by Debbie Monterrey

**2017 Fundraiser–Knowledge & Power, Small Bites & Big Ideas**

While women are making incredible advancements in today’s world, it’s still tricky terrain for girls. Mixed messages abound. Be strong (but not too strong, boys don’t like that). Be confident (but not too confident or you’ll look conceited). Stand up for yourself and your opinions (but not too much or you’ll look bossy). Speak your mind (but get shot down for “complaining”).

One organization working to help girls traverse the minefield of conflicting information is Girls In the Know. With programs aimed at giving girls and those who love them the tools to establish a strong sense of self, GITK addresses things like body image, texting, friendship, puberty and other tough issues.

Another extremely important thing for girls is mentors. Girls need to see strong women in positions of power and authority who speak honestly about the challenges they’ve faced climbing the professional ladder.

One such woman is my friend, Debra Hollingsworth. Before retiring several years ago, Deb was the regional vice-president of external affairs for AT&T (formerly SBC, formerly Southwestern Bell). Her position, which included working closely with the company’s regional president and managing the millions of dollars the company doled out to local non-profits, meant she knew just about everyone in town and attended dozens of events each month.

Despite that, Hollingsworth found time to serve on numerous boards and was always approachable, friendly and eager to connect women.

At the GITK annual fundraiser on October 5th, Hollingsworth will be the keynote speaker, talking about The Ripple Effect and how each and every one of us, no matter who we are, can have an impact on the lives of many others.

Girls In The Know is a program that began in St. Louis. It is now a program offered in many school districts and has spread to Chicago. Perhaps someday, the nation.

Girl Power!


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