Tuesday, July 28, 2015

“Creating the World’s Future Leaders and Executives” by Ariana Freitag


Girl Scouts has provided me a lot of amazing opportunities. I am an Ambassador Girl Scout with Troop 583 in Austin, as well as the team captain of the GSCTX Lady Cans robotics team. I recently had the privilege of attending the sixth annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) in Berlin, Germany, and participating in the inaugural Youth Track module of the conference. Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, was a keynote speaker, and Dell Corporation, one of our major supporters, generously invited two Girl Scouts to attend with her. The conference is one of many of Dell’s initiatives to support the empowerment of women in business and technology and to reach girls and young women early to prepare them for their participation in the growing global economy.

The conference was attended by over 150 female entrepreneurs and executives from all over the world, who took advantage of the opportunity to network and connect with resources to help them expand their businesses. Being in the rising technology hub of Berlin—networking with adults and other kids, attending workshops on subjects ranging from presentation skills to product marketing—was truly amazing. I also got to spend a day sightseeing around the city. Along with the amazing technology everywhere, the modern architecture was outstanding.

The Youth Track at DWEN was attended by over 20 young people from diverse backgrounds. The program was developed by two amazing young women, Jordan Howard and Cynthia Hass, Youth Innovation Advisors for Dell. The Youth Track was focused on educating participants about the process of developing our own start-up and pitching it to potential investors. We went from brainstorming ideas to creating a three-minute pitch presentation in just two days. We also attended workshops on creating concise pitches and heard from the adult entrepreneurs about their experiences as business owners and innovators. After a lot of hard work I presented my startup idea as a closing presentation to the DWEN attendees. This was one of the most awesome things I have ever done, and after that moment I was even more certain that I wanted to become an entrepreneur, own my own business, and be its CEO.

Getting to meet the CEO of Girls Scouts of the USA was pretty cool, too, and having a private chat with her was not just exciting but also impactful. Anna Maria Chávez’s keynote speech about the importance of Girl Scouts left me feeling inspired to keep supporting girls in both Girl Scouts and around the world. I share her belief that empowering young women is “not a job, but a mission.” She continually called us, the two Girl Scouts in attendance, her bosses, and she is always open to hearing feedback from any Girl Scout. I even got an “Eagle One” patch—Ms. Chavez’s signature patch—to put on the back of my sash so I could remember this moment forever.

Looking back at my experience at DWEN, I am so grateful I got the opportunity to represent Girl Scouts at such an amazing event. Girls have so many opportunities available to them, they just need exposure to what’s out there and the chance to build the skills that will enable them to meet the challenges ahead. Any girl can be an entrepreneur if she wants to. Events like DWEN provide exposure to valuable information and networking opportunities, and prepare young girls to become the innovative CEOs of tomorrow. I hope that one day I will attend DWEN as an executive and that I will see more Girl Scouts at the Youth Track as well. 

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