“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This is a question often asked of youth from as early as pre-school. Our Women on the Rise Speaker Series intends to show girls there are many different paths to explore by giving access to women who are harnessing their passions and forging new paths. These women are role models for the girls of today and they share their journey revealing successes as well as failures and how they work to pursue their dreams. These events are free and open to the public. Our 2016-2017 season welcomed Monica Yunus, JiaJia Fei and Sarah Robb O'Hagan.

Reshma Saujani

Our 2017-2018 season kicks off with Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, on December 5 in the Simpson Center.  Girls Who Code is a national non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Programs and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.

Reshma began her career as an attorney and activist. In 2010, she surged onto the political scene as the first Indian American woman to run for U.S. Congress. During the race, Reshma visited local schools and saw the gender gap in computing classes firsthand, which led her to start Girls Who Code. Reshma has also served as Deputy Public Advocate for New York City and ran a spirited campaign for Public Advocate in 2013.

Reshma’s TED talk, “Teach girls bravery, not perfection”, has more than three million views and has sparked a national conversation about how we’re raising our girls. She is the author of two books, Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World, the first in a 13-book series about girls and coding, and Women Who Don’t Wait In Line, in which she advocates for a new model of female leadership focused on embracing risk and failure, promoting mentorship and sponsorship and boldly charting your own course — personally and professionally.

Reshma is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Yale Law School. She’s been named one of Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders, Fortune’s 40 Under 40, a WSJ Magazine Innovator of the Year, one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in New York by the New York Daily News, CNBC’s Next List, Forbes’s Most Powerful Women Changing the World, Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People, Crain’s New York 40 Under 40, Ad Age’s Creativity 50, Business Insider’s 50 Women Who Are Changing the World, City & State’s Rising Stars and an AOL / PBS Next MAKER.

Reshma serves on the Board of Directors of the International Rescue Committee, which provides aid to refugees and those impacted by humanitarian crises, and She Should Run, which seeks to increase the number of women in public leadership. 

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