|Our Cofounder & CEO – Dena Patton
Dena has a calling and a passion to advance and empower women and girls. Since 2000 she has worked with thousands of women and girls helping them access their own power, voice, greatness and dreams. Her passion is to find other men and women with the same purpose and passion.
In 1994 she followed her own dream to move from Phoenix to NYC at 22 with only $1500 in her pocket. She opened her own business at age 24, but she soon experienced a minor stroke at age 27 from the results of stress and being a workaholic. She quickly adopted self-care, boundaries and transformational self-development work, which was life changing! During the next 12 months, she was recovering and taking speech therapy. She was very blessed to have been able to sell her business to a tech startup, and in that time she also found a deeper calling to work with women and girls. In 2000 her path led her to become a global speaker, best-winning author, and coach for leaders and women entrepreneurs which she absolutely adores to this day. Her passion is to help women and girls know their worth, know themselves, know their greatness and know their valuable place in the world as leaders and world changers. In 2002 she moved back to Phoenix then in 2007 with three friends she cofounded The Girls Rule Foundation’s and today we have five leadership and empowerment programs for girls ages 12-18 to help equip our girls to lead and live confidently. Philanthropy has always been important to Dena and she believes it’s an important part of life. Girls Rule is where she dedicates her philanthropy time and wants to see the programs reach more girls in the coming years. She is also the author of, The Greatness Game, which $1 of each book gets donated to Girls Rule.
“Youth development is important especially now that our youth has access to so much media/messaging/influencers, and they have so many distractions which can pull them off focus from their bright future. Programs like ours help girls with the social, emotional and leadership skills they need to thrive as young women and become our next generation of leaders in whatever industry or role they pursue.”
Pictured: Dena (middle) with State President, Stacey Krolak of Women’s Council of Realtors a crucial supporter and sponsor of Girls Rule. As a grassroots, volunteer-based organization we depend on our donors, volunteers, partners and sponsors like WCR. Please learn about the ways you can help our mission and empower our reach to more girls by clicking here.
- Our Why:
Why does the Girls Rule Foundation focus on developing, mentoring and educating teen girls? Arizona is one of the worst states to be a girl through statistics like; dropouts, sex trafficking, teen pregnancy, self-harm, and suicide. We find that disempowered girls often become disempowered women, and our commitment is that empowered girls become empowered women who contribute economically, intellectually, academically, and emotionally in our communities, country, and the world. We find that empowerment and leadership skills are being taught, on average, 20 years too late for girls. We must educate and equip girls with these crucial skills starting at age 12, not 32 if we want more girls to become empowered, successful women and leaders.
Because girls often do not get these skills until later in life it is harder to navigate through the pressures, distractions, addictions, temptations, and media that pull on all girls.
The 7 core things that “pull on” EVERY tween/teen girl in our country:
1. Peer pressure/bullying/cyber bullying
2. Media messages of perfection & beauty
3. Puberty and early puberty
4. Suicide and self-harm is happening around them
5. Teen Pregnancy is happening around them
6. Drugs/drinking is happening around them
7. Cell phones and electronics addictions and dependency
(suicide experts say electronic addiction is one of the main causes behind the rise in suicides)Suicide for girls is at the highest in 40 years along with many other staggering statistics like sex trafficking, phone addiction, drugs, dropouts and teen pregnancy (7100 teen pregnancies in AZ in 2016 alone (1 million nationwide in 2016)). We all know that self-esteem cannot be medicated, and we also know that when girls are equipped with social, emotional, and leadership skill sets that they can build strong self-esteem and powerful skill sets to better navigate their teen years to become successful adults.
- Our Program’s Impact:
We design and lead educational programs so girls have the greatest chances of success in their schooling, their careers, and their lives. Our Foundation for Success Curriculum heavily influences 4 of the biggest areas of our lives: The 4 C’s: choice making, communication, community/relationships, and cash/income. Our goal is to lower self-harm & suicide rates, lower teen pregnancy, raise the number of girls who go to college and raise the number of girls who go into leadership. Overall we want girls to thrive and become successful, fulfilled and happy adults. Through our 4 empowerment & leadership programs, we powerfully impact about 1500 girls per year but with achieving our funding goals we will impact 7,125 girls in 2018-2019.
- Our Social Impact:
In addition to our programs we reach people electronically – through our newsletter, our social media, our online movement, and our Spread Love, Not Hate Challenge. We reach approximately 10,000 people per month.
- Our Tribe:
We are made up of men and women who stand for girls and want to see them thrive. We are made up of financial supporters, sponsors, volunteers, board members, and advocates who help our organization grow to reach more girls. It takes a village so join us!
We believe in girls & we believe in their dreams.
Because girls change the world.