2015 We Are Girls Conference To Inspire, Educate and Celebrate Girls & Adults In Their Lives {Plus, a Giveaway!}

WAG graphic MothersDaughters

In 1996, a group of 12 moms raising girls here in Austin started an organization then called The Ophelia Project. The moms had just read Dr. Mary Pipher’s groundbreaking book, Reviving Ophelia, and felt compelled to do something to counter the troubling and sometimes permanent loss of self-esteem that can occur in girls in middle school. Almost 20 years later, the same organization with a different name, the Girls Empowerment Network, is still working to support and guide girls to make wise choices as they navigate the unique pressures of girlhood. In addition to after-school programs, camps, leadership development, parent workshops and efforts to serve at-risk girls, GEN hosts an annual, all-day event especially for girls in grade 3-8 and the adults who care about them, the We Are Girls Conference.

The 8th Annual We Are Girls Conference takes place at Austin High School on Saturday, November 14, 2015.

We Are Girls from Girls Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Houston, you don’t have to feel left out: this year, We Are Girls is coming to you! For more information about the Houston conference, click here.

The theme for this year’s conference is TELL YOUR STORY. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers and participate in dozens of activities and workshops covering everything from creativity and entrepreneurship to body image, bullying and healthy relationships. The projected attendance for We Are Girls Austin is 1,600 girls and adults. Featured speakers include:


Jamia Wilson, who is an activist, storyteller, media maker, and thought leader. As executive director of Women, Action, & the Media, the former YTH Executive Director, TED Prize Storyteller, and former vice president of programs at the Women’s Media Center, Jamia has been a powerful force in the social justice movement for nearly a decade. Her work and words have appeared on The Today Show, and in New York Magazine, The Washington Post, and Rookie, where she is a staff writer.


Maya Gonzalez, who is an acclaimed artist, writer and educator having illustrated more than 20 children’s books and written three, including Call Me Tree, hailed one of the Best Picture Books of 2014 that Celebrates Diversity (Kirkus Review), and My Colors, My World, which won the prestigious Pura Belpré Award Honor from the American Library Association. Her body of work centers on equity and justice for all children and helping teachers build cultural awareness to promote a positive identity for all learners. In 2013 she co-created School of the Free Mind to help individuals claim their unique creativity.

Attendees can also choose from a host of presentations, workshops and hands-on sessions designed to promote well-being, creativity, goal setting and more. Presenters include Amanda McPherson; The Austin Outlaws: Women’s Football Team; The Art of Applying; Austin Parks Foundation; Austin Therapy for Girls — Shayna Barksdale, LCSW; Ballet Austin Butler Community School; Barb Steinberg, LMSW; Con Mi Madre; Dance Another World; Dell Wise Employee Resource Group; Women In Search of Excellence (Wise); Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, NTP, CPT; EngenderHealth; Experiment and Explore; Facebook; Girls Above Society; Girls Rock Austin; Girlstart; Girls With Pens; Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center; The Hideout Theatre; Lady Papillons International; Latinitas; Liana Wheatley; Mariposa Pathway; Math for Keeps; Molly Freestone, Personal Life Coach; Muse Stream; Nurture Family Counseling; Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas; Renee Lopez M. Ed; Renée Peterson Trudeau; Texas Tuition Promise Fund/Match the Promise; Torie Henderson; Westwood Girls Who Code; Women Who Code and Yoga RX.

We got a sneak peek at the agenda, and here are just a handful of sessions which are either for mothers and daughters to attend together or focus on the mother/daughter relationship:

Write the Next Chapter: How owning your story can improve your mother/daughter relationship
Led by Austin Therapy for Girls
Session 2A/2B: For 3rd-5th grade girls & adults
Session 3: For 6th-8th grade girls & adults

This powerful workshop is based on Brene Brown’s best selling book Rising Strong and how if we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This workshop is about developing the tools and skills to build resilience in our daughters and owning our own struggles to connect in a more meaningful way with the young women in our lives. This workshop will be interactive, creative, and you might even go home with a piece of candy or two!

Can You Picture Your Dreams?
Led by Amanda McPherson, Masters in Counseling, Blogger & Speaker
Sessions 1 & 3: For 6th-8th grade girls & adults

Watch your dreams come to life on paper by creating your very own Dream Board. Using images from magazines and your creativity, we’ll create a beautiful vision of the life of your dreams. Plus, you’ll learn how to use your board to help make your dreams a reality. Even Oprah Winfrey is a believer!

Dare to Be Different: Rock Your Story
Led by Muse Stream
Session 2A/2B: For 6th-8th grade girls & adults

Be bold, beautiful and uniquely you! Join us for this active workshop where we will explore what inspires and motivates you while learning ways to activate and communicate your authentic super powers to others.Advertisement
Discover YOU and Create your Amazing Life!
Led by Molly Freestone, Personal Life Coach
Session 2A/2B: For all ages

Imagine that your life is a book and YOU get to write it…what adventures would you create? What success and fun would you have? I have good news – you DO get to write the story of your life! Today let’s discover some AMAZING things about you that you didn’t even know were there! Together we will take your awesomeness and learn the secrets of how you can CREATE your amazing life.

Drawing from the Imagination
Led by Experiment and Explore
Session 2A/2B: For all ages

This drawing workshop is not the type of drawing one learns in an art class. It is an experimental approach to what one can do to create images that are connected to a personal perspective, an individual language, which one can pick-up anytime and take it as far as one chooses. No experience is necessary.

Jump Start on College Prep: Secret Tips for Middle Schoolers
Led by The Art of Applying
Session 2A/2B: For 6th-8th grade girls & adults

I know, I know. You’re still enjoying middle school, and we are already trying to get you to think about college. Guess what? You should be thinking about college! There are many things you can be doing in middle school to make yourself a superstar college applicant. In this session you will what you need to do in middle school and high school to make sure you are in a great position to get into your dream college.

Managing Stress from the Inside Out and the Outside In
Led by Ballet Austin’s Butler Center for Dance & Fitness
Session 2A/2B: For 6th-8th grade girls & adults

Stress happens. Sometimes it may seem that there’s nothing you can do about it. Where does it come from, why are you stressed, and how can you get rid of it? Identify your true sources of stress, and take a close and honest look at your habits, attitude, and excuses. Discover healthy ways to manage and cope with stressful situations from the outside in and the inside out.

Tech-Savvy Tweens: 5 tips to stay safe
Led by Cyberstrong Kids
Sessions 1 & 3: For 6th-8th grade girls & adults

Are you hooked on Instagram? Do you love Snapchat? You are not alone! Technology can be a lot of fun. Bring your mom or dad and come learn 5 ways to use today’s technology safely and responsibly. Through games, role plays and some laughs, you will learn how to create a digital reputation you feel proud of.

Tickets to We Are Girls are $30 and are available for purchase at the event and online. Scholarships are available. Admission includes lunch, supplies, goodie bag, access to all Featured Conference Speaker’s presentations, breakout workshops and resource fair.


We have two pairs of mother/daughter sets of We Are Girls tickets to give away! Want to be entered to win? Leave a comment below or complete the form for your chance to win!

All entries must be received by 10am CST on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Approximate retail value is $60 per set.

Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway! We have contacted the winners via email.

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About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".