I've mentioned The Smart Girls Group a few times here, as it is one of the biggest sources of inspiration in my life but I realized that I haven't explained what this incredible organization is, yet! Officially, The Smart Girls Group is "the one-stop shop and sisterhood for the next generation of superstar women." Unofficially, it is one of the greatest opportunities I have ever had and a constant source of both joy and inspiration.
The Smart Girls Group began in 2011 when Emily Raleigh, a senior in high school, wrote a book for her younger sister, Sophie, for Christmas on how to be your very best in high school. She didn't want to stop with the book or keep it confined to her sister, though. She made a New Year's resolution to create The Smart Girls Group so girls from all walks of life could connect and be empowered to be smart and share their "smarts", no matter what they are. Though it began with a monthly online mini magazine, it has grown leaps and bounds since then! It expanded to include a daily blog called the Smart Girls Loop, featuring original content written by Smart Girl Sisters, using a platform that Emily designed herself. In 2012, Emily started her freshman year at Fordham University and was accepted to the Compass Fellowship which supports young entrepreneurs. She received a grant from the Kenneth Cole Foundation that supported the relaunch of The Smart Girls Group to include online classes and an internship program, as well as funding for the first ever Smart Girls Group Conference, slated to take place in New York City next month! The Smart Girls Group (SGG) has been featured in numerous publications such as the Daily Beast's "Women in the World" website, and has won the Camp Campbell grant and the New York Young Entrepreneurs Challenge. In other words, BIG things are coming!
Emily lived in my dorm during our freshman year and I watched the development of SGG throughout the year, all the while thinking, "Wow! How does this girl DO it all?" After months of watching and admiring from the sidelines, I had to jump in. I started as a writer for the Current Events column of the Loop, producing biweekly articles, and I loved getting to write about my passions during the fall semester of my sophomore year. In January, there was a posting for an Operations Intern position and, knowing that I was ready for more, I applied and received an email that changed my life - I got the position! I was ecstatic and couldn't wait to begin.
Emily and I started worked on developing a weekly email newsletter that would showcase content produced my Smart Girls. I've seen how important email marketing can be for a company so I wanted to make Smart Mail, as we named it, a little dose of everything that is the Smart Girls Group delivered right to your inbox. I soon had a staff of five girls writing editorials on a variety of topics, which soon grew to it's present number of 12 superstar Smart Girls working with me to produce Smart Mail. Putting together Smart Mail every Monday night/Tuesday afternoon is one of my favorite parts of the week because I'll jam out to my favorite songs and create something Smart. Smart Mail is my project and I obsess over our readership rates, and shamelessly plug it every chance I get. You know that feeling when you see your work on display and you think, "Wow, I did that!" Well, that's how I feel every Wednesday morning at 7am when my mail notification dings and delivers Smart Mail!
Through the Smart Girls Group, I have developed a love of social media, blogging (!), marketing, and development that I never would have thought myself interested in before. I wear my official Smart Girls Group t-shirt (which I'm wearing now!) with the utmost pride because I believe in SGG so much. It is a community of like-minded women who are bent on changing the world by being smart and sharing their smarts. It has struck the perfect note with me and has left me utterly and completely inspired.
Inspired to be,