Tracey Welson-Rossman, the founder and CEO of TechGirlz, and a contributor for The Huffington Post, shares 7 key lessons learned from working with middle school aged girls and how these experiences have helped with the success of the organization.
Increasing evidence – both anecdotal and empirical – points to middle school as the beginning of a person’s path through life. It might not be the beginning of an actual career, but our passions, interests and talents all begin to take shape during these formative years. Sports academies around the world have been clued into this fact for years as soccer and basketball leagues mine for talent amongst the 12-year old set on a regular basis. Malcolm Gladwell tells us that someone needs 10,000 hours to become skilled at their chosen profession. Roughly three hours a day for five days a week means that someone could come into their own in about 12-13 years…a span that would find a middle schooler turning 25-years old. And now, we have data from Accenture and others that documents middle school exposure to technology as being critical for fostering technology-related careers.
For anyone that has followed TechGirlz, you know this is our mission: to inspire a love for technology in middle school girls. So this increasing body of evidence is great validation for us. But it also struck me that as more of this information comes to light, more organizations could refocus on this critical age group. In that way, our experience might be valuable. To help, I’ve tried to capture a short list of the critical lessons we’ve learned working with middle school girls in the hopes that it can help other similar groups.
Quick disclaimer: just by the nature of our work, this will be geared towards middle school girls, but most are equally applicable to boys.