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#GirlsClub Summer Camp: Should I Stay or Should I Go?

The time is coming where we say goodbye to our incredible group of International campers in #GirlsClub Summer Camp and move into preparation for the Generation 3 certification cohort. It also means Generation 2 superstars, who enjoyed extended camp instead of our finale conference (thank you, COVID), are also leaving the nest. That was hard to type.

I hope you’ll allow me to use this space to talk briefly about what we loved during Camp, and what we learned. I’ll also drop some highlights for our next program.

When we learned our finale conference was a no-go we wanted to do something special for our Generation 2 graduates who told us they didn’t want #GirlsClub to end – and frankly neither did we. We were all just tucking into our quarantine in June, and we relished the support, the influx of happy faces, and the overall positivity of our #GirlsClub crew. And since we’ve always been virtual, it was just something that worked amid so much that wasn’t.

Enter amazing sponsor LevelEleven at JUST the right time and we were able to keep our doors open – and even extend them to hopeful future Proteges to check out “Girls Club Lite” this summer. Like all good camps, it was mostly about fun – requirements were loosened, the content was trimmed, and rules and regs were ignored. A few key differences: 

  • We used mentor pods of 5-6 rather than 1:1 protege/mentor relationships
    • Some loved it more, some never showed. It’s camp!
  • We showcased 1 management training course / per month, but it wasn’t required
    • About 50% took the courses before coming to live sessions. It’s camp!
  • We made it optional for campers to engage their Advocates (bosses, champions, etc.) 
    • In certification, we communicate directly with Advocates, get their feedback, and help make sure they’re engaging their Proteges to apply new skills on the job
  • We still had three live confidence-building sessions thanks to Jenna Jehowski, Paula White, and I ran one as well. 
    • These still proved to be my favorite. I was blown away by the vulnerability and authenticity during my session and the incredible women who took on accountability partners to keep working on skills!

We restricted our LinkedIn group, but not our Slack channel. Sadly, that usually means enough company-promo messages that we all learn to ignore the channel. I think we’ll change this next time and keep it strict like normal. 

Our spotlight opportunities were limited. In the certification program, we take volunteers for social media posts, panel speaking opportunities, webinars, and more. We also encourage taking on projects on the job and help women raise their hands – and their profiles.

The biggest overall difference was the rigor. In the certification program, we require an application from the protegee and her advocate. There’s a fee for the program and checkpoints where participants get feedback from their mentor, their advocate, and from us. And, yes, not everyone makes it. 

And although it was a delightful break to not be the development police this summer (haha), it meant a good portion of our cohort wasn’t truly engaged. Now, you’ll have this in ANY group, right? Even our first two certification cohorts had a few women who didn’t make it. But for these groups, it was due to life and job changes. 90% graduated and over 70% were promoted before the end! When you’re surrounded by this kind of passion and dedication, it’s contagious. I’m eager to catch it again with Generation 3 in January 2021.

So, let’s look forward! Generation 3 applications in September for our Campers (and my special friends of Factor 8), and on October 1 for the rest of the World (save the date right her for Gen 3!). Yup, we’re eager to keep our audience Global! We’re expecting a cohort of about 100 in our third year, and we’re already lining up our curriculum, role models, and webinars.

November webinar (open to the public): Negotiating compensation. I can’t wait to get advice on how we better advocate for ourselves and get equal pay – while not killing our reputation and going “too far.” (That’s the fear, isn’t it ladies?)

We’re also signing on our sponsors – and that means scholarships! So far we have commitments from Gong, Outreach, and a very special individual sponsor, Paula White! Individual sponsors pay it forward by putting someone in the program personally. Wow, right?

New this year, we’re ramping up our diversity initiatives with the help of Gong, our diversity sponsor. We LOVED the diverse participants during Summer Camp and it helped us see we need to do more to diversify our applicants for Generation 3.

Yes, we ARE rebooked for our Rise Up finale conference for Generation 3. Ladies of cohort 2, please get your tickets first. I positively NEED to share a glass of wine and a hug with you. This is at my fave resort in Scottsdale, AZ and it’s our shoulder season. That means it’s hot enough to get at half price but NOT yet hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. (That’s August).

Save the best for the last update: Every year we ask women about “companies who get it” when it comes to diversity and inclusion and basically not ruling with the good ol boys club. I love seeing the company names roll in, so this year we’re going to publish them. Watch out for your chance to vote for the Top 25 Companies Where Women Want To Work coming soon. We’ll be giving our followers a chance to nominate and vote (so if you don’t get our newsletter, please go sign up now right here). These companies will get a #GirlsClub Badge – watch for it wherever you may apply.

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