As my senior year comes to a fast approaching end, I can’t help but marvel at the things MAPS has given me. I mastered the art of planning, organization, and communication. I laughed at the times Caroline and Ms. Rubin had conversations only the likes of Martha Stewart might be able to understand. I learned how important women are in the world of business and philanthropy and how the two go hand and hand. I went to New York City for the very first time. I learned that not everything is always in your control and that’s okay. I tasted Pad Thai and Pinkberry for the first time and loved them both equally. I learned that it’s okay to have your own opinions and that you’re most certainly entitled to them. I appreciated the fact that no one can sing Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas better than Caroline. I learned that fundraising doesn’t end after you’ve received all the money you need. I learned never to underestimate yourself. To the juniors I’ve had the opportunity to work with this year, good luck in whatever you do next year and the three of you were truly great additions to the MAPS family. You all brought talents I aspire to have daily. To Ms. Rubin. You never got sick of me no matter how much of your week was devoted to me in the countless things we did together. You challenged me in ways I knew I needed to be challenged, and you comforted me in the areas you knew I was shaky. Always a laugh, always a smile, always an answer to the question I hadn’t thought of, thank you. And to my fellow seniors. Caroline, I had no idea you were so funny. The laughs were countless, the sarcasm never ended, and you taught me what a ramekin really is. I hope one day I have your organizational skills, and your ability to wear patterned pants like no other. And to Evie. You give me the hardest time out of anyone in MAPS and I couldn’t love you more for it. You’ve taught me not only to stand up for myself, but also to believe in myself the way that you do. And for never hesitating to beat anyone up who treats me badly. You two truly became my friends, something I’ll never forget and never take for granted. To my last day of Mira’s Alliance for Philanthropic Sustainability, and forever lasting My Absolutely Perfect Sisterhood. (MAPS)
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Looking back onto this year at MAPS, I have realized the amount of things we have accomplished. The starting of Waza Ladies was so exciting for me but then disappointing when the communication between us and Zana Africa slowly diminished. I take pride, though, in knowing that I started with the help of Demi a program that could possibly be helpful to these ladies in Kenya. Freshmen and Sophomore year, I had no clue what MAPS was. I did not know what went on in the boardroom, in fact I didn’t even know it was there. Now, if someone were to ask me what MAPS is, I am able to spew out facts and information. I have become much more conscious about women in business. The philanthropic round table was so inspirational especially to young women. The Conference that Meagan planned and had here was so much fun and girls at MHS were raving about it all day. If Meagan were asked to do that last year, she would have refused but to see the growth she has made in one short year is astounding. Mrs. Rubin has guided us as our fearless leader. She has helped us in times of trouble and shared with us joy in times of success. I came into MAPS, a loud junior who was crazed about getting into college. Now I am a, still loud, confident senior ready to embark on the next journey of my life. I could not have gone through MAPS without Meagan and Caroline. Meagan, I’ve gotten to know you a lot more which I am so glad about. You are an awesome human being and do not let anyone tell you differently. Caroline, we’ve been friends for four years and you have grown into a more confident person. I would like to thank MAPS for bringing me close with these two people and with the juniors of the group. I will graduate Miss Hall’s with a fearless attitude and thirst for knowledge. I will miss MAPS and all that it stands for.
It seems as if yesterday was my first day of MAPS. I was filled with nerves and excitement, wondering what was ahead of me. I had absolutely no idea what kind of journey MAPS would be, but I knew that it would be fulfilling. These past two years have breezed by, and have left me asking where the time has gone.
MAPS has taught and given me so much, that I don’t even know where to begin. I have gained confidence in my leadership abilities, as well as my communication and organizational skills. MAPS has opened my eyes to the world of philanthropy, a world that I will forever explore. As women, we have so much potential, and I am so thankful for the opportunities that MAPS has given me to empower myself and others. We have been on countless conference calls, made presentation after presentation, and most importantly, we have raised awareness. MAPS aims to educate and collaborate, and I have grown so much from these experiences.
However, MAPS has taught me not only about sustainable philanthropy and how to be an efficient worker, but through MAPS, I have fostered so many great relationships. Working so closely with a small group of great girls has been one of my favorite experiences. I will always look back on the car rides to New York, the inside jokes (Ramekins, anyone?), and the constant coffee runs with a huge smile.
To the Juniors: I am so proud of all of the hard work you’ve done, you have truly grown as great leaders. Each one of you has unique talents that make a stellar combination. Working with you was such an easy transition because we work so well together, and I will miss our chemistry. Perhaps your most admirable qualities are your abilities to endure our quirkiness: my singing, Evie’s jokes, and Meagan’s obsession with Taylor Swift and the Kennedys are certainly far from normal.
Meagan and Evie: Where to begin? I admire you both so much, and these past two years have been so memorable. We’ve grown together, and I can’t wait to see what each of us has in store. We all know I’m not as emotional as Meagan, so this is where I’ll stop.
And to Ms. Rubin: You have spearheaded this group, and I can not thank you enough for everything you have done for us. I know that I can speak for all of us when I say how grateful I am for you!
As a part of the Horizons program at MHS, every senior must complete a project specific to their Horizons site. My senior project was to host Miss Hall’s first ever conference centered around women in entrepreneurship. I invited six women to campus to act as panelists and to share with students their personal experiences both in entrepreneurship and in their own career paths. Panelists included Catherine Clifford, a journalist at Entrepreneur.com, MHS alum Jess Lamb,owner of Dottie’s Cafe, Jasmine Stine, a startup advisor, Jenn Leggett, owner of Earthy Crunchy Mama, Anthonia Akitunde, founder and editor-in-chief of mater mea, an online magazine, and finally keynote, Amber Chand. Amber is the founder The Women’s Peach Collection and co-founder of Prosperity Candle, both of which center around the core values of philanthropy and entrepreneurship.
The event took a lot of planning that began in October and stretched its way up until the day before the conference. With the help from all the members of MAPS, our faculty advisor Ms. Rubin, and Ms. Basdekis, we were able to secure panelists, space, food, time, and excitement for the conference which we decided to call Start Up While Starting Out; Women and Girls Talk Business. The biggest hurtle we were faced with was how to get girls to wake up early on a Saturday morning for a non-required event, thus came the idea of social media. Considering there is a song on the top 100s titled #Selfie we figured that we could use Instagram to our advantage, and @StartUpWhileStartingOut was born. We created an account for students and faculty alike to document their answer to the question, “If money were no object, what would your dream job be?” The results were amazing. By the time the conference kicked off on Saturday, April 19th, there were 55 pictures of girls and faculty celebrating the idea of being brave enough to voice their dream, which is an idea at the heart of entrepreneurship. The conference exceeded my expectations in every way imaginable. The panel discussions flowed effortlessly, Ms. Chand’s keynote address was inspiring and remarkable, and students left without a single regret and great excitement for the opportunity. I can only hope this conference can continue to evolve and bring girls of every age the understanding of what entrepreneurship really is.
This Saturday April 19th, we are happy to be hosting our first ever conference! “Start Up While Starting Out: Women and Girls Talk Business” will start at 9:45 am, end at 12:30 pm, and will consist of a slew of different opportunities for the girls of the MHS community to learn about business and entrepreneurship through panels with local women leaders who have made their dreams a reality. We also look forward to our wonderful keynote speaker. Here is a list of the women who are coming:
Catherine: The daughter of our own Mr. & Mrs. Clifford, Catherine is a journalist at Entrepreneurship magazine and has written a number of articles focused on entrepreneurship, some articles include Think You’re Too Old to Be An Entrepreneur? Think Again. and Women Dominate Every Social Network — Except One.
Jess: Jess is an MHS alumnae who has probably hosted you and your friends at least once at her fabulous cafe in Pittsfield, Dotties. Great coffee and fabulous food are only the beginning of Jess’s entrepreneurship.
Anthonia: Anthonia Akitunde is a journalist and the associate editor of Huff/Post50. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Fortune.com and The Root.
Jasmine: Jasmine helps entrepreneurs with start ups, offering guidance and assistance as new business men and women break into the world of entrepreneurship.
Jenn: Jenn started her business called Earthy Crunchy Mama after her first child was born to help families become more natural in an affordable way. The store carried cloth diapers, baby carriers and more natural baby products.
Amber: Amber is the Founder of The Women’s Peace Collection, a social enterprise that supports women’s micro-enterprises primarily in regions of conflict and post-conflict. Her company offers high quality, meaningful gifts created by talented craftswomen who are rebuilding their lives in the shadows of war, genocide, civil strife and crippling poverty.
To get the community excited about Saturday we’ve stated our own instagram hashtag: #SUWSO and the page to view all of them is instagram.com/startupwhilestartingout Just in case, here are a few pictures:
On Tuesday afternoon, the six MAPS girls with our two chaperones traveled to NYC to attend the Miss Hall’s School Philanthropic Round Table. This years theme was Women and Philanthropy: Bridging Divides and Finding Common Cause. Among the six panelists were Alfa Demmellash Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rising Tide Capital, Femida Handy, Professor in the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, Melissa Hillebrenner the director of Girl Up, a United Nations Foundation, Katie Higgins Hood, Visiting Lecturer and Senior Fellow of the Hart Leadership Program, a Professor at Duke University and president of the KHH Advisory Services LLC, Anna Lefer Kuhn the Executive Director of the Arca Foundation, and Amy G. Lehman the founder and CEO of the Lake Tanganyika Floating Health Clinic. All of these women had many points of view on the different divides within the world of philanthropy, the effect technology has on philanthropy, and the differences between men and women philanthropists. The panelists conducted a very inspiring conversation, full of differing view points on the pros and cons of technology to the differences in leadership styles between men and women. I know we all felt so lucky to have gone and been a part of that amazing conversation!
Last week we sent out micro-grant sheets to all of the students going off to site, and received over 40 back! This week we reviewed the applications and selected three sites to give micro-grants to. When reviewing the micro-grants, we look at the sustainability, efficiency, and how it will contribute to the site when making our decision. In past years we have given a brake-fast dog food bowl to an animal shelter, cultivating outdoor books to a classroom, and the Magic Tree House books to a classroom. From the freshman’s Holiday Market sales, they chose to donate some of their profits to the MAPS micro-grant fund, along with our Instagram Sale profits. Giving micro-grants is a good way to give back to our local community.