, mentorship and collaboration in helping empower, inspire, and build the next generation of leaders.
While many traditional leadership and job readiness programs focus on developing tactical skills and behaviors that can be applied in a work environment, our program focuses on helping each girl understand who she is and what she's striving for.
Designed to complement our hands-on financial wellness classes and other workshops, our integrated ‘inside-out/outside-in’ approach equips and empowers our girls to develop practical life skills, cultivate their core values, and achieve the self-awareness needed to be successful in life and work.
Our leadership program follows a structured format that incorporates key character traits and principles of personal development in each of its sessions throughout the calendar year. We also incorporate creative content and current events into our discussions and adapt to the changing needs and demographics of our students. This approach increases engagement among our workshop participants and fosters mutual trust and respect, essential for productive learning and growth.
Each 90-minute class aims to:
· Provide an overview of key character traits for success, such as integrity, trust, and personal resilience
· Broaden their understanding of each key principle and learn how to apply them in their lives
For example, our two-part series on trust explores what trust means, incorporates learning activities and facilitated discussion on how to build trust with others, repair trust that’s been broken, and teaches strategies for cultivating self-trust — essential to exercising good judgment and working well with others.
Feedback from our workshop participants reveals that most (if not all) of the girls we teach have lived unstable lives that are rife with struggle, abuse, neglect, and abandonment. This creates both internal and external challenges that impact their ability to develop a sense of personal agency, essential for transitioning from merely surviving to truly thriving and living productive, healthy lives.
"True empowerment begins with the deep knowing you matter."
We believe in nurturing the leader in every girl and youth. As part of this commitment, we are dedicated to fostering an environment of continual learning, growth and development — inviting workshop participants to step into their own voice and leadership, participating as co-facilitators of select sessions in partnership with FFG staff and volunteers. Our experience shows that this approach increases engagement, provides participants the opportunity to apply their learning in a safe environment, grows their confidence, and provides valuable experience.
Sharon is an author, advocate, speaker, entrepreneur, and change-agent for good, with a passion for helping others find their authentic voice and realize their leadership potential.
An active advocate for women and girls’ empowerment, Sharon worked as a communications consultant and Global Community Champion for the United Nations (UN) Empower Women team between 2015-2016. She served as co-architect of the award-winning social media campaign, #iamwoman, and later as project lead and co-editor of the book, Voices of Change, released at UN Headquarters during the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Sharon also serves as Chief Empowerment Officer of the Global Girls Project™, an award-winning not-for-profit storytelling platform she co-founded with her daughter in 2013 that elevates the importance of character and core values in the global gender conversation. Sharon most recently served as program facilitator for KPMG LLP-CREW Charlotte’s inaugural women’s leadership program, Becoming an Authentic Leader, modeled after the eight core principles of the ATHENA International Leadership Model.
Sharon’s work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Shriver Report, Women in Foreign Policy, and UN Women, among others.
In her spare time, Sharon enjoys writing on personal leadership development and creating inspirational art and giftware under the brand, Heart by Design™. A contributing author to three books on hope, she is also the author of Walking the Heart Path: Bite-Sized Bits of Wisdom on Living & Leading from the Inside Out, her first solo book released on March 8, 2017.
Ashley is a Digital Marketing Associate at Dimensional Fund Advisors. A native Texan, she received her BBA in Finance and MS in Marketing from The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout her life, Ashley has found tremendous meaning in giving back to her community. Her motto is “fail fast, fail forward”, and—from her hometown in the Rio Grande Valley, to Austin, to Charlotte—Ashley hopes to continue spreading this message and empowering others to have the courage to pursue anything they desire.
Jeanice is an Author, Blogger/Vlogger, Speaker, and Certified Professional Mindset Coach. Her desire is to empower women across this world to step out of the "BOX" and into FREEDOM. She loves to read, write, spend time with her family and friends, and enjoy all types of outdoor activities. She believes in living her life out LOUD and freely! She has been rescued from the bondage of her past and she believes God has given her THIS moment to not only LIVE, but to help others!
Khiana is currently a Risk Analyst at Bank of America. She is a North Carolina native and graduated from NC State University with a B.S. in Business Administration - Finance. Khiana enjoys traveling, trying new things, and relaxing. She finds happiness in giving back to community and is so excited to be a part of FFG!
Cara joins the team with a background in sales, analytics, and coaching Division I cross country and track. Grateful for mentors who inspire and guide her career, service, well-being, and leadership, she loves helping others realize their potential to grow and give back. Cara resides in Charlotte and works for Brooks Running.
Christie is an Analytic Strategy Consultant at Wells Fargo in Charlotte, NC. After growing up in Ohio, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering at Penn State University, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Analytics and Data Modeling at Northeastern. As a woman who has spent much of her adult life in a male-dominated field, she is passionate about empowering girls to believe they can break free of stereotypes and achieve any goal with positive thinking. Christie hopes to help others find this confidence in themselves through FFG!
"I appreciated the openness and willingness to share from the counselors and other youth."
"I learned how to better appreciate the opinions of others."
"I learned about how to respect myself and develop respect for others.”
"I learned how others I've never met perceive the world and how we have more in common with others than I thought."
"Today was my first day. I expected to hear positive people talk and explain things and I did. I would love to do activities related to our emotions.”
"I learned how to use healthy coping skills when it comes to hard times and how to develop self-trust."
"I learned that people can relate with my problems...that it's okay to have flaws and pain and that I am not alone."
"I appreciated seeing how many common struggles we all have. You would never know there are people going through the same things as you are until you talk about it and are willing to be vulnerable."
"I learned I need a foundation of support and self-trust before I can move forward; self-trust is really hard and complex."
"I enjoyed the way I fit in with the group and how much people were alike."