Women's Leadership

Young Women Leaders Making Their Mark in Northern California

In this video clip Val Swan and Patty Burke present a gift on behalf of Center for Creative Leadership to the Girl Scouts of Northern California at the Watermark Entrepreneur Conference.

On October 6th Patty Burke, Business Partner and Val Swan, Societal Advancement Project Director represented the new Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) Northern California team at Watermark’s Entrepreneur Conference 2016 in Mountain View, CA. CCL has an exciting developing partnership with Watermark, the largest women’s membership organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Watermark’s mission is to increase the number of women in leadership positions by empowering their members to make their mark in their companies, careers and communities. More to come in November about another major project that CCL and Watermark will sponsor together.

Patty Burke, Val Swan and Watermark CEO Marlene Williamson

Watermark and CCL’s missions are closely aligned and both organizations are committed to growing and developing the pipeline of young women leaders. To that end, a portion of the proceeds from this conference was donated to the Girl Scouts of Northern California, and Annie Cai, University of California-Berkeley student and Girl Scout alumna shared her Gold Award project at the event. On behalf of this emergent partnership, the CCL team presented Girl Scouts of Northern California with a gift as a special surprise. You will be hearing much more from our Northern California team as our work grows, so stay tuned!

Early Leadership Stories from the California Frontier: This series follows Val Swan, Societal Advancement Project Director who recently moved to Northern California, USA to advance the Leadership Beyond Boundaries’ movement and pave new trails for early leadership development on the west coast. This post was written by Val Swan originally for www.leadbeyond.org.

Young Women’s Leadership Camp Experience

We were thrilled to welcome 16 girls for a week long young women’s leadership program camp experience in July in partnership with the Girl Scouts Peaks to Piedmont council, which included two half day sessions at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL).

The program began on a Sunday evening at Camp Keyauwee program center in Sophia, NC with a viewing of the film Odd Girl Out, based on the book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons, who has done important work on empowerment for girls, including co-founding Girls Leadership. This led to a powerful conversation around bullying and pressures young women face, and set up our objectives for the week, which included: understanding self and seeing ourselves as leaders in every day moments, values, social identity, mental models, strategies for managing conflict, and understanding what motivates and supports us to show up in the world as a person we are proud of.

Margaret Patterson Whitt and I facilitated packed sessions on these themes, and culminated the program creating an empowerment tapestry, which was a great tool that led the girls into creating their own posters containing messages they need to help them be their best selves.

We were also able to welcome in the Women’s Leadership Experience program participants for a quick impromptu hello and to show off what the girls had been up to, which was a very cool alliance that we can hopefully be more intentional about tapping into next time!

I am proud of the work we are doing. We are continuing to explore partnership expansion and scale opportunities with this initiative and are excited for the future.


Here is a snapshot of impact that we heard directly from the girls on their program evaluations from their time with us at CCL:

I learned:
“More about myself” “That girls can do anything” “How to be a better person and how I can help myself get better at stuff” “To lead big groups” “That people have different strengths and different interests” “How to stand up and be proud but not in a bad way” “About social values and things about myself” “About bullying and what to do to prevent it” “To work together and to be a girl and be proud of it” “To be a better leader, a better person, and a little about myself” “How to be a better leader”

I felt:
“That I had to let go of my black heart and have a red one” “Empowered” “Love” “A sense of empowerment” “Loved and more confident about myself” “Inspired by the information given” “Motivated when we did the empowering messages for girls” “Compassion, inspiration, hope, courage” “To be proud of yourself and how to be a leader” “I felt happy to know more about myself” “Special”

What will you do with this information?:
“Use it to be kinder and treat my peers better” “Spread it to other girls” “I will use it to help my middle school and make a difference in the world” “I will get rid of joking that might hurt someone’s feelings” “I will share with my peers and use it when I’m questioning myself” “Pass it on” “Be a better leader” “Share it and pass it on” “I will take the confidence I have here with me!”

*Originally written for www.leadbeyond.org by Val Swan