When I was a young girl growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the “popular” girls were cute and poised, fun and flirty.  I was none of those things.  I was the “nerd” with her head in a book, sitting in the front row of every classroom and always raising her hand.  I was bullied for being “the smart girl”.

Fast forward to today.  Women are making inroads in every sphere: STEM, business, politics.  In 2019, it’s “cool” to be “the smart girl”.  I’ve been mentoring one for four years.  Her name is Myiah, she lives in poverty, but she drinks in knowledge with a passion.  And it’s MY passion to make sure she is fed!  Twice a week, we get together to play math games, do science experiments, explore museums, visit the library and challenge each other to spell “really hard words” (her words) in a game she calls “Spelling Bee”.

I want Myiah to be “smart”: to know her math facts inside-out, to read above grade-level, to effectively articulate her thoughts on paper and in spoken communication.  But I want more than that for her: I want her to be brave, I want her to be a risk-taker.

Men and women are very different by nature.  It’s very apparent in my business when I counsel either couples or individuals.  Nine times out of ten, women are more risk-averse than men when it comes to investing.  That’s not surprising.  Most women value safety over return.  It circles back to the study results that you’ve all probably heard: if there are ten prerequisites in a job posting, men will apply if they can check off one or two prerequisites, but equally qualified women won’t apply unless they can check off all ten.  Mind-blowing, right?!  Yes, women are making strides, but we’re still woefully behind.

That’s why I want to teach Myiah bravery.  I want her to push aside the fears that naysayers will try to heap upon her, learn how to pick herself back up when she does inevitably make a mistake and brashly go her own way in taking risks on her path to her dreams.  We talk a lot about how women can be astronauts or engineers or even business owners!  I love bringing her to my office and letting her sit in my big chair and play with my adding machine and make copies.  I want her to live a life brimming over with possibility.  I challenge you:  let’s raise ALL of our children to be brave!