Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)

St. Louis native Stacy Taubman has always taken on roles that involve coaching young people: A gymnastics coach by 15 and the coach of the Kirkwood Pom Squad in her 20s, she worked as a high school math teacher while interning as a school administrator and counselor. Although she appreciated the chance to help others, no position ever felt just right.

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“I knew there wouldn’t be a job that fit exactly who I am, all of my training and what I wanted to do,” she says. “So I thought, ‘How do I create something that utilizes my passions and helps people?’ At the end of the day, I feel the most alive when I am helping and giving back.”

Just what became her passion project? Helping young women achieve their dreams. She left her job as a high school math teacher and created Girls Dreaming Big, a for-profit tutoring and life coaching company for young women that specializes in academic, social and emotional development. Sample initiatives include a service and sightseeing trip to Bali, one-on-one life coaching and an after-school program called Girls Dreaming Big Academy. The latter is kicking off in Atlanta for the 2016-2017 school year. But that wasn’t enough for Taubman.

This past fall she launched a crowdfunding campaign for RISE Collaborative, a co-working space that doubles as a place for young girls to come in to work, collaborate and dream, with successful women there to mentor them.

“Seeing all of the opportunities out there is game-changing—you can’t be what you can’t see,” Taubman says. “If you’re surrounded by these amazing women, you can think beyond your nose and realize you can have this bright, amazing future. Then, when you go back to dumb high school drama, it won’t matter anymore.”

With the goal of being open by later this summer in St. Louis County, RISE Collaborative will hold 12 private offices, a conference room and a classroom. Girls can get involved in the co-working community through internship opportunities, speaker series and networking events. Taubman has even enlisted a few for a teen advisory board that meets once a month to insure what RISE is doing is resonating with young women. “It has to have that cool factor,” she says. “Teens will tell you what they want—you just have to listen to them.”

Taubman credits her recent success to a bit of a role reversal: the mentorship she received from others in the St. Louis startup community. They include Mary Jo Gorman, Managing Partner of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, as well as Scott Levine, Michelle Wiedman, Erin Joy and Jeff Cook. “I can’t tell you how many people have helped me,” she says. “I’ve learned everything completely by the kindness of people supporting me.”


Out of the Office

Sure, entrepreneurship can be a 24/7 gig. But everyone has to to eat, and we want to know what our city’s innovation class is reading, how they de-stress and where they hang out. We asked Stacy for a quick run-down of what she does away from her desk.

Go-to coffee shop? Kaldi’s And what’s your order? Small coffee with cream One word to describe St. Louis right now? Supportive Book you would most recommend to someone? Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown Show you recently binge-watched? Scandal What are you currently listening to? “Hamilton,” the musical Best meal in St. Louis: Where was it and what did you have? My boyfriend Derek is a phenomenal cook. His chicken balsamic is great. Hidden Talent? Teaching Zumba How do you de-stress? Going phone-free and spending time with my boyfriend and family. What is one skill you’d like to acquire? Work-life balance