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PHX Coach: Michele Pino

Coach_michele Michele Pino signed on as a Coach during the pilot program in Phoenix and has been a GFC Coach at Orangedale Elementary in Phoenis for two years:

I was very shy as a teen and I didn’t want to speak up. I had a lot to say, but it was all inside and I didn’t know that anybody would want to hear me. Then organizations that came into my realm lead me in high school and college to become a leader.

I have kind of an international background. I did some work with teaching women leadership in Siberia. What blew me away was that these women were so strong and capable and pulling their families together while everything was falling a part around them. It made me think that women are the same everywhere and we need more balance in leadership positions. I thought wouldn’t it be great if we could get more women into leadership in our communities. I learned about GFC and that was the magic pill!

The girls on my team were much more willing to share their opinions and be creative than I thought they would be. What I love about GFC is that our training teaches us to go in and do these activities with them that spur creativity and they just embrace these activities. They learned respect for one another. For me, I was thinking how can I hold the space for them that will allow them to be creative, open and thrive. What I realized is that if you just show up, show them you care, and just listen—then everything will be fine.

The team is very passionate about animals. They did a campaign to talk about animals, taking care of them and the resources you can use if you find a homeless animal. They presented it to the students at their school in K-6th grades—the presented it in every classroom! One day I got to the school and their was a poster on the door talking about homeless animals. They moving forward without the Coaches and it was great!

We did an exercise called "yes and…" which we’re taught and GFC. It trains you to accept someone’s ideas and expound on them. Then two weeks later we were talking and a girl presented an idea and the other one said, "Yes and what I like about that is..." They learned how to do public speaking and come together.

What I realized in GFC is that you start small and know with each individual girl that change happens. And the truth is those 15 girls—each one of them—took away something that will magnify with every young girl they touch in the future. It starts with the spark and that is powerful. I learned to play! And I learned that 6th and 7th graders are pretty smart.

When you tell another woman about this program, I’ve not met a woman who isn’t interested in getting involved. I tell women that this is a way for women leaders to influence and assist the girls who are becoming behind us and who can be our future leaders. I have women who’ve inspired me and been my mentors and I want to pay it forward. That’s the call to action that speaks to so many of my friends.

You just have to provide the vessel for these young girls to thrive and that’s what GFC does. They are learning, growing and passing it on. And you understand what it can mean for a community when these young girls grow up and become our future leaders, mothers, neighbors and whoever they want to be!

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