I volunteered with Girls Innovate! not only because I believe in the mission of empowering girls and women, but also because I like the way Girls Innovate! does its work. With Girls Innovate!, it’s not about signing up to volunteer, receiving a task from somewhere up high, and then executing it. It’s about becoming part of a community of diverse opinions and interests and then working together to create something unique and great. Girls Innovate! allows every volunteer and interested party to have a voice in what gets done and how it gets done. If you have a particular interest or are looking to challenge yourself in a new way, Girls Innovate! will provide that opportunity. All you need to do is believe in the value of having everyone participate and then speak up about what you would like to do.
For the last Girls Innovate! event, I got to work on many things – setting up the physical space, organizing the flow of the event, communicating with speakers, meeting and greeting guests, and acting as an emcee. One of the great personal rewards was that I got to push myself to do things I haven’t done before, but with great support from others.
The other thing I value from my volunteer experience is getting to know so many different women and girls dedicated to creating something larger than themselves – all ages and backgrounds, all kinds of interests. I was amazed at other volunteers’ abilities to find speakers, organize and lead panel discussions, work on audio-visual setup, write thank you notes, create beautiful centerpieces, secure food donations from local caterers and restaurants, and just do the work of getting pencils, index cards, and napkins to the event. To me, volunteering with Girls Innovate! is one the few opportunities out there to make truly authentic connections with so many interesting and genuinely nice women.
About Julie Won: Julie is founder and principal at Thistle Finch Investments, a Palo Alto-based investment firm which manages customized investment portfolios for individuals and small organizations. Julie has a decade and a half of experience working with institutional and individual investors, and she focuses on hands-on research and asset valuation. Julie received an MBA from Stanford, a Masters in East Asian Studies from Stanford, and an undergraduate degree from Harvard. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
Photo by Julie Yoo Photography (pictured above: Julie Won with volunteers Johanna Wise and Carolyn Lott)