Name: Emily Raleigh
Business: The Smart Girls Group, a service that unites driven women through various resources and opportunities
Industry: Social Enterprise
Location: Bronx, New York, U.S.
Reason for starting: I wrote a book for my sister, who was a freshman during my senior year of high school; a how to guide for surviving and succeeding in high school as a Smart Girl. I gave it to her for Christmas and my family really wanted me to get it published. I wanted to do something that would be more than just a book, something that was continuous. That year on I made a New Years Resolution to start The Smart Girls Group, which is now a one-stop-shop for the next generation of superstar women.
How do you define success? Success is knowing that because of you, someone else breathed a little bit easier and lives a little bit better. It is empowering others to find their own success and therefore impacting the world in a positive way.
Biggest Success: By my 20th birthday, I had united 350 young women from across the globe in such a way that they call themselves Smart Girl Sisters. Every girl is so invested in SGG because they have invested their time, which for any ambitious young woman is a lot to ask for, yet we have girls getting involved by the hundreds right now. We were also awarded the 2013 Kenneth Cole AWEARNESS Grant and that was huge for us, because it was based on innovation and social impact.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? My top challenge is redefining what it means to be smart. Society has this stigma that to be smart, we must be good at math or have a perfect SAT score. That’s one kind of smart, but it’s not every kind. I think the problem is that women are really competitive and we are trying to foster the idea that you don’t have to compete but rather lift each other up because everyone will be better that way. We are addressing this with each and every initiative within Smart Girls Group.
Related: 3 Women Who Prove Smart is Beautiful
Who is your most important role model? My most important role model is my nana. She embodies what it means to be a Smart Girl. She is the hardest working woman I have ever met in my entire life, she emanates confidence, and it is astounding how much she cares for other people. She raised four Smart Girls, all who have empowered me to be one, too. She is also an entrepreneur and has worked to revitalize her small mining town as a leader in business there.
Edited by The Story Exchange