Être is a curated resource site where girls can find the tools they need, from teen-oriented news sites to pep talks from collegiate female athletes, ways to connect with mentors and volunteer opportunities. Read more about the organization here! International Day of the Girl is on Friday and that same day, the organization is releasing a book! Founder, Illana Raina will be in Stamford on Thursday evening for “She is Rising” International Day of the Girl Event, to celebrate! Read our interview with the Illana about both the book and the event, below!

Tell us about the “She is Rising” Parent/Daughter Book Event in Stamford on Thursday, October 10.
 
I’m so excited about this event! It’s being hosted by LiveGirl, a terrific Connecticut-based nonprofit focused on building brave and inclusive leaders, so the synergy with Être is unmistakable. I’ll be talking about our new book Être: Girls, Who Do You Want To Be? which officially launches the next day, which means the girls who attend will be getting some of the first signed copies! Plus, Dr. Marni Amsellem will be there talking about The Big Idea Journal! The combination of topics we’re likely to cover – empowerment, mentorship, self-reflection and young ambition – are a great way to start celebrating International Day of the Girl!
 
 
 
What do you hope girls and their parents get out of the event?
 
The event is going to be a great way for girls of all ages to chat directly with authors who are writing for them, ask their questions, and walk away not only with signed books and swag, but clarity about activities they’d like to pursue and actionable steps to help them reach those goals. One of the things we do at Être when we bring girls into companies to meet female leaders, is to encourage them to ask any question on their mind. Anything. The best way to learn about what someone does – whether that person is an engineer at Google, an executive at Spotify, a product designer at YouTube or a trader at the NYSE – is to raise your hand and ask. Thursday’s She Is Rising event will be the same – we want girls to ask us anything they want about starting companies, writing books, mentoring younger girls…whatever they want.
 
 
 
What does International Day of the Girl mean to you?
 
For seven years now, October 11th has been designated by the United Nations as the International Day of the Girl. Created to spotlight the unique challenges faced by girls today and raising awareness for girls’ empowerment worldwide, the day brings a spark of girl power and renewed energy every fall. This year’s theme is GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable, and girls can learn more about it here. On a personal level, the day always reminds me of the role models who came before me and the obligation I have to the girls who follow. I was blessed with so many remarkable female role models growing up and in my legal career; if I can provide girls from every background with direct access to accomplished women in interesting fields – and do it early enough that it opens their eyes to what’s possible – I feel like I am doing my part. Doing it on International Day of the Girl just makes it even more special.
 
 
 
International Day of the Girl is particularly exciting for you this year because your book, Girls, Who Do You Want To Be? comes out that day! Tell us about the book!
 
Yes! I’m so excited I don’t know where to start! It’s a magazine-style compilation of Être’s articles and interviews, breaking down big topics like financial confidence, philanthropy, mentorship and entrepreneurship for girls, alongside quotes from 40 luminary women and 50 girls across the country. As Être means “To Be” in French, each chapter is keyed off this concept (#BeSmart, #BeWi$e, #BeInnovative…), and it’s full of our Insta images making it fun to flip through. Think: a coffee table book for girls who don’t drink coffee. Or own tables. The last chapter has a great resource section so girls can follow any of the rock star women we interviewed and learn more about the companies who have hosted our visits so far. The book hit Amazon’s #1 New Release in Self-Esteem for Teens and Young Adults in our first week of pre-sales…we can’t wait to actually see it released on Day of the Girl!
 
 
 
What was your inspiration for the book?
 
The book is really an extension of the Être platform I founded in 2016 – I just didn’t realize I was writing a book! When my daughter was in middle school and I was a lawyer at a huge firm, I realized she had no idea what I did all day. At all. More than that, she didn’t know what any of my talented friends were doing either. She didn’t know because she wasn’t seeing it in person, and at the time I thought this is fixable. My original idea of a Girls’ Summit, putting girls in front of women with cool jobs, turned instead into the Être website – an ongoing way to provide free resources and role models. The book is a tangible version of that – incorporating my articles in The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Ellevate and other outlets with wisdom shared by the incredible women we’ve met. My daughter was the original inspiration for Être, but every curious girl out there with her hand raised was the motivation for the book.
 
 
 
What do you hope it does for young girls’ self esteem?
 
I hope it sparks, bolsters and springboards their self-esteem into the raw confidence they need to navigate their middle and high school years. Studies have shown that middle school is the time when self-esteem can falter across so many areas – girls may quit their sport, duck the hard math class or stop raising their hands. Add this confidence drop to the fact that middle schoolers are often underestimated in important areas – think financial literacy, the ability to have a philanthropic impact, the impact of their collective voices – and I can’t think of anything better than arming young girls with the confidence to see their interests through. If my book, or any book, can encourage a girl to raise her hand instead of lowering her standards, that’s all kinds of good.
 
 
 
What else can we expect from Etre Girls this year?
 
We’ll be traveling a bit this fall for the book (come find us in NYC, Chicago, Dallas, Orlando, Palm Beach and more to say hi!), and our next Lunch & Learn visit will be at Billboard in November. We’re already thinking about a next book and will be releasing new interviews soon, like one with four high school students whose science experiments are going up with NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, and another with 11 year-old opera singer Emanne Beasha from America’s Got Talent! We’re always looking for new Board members (believe it or not, our Advisory Board is made up entirely of middle and high school-age girls), so email us if you’d like to join, start a Club Être chapter at your school or just come on a Lunch & Learn visit! Être is only three years old, so expectations are wide open as we grow with our girls. Come join us!

Want to join Thursday’s event? RSVP here!

 

Headshot by Erin Borzellinobook. Book image by SLT Consulting

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