By Ivy Lam
This 2020-21 school year, a new club was brought to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by two seniors, called “Girls Who Start.”
Co-founders and co-presidents Abbie Daniels and Sarah Louis recently had their first meeting on Zoom, attracting over 100 students. Additionally, the two also have experience as co-presidents of the Juniorettes, a community of young women who volunteer locally.
“We chose to start a chapter of Girls Who Start at MSD because we are very passionate about empowering women,” Louis said. “We believe that extending this ideology of supporting women would be very beneficial to the community at our school.”
The new club is one of the 2020-21 chapter projects for MSD’s DECA, and most of the attendees were members of DECA from both Hospitality & Tourism and The Academy of Finance.
Girls Who Start is a national non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring more girls to become entrepreneurs. According to their website, “The goal is to provide exposure to other female entrepreneurs, as well as tools and tips on how to start a company or an organization.” The organization has branched out to numerous high schools and middle schools, with one chapter newly introduced at MSD.
Daniels said the mission of Girls Who Start is to give women the tools and opportunities to make their entrepreneurial ideas a reality through hosting events with guest speakers, leadership workshops, and networking opportunities.
“The club is meant to foster and promote young women to become our future entrepreneurs and leaders,” Daniels said.
Anyone who is an MSD student, including men, are welcome to join. The club will have meetings once a month, where they will feature various special guest speakers.
“I joined Girls Who Start because I love empowering girls into getting into higher positions and jobs that are mainly male-dominated,” said sophomore Isabella Ortega. “I look forward to seeing all the guest speakers and see how they got into their position.”
Members are notified through their Instagram @girlswhostart.msd and Remind, a communication platform used by educational institutions. Furthermore, because Girls Who Start is one of the 2020-21 MSD DECA chapter projects, the DECA team has contributed to their overall marketing and outreach to students through social media.
“We have both been members of DECA all four years of high school,” Louis said. “We discussed the project with the advisors, and they were eager to promote us. They support the women empowerment that we promote and use their own experiences to guide us.”
Additionally, Louis and Daniels plan to spread the word about the club to the local middle schools by connecting with the Directors of the DECA Middle School Relations. They are excited to bring the club to younger students in the community to enable them to start their entrepreneurial journeys.
“As seniors, it is important to us that the club will continue for years to come. However, we want to establish members who take the initiative and will inspire future Girls Who Start members,” Daniels said. “Facilitating the expansion of the club to the local middle school is an important additional step to build our DECA chapter project.”
Louis and Daniels will use their connections with the Girls Who Start National organization to find female influencers and leaders willing to speak and spread the awareness of women empowerment.
“I joined Girls Who Start to learn more about entrepreneurship, become a leader, and show the impact females have in DECA,” sophomore Madisyn Fierstat said. “I am excited to be involved with an empowering new opportunity for girls to show their strength and ability, and [to be able] to participate in different events, projects, and opportunities.”
These female entrepreneurs can contact the club through @girlswhostart.msd on Instagram by direct message.
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- Ivy Lam is a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This school year, she is an officer in DECA, Newspaper, and HOSA. Her favorite pastimes include reading, writing, and watching sunsets.
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