The San Francisco-based non-profit Career Girls held a workshop Saturday, Aug. 3 at the 12th Annual “Attend & Achieve” Back to School Rally at Oakland City Hall.
The panel and workshop featured six local women who shared their professional journeys to inspire more than 125 6th and 8th grade girls to pursue their full potential in and outside of the classroom this school year.
The workshop included a discussion about the challenges young girls in Oakland face that present potential barriers to achieving academic and personal success, such as what to do when no one is encouraging you to pursue your dreams or how do you find joy in addition to enjoying career success.
The workshop offered tools to help the girls understand their strengths, explore the right career for them and discussed how choosing the right friends aids in their success.
Recent studies show that girls of color in Oakland had “uniquely negative experiences” at school. In fact, one-third of the district’s girls are Black, and 2 out of 3 Black girls are suspended. Among all girls, Black girls are most likely to be chronically absent and least likely to graduate. Having positive role models is key to helping young girls in Oakland and around the world discover their own path to empowerment.
The workshop included a panel moderated by Career Girls founder and executive poducer Linda Calhoun featuring Marisa Rodriguez, director, San Francisco Office of Cannabis; Lauren Spencer, actor, theatre instructor & activist; Lynn Reddrick, manager of the Supplier Diversity Program at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; Charmin BaaQee, civil engineer at Oakland’s East Bay Municipal Water District; arts entrepreneur; architect June Grant, design principal at blink!LAB Architecture; and Olabisi Boyle; vice president of Visa’s Internet of Things (IoT) program.
After the workshop, Career Girls offered career exploration activities for the 500 elementary, middle and high-school girls and their families that attended the rally.
“Career Girls is founded on the dream that every girl around the world, regardless of their background, has access to diverse and accomplished women role models that inspire them to reach for the stars professionally and in life,” said Calhoun. “Reminding these young women that their dreams can come true is the most fulfilling part of what we do. We’re honored to join other like-minded organizations at this year’s rally.”
As a first-generation college graduate, Linda Calhoun wished she had women who looked like her to learn from when she entered the workforce. That’s why Calhoun founded Career Girls in 1996. Careegirls.org provides 11,000 videos of more than 600 diverse women role models sharing tips and insights on topics like choosing careers, developing the right skills, overcoming obstacles and staying motivated. Visit careergirls.org for more information.
Oakland Native Gives Back is a non-profit that addresses chronic absenteeism to ensure all Oakland students graduate from high school – organized the rally. The rally was attended by 1,000 students.