|Our Cofounder & CEO – Dena Patton
Dena is an author, speaker, coach and expert on greatness and human potential. Since 2000 her Training and Greatness Methodology has worked with thousands of leaders, celebrities and CEO’s helping them to learn the skill sets to thrive and become the leader or world changer they were born to be. Through this journey of training adults, she realized that this type of leadership and SEL work is typically being taught to females at age 32 (early career years) and not when it’s really needed, age 12. That. is. 20 years. too. late. Her mission has been to advance women in the world through her work, which in 2009 grew to include girls when her and 3 friends started Girls Rule. They set out to redesign Dena’s women’s program to include a “girls version”. That version became a workshop and then later became 2 programs, then in 2013 became Girls Rule Foundation 501c3. Through the growth of the organization, we now have five leadership and empowerment programs based in our 12 Leadership Principles to serve girls ages 12-18. We can’t expect our girls to thrive if we don’t give them the tools, skillsets and mindsets to do so.
One of her favorite things about Girls Rule is that it has also become a platform for many other men and women with the same passion to advance women and girls in the world. Girls Rule Foundation is possible because of our people: 75 volunteers, 4 committees and 2 Boards.
Girls Rule is where Dena dedicates her philanthropy time and money, and she wants to see the programs reach more girls in the coming years through more distribution partnerships and funding partners. She is the author of, The Greatness Game, which $1 of each book gets donated to Girls Rule. “Youth development through SEL and leadership is important especially now that girls have so much access to social media/messaging/outside influences, and they have so many distractions that 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.”
Watch the story of Girls Rule Foundation on Spark Stories TV here.
- The Core Values for running our organization:
1. We are committed to having team members, vendors, and employees who know WHY our organization exists and are crusaders for the cause.
2. We are committed to clean communication – in all we do we lead by example in our words and actions. No drama, no negativity, no gossip. Ever.
3. We are committed to creating a fun and empowering environment in everything we do for our clients and our teams.
4. We are committed to leading with integrity and intention – we plan our work and work our plan.
5. We are committed to intentionally making wise and healthy choices that further the mission and efforts of the organization, not ourselves.
6. We are committed to creating a ‘we’ community of girls and women who encourage each other’s success within the organization and outside.
7. We are committed to working and leading from a place of love, focus, fearlessness, and empowerment.
8. We are committed to having a financially well-running organization and make wise decisions to accomplish that.
9. We are committed to being brilliant, beautiful and bold role models and advocates in the world for all girls and women.
10. We are committed to teamwork to make the dream work and ask for help and collaboration when needed.
- Our Why:
Why does the Girls Rule Foundation focus on developing, mentoring and educating teen girls? First, our commitment is rooted in our personal passion to advance women and girls in the world. Second, Arizona is one of the worst states to be a girl through statistics like; dropouts, sex trafficking, teen pregnancy, self-harm, and suicide and overall phone/social media addictions. Third, 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 SEL and leadership skills are being taught, on average, 20 years too late for females. 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. Lastly, because all girls deserve equal training and equal opportunity to become leaders and world-changers.
We teach SEL and Leadership directly to girls because girls often do not get taught these skills until later in life. Without these skills it makes it harder to navigate through the pressures, distractions, addictions, temptations, and media that pull on all tween/teen girls. We all know that our youth will inherit complex social and economical problems in the future. We must equip them to be able to have the communication, leadership, self-esteem and problem-solving skills to confront these issues and become the next generation of leaders. But we start with today and the top 7 that every girl is challenged with:
1. Peer pressure/bullying/cyberbullying
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. The rise in 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.
- Lower suicide rates
- Lower bullying experiences
- Lower number of abusive teen relationships
- Raise the number of girls to college
- Raise the number of girls to leadership roles
- Raise the number of girls trained in empowerment and leadership skills
- Our Social Impact & movement:
In addition to the educational programs we also reach people electronically – through our newsletter, our App, 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! Get involved here!