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“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Stacy Taubman, founder of Girls Dreaming Big as she explained the drive behind her new startup, RISE Collaborative Workspace. “Being a teenage girl in high school is hard. These girls are in survival mode just trying to get through the day; they’re not thinking about future possibilities. But what if they could see strong, successful women making an impact? Imagine high school girls working on their homework and 100 feet away impressive women are holding a meeting in the boardroom. That’s life changing!”
Why mentoring and support for young women is so important
Stacy’s passion for mentoring teen girls stems from her 12 years teaching high school math and helping young women as they struggled to find a voice. After a tragedy and the loss of one of her students, Stacy took action and founded Girls Dreaming Big, a program that combats the myriad of issues facing young women today.
As Stacy began to interview successful women as potential mentors, she found two common themes: An eagerness to help young women fully realize their potential and a longing for collaboration, community and support among other businesswomen. During this process, Stacy met Mary Jo Gorman, lead managing partner of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs, who offered to mentor her in the business and details of building a company. That’s when the idea for Rise Collaborative Workspace began to form.
Women join together to encourage one another’s success
“The media today portrays women as mean,” Stacy says, “but the truth is, women are eager and willing to help one another. We just need to give them an opportunity.” Proof of this was evident at the RISE launch party last Thursday, Sept. 17.
“It was invigorating being around all these women brought together in a supportive female community,” said attendee, Jocelyn Seagraves. “I didn’t want to leave; I wanted to stay all night.”
And if that weren’t evidence enough of the need and willingness of women to help one another, there are the facts: With more than 23 sponsors, the launch party was 100% funded through donations by women owned and operated companies. Taubman says the RISE advisory board is made up of women who are the “best in their fields,” everything from marketing to accounting and finance to entrepreneurship. For these women, RISE is more than a coworking space: they are creating opportunities for young women while supporting one another as strong, successful businesswomen.
And when will that space open? “We are in talks with investors and plan to open the coworking space early next year,” said Taubman. “There is a roll out plan for opening our first location in St. Louis, then St. Charles, then on to nationwide.”