Pathfinder Over the Years | Girls Empowerment Network

Pathfinder 2016 Recap

We cannot fully express what an amazing week we had at our second annual Pathfinder Leadership Summit! To view photos of the wonderful week click here. Twenty-nine amazing young women joined us for future planning, networking, relationship building, and more. The participants spent time in the GEN office and also engaged in professional site visits around the city.


My favorite day was Friday. After hearing from a panel of women entrepreneurs, we sat down for a networking luncheon. So much support was flowing from mentors and the Pathfinders – it was inspiring to watch and listen. When I asked the staff and other interns what they took away from the summit, these were the responses:


“Pathfinder was an incredible opportunity for these young women. I am so proud to have been a part of this program! I truly believe we formed meaningful relationships, provided relatable role models, enhanced their lives overall, and will ultimately have a hand in positively shaping their futures!” Hannah, Pathfinder intern


“I was very happy to see that they were being encouraged to dream big in high school and other experiences that helped them get an idea of what they wanted to do.” Ava, Pathfinder intern


“In my mind, to be a good leader, you need to first have confidence in who you are and your abilities. Without this, its nearly impossible to take charge of a room or sell yourself to others in a job interview situations. So while I hope the girls left with a greater understanding of resume building and networking, I would find the program to be a larger success if the girls left the program with greater understanding of themselves. Feeling the support and confidence to chase after and achieve their goals.” JJ, Project Management Intern


“I’ve worked with girls for 10 years, and I have never seen such concentration of knowledge, support, and process. I witnessed these girls gain life skills, confidence, and self-love in six short days. This program is the real deal!” Caroline Crawford, Program Director


Through comparing pre- and post-surveys, we saw growth in each students confidence, networking skills, and future planning. Additionally, post-surveys revealed the following outcomes:


                                100% said ‘Because of this program…’


  • ‘I feel more confident in my ability to be a leader’
  • ‘I know more ways to manage my stress’
  • ‘I felt bonded with the other girls in Pathfinder’


100% reported

  • the summit exceeded their expectations
  • ‘I feel comfortable working with people who are different than me’
  • ‘I would recommend this program to a friend’


95% reported

  • ‘I feel confident about interviewing for a job’
  • ‘I feel comfortable with public speaking’
  • ‘I am confident in my ability to sell who I am to others’


These insightful responses were also shared with us at the completion of the summit:


“I was so impressed and inspired by everything and everyone this week! I don’t want to leave.” Arlette, 12th grade


“Talking to random people and engaging in a full conversation is hard, but without Pathfinder, I would have never done it.” Kaitlyn, 11th grade


“It’s great learning life skills and preparing for college…But the most helpful was the vibe – I really stepped out of my comfort zone” Annie, 11th grade


The most helpful? “Learning how to network and being comfortable with being uncomfortable…we then made connections from their (mentors) life experiences to our own, easing the discomfort and establishing a relationship” Taylor, 12th grade


Overheard at Speed Mentoring and Networking:


“It’s so important to be open to women of different backgrounds and different races” Chanel Geter, Motivation for Hire


“Make sure that the people you hang out with are kind to others.” -MariBen Ramsey, Nonprofit Consultant


“Your dreams don’t have an expiration date!” -Leticia Mendoza, HEB


Thank you to all participants! The students were nothing short of a joy to see every day, and the support we experienced throughout the community and at our events was truly amazing. If you donated a scholarship, attended a mentoring session, presented at the summit, or sent your daughter to Pathfinder, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It goes without saying that we could not have had a successful event without you! We would like to extend a special thanks to our Giving Circle members:


Christine Cox Reinauer (Co-chair), Myndi Garrett (Co-Chair), Rebecca Austen, Bonnie Bain, Linda Benge, Yvette Boatwright, Kathy Burrell, Rhonda & John Dirvin, Loretta Fellers, Susan Gallagher, Horace Green, Melissa Greenwell, Christine Horne, Celia Israel, Susan Jones, Dana Marruffo, Leslie Martinich, Emily Moreland, Dave & Margee Shearer, The Smalling Family, Maura Thomas, Kay Wilemon, Lisa Wilson Graham, Bob Wynn

And many thanks to the following sites for hosting us:


Whole Foods Domain, Google Fiber, The Microsoft Domain Store, HomeAway, Austin City Hall

Contributed by: Kate Heetlan


Pathfinder 2015 Recap

Check out our Facebook page for photos of last year’s Pathfinder Leadership Summit!

Highlighted outcomes from participant surveys:
  • 100% of girls said the program met or exceeded their expectations
  • 93% said that because of the program, their confidence level with life after high school has increased.
  • 100% said they now feel more comfortable with:
    -Their professional communication skills
    -Their leadership skills
    -Stress management
    -Time management and
    -Working on a team
Overheard at Pathfinder: 
“Pathfinder gave me a chance to have an intellectual conversation about my future with people I felt comfortable around. I learned so much valuable information!”
 “This was absolutely incredible! I made lifetime friends who want the same things as me for the future.” 
“The best thing was talking to women about their lives and careers. They were really nice and wanted to help me.”
“This provided me great insight about how to prepare myself for not only college but for having a happy, successful, independent adult life.”
“Pathfinder is…” Check out the words they shared:
Needless to say, we’re proud! And we owe thanks to everyone who pitched in! This special Leadership Summit wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible outpouring of support from our community.
From referring a participant, to sitting in on a focus group, to speaking with the girls, or donating a scholarship—we couldn’t have done it without you. Check out the stats and quotes below, and please accept our GENuine thanks!

What people are saying about Pathfinder:

“GENaustin’s Pathfinder program offers a unique opportunity to connect high school girls with community and industry leaders, and build the skills and confidence to succeed in college and ultimately the workplace.”

Becky Austen, Director, IBM Systems & Technology Group


“While schools focus on getting young women ready for a successful future from an academic standpoint, GENaustin’s Pathfinder program teaches them lessons most people have to learn the hard way – networking and communication skills, interviewing tips, résumé dos and don’ts and so much more. It’s the jump start smart girls need to get even smarter about their future!”

Maria Orozova, President & Creative Director, The MOD Studio


“There is something so powerful about women encouraging one another to find their best selves and to reach their full potential. That is exactly what GENaustin does- it shows girls the importance of empowering and supporting one another. The Pathfinder program gives girls the chance to pick up valuable skills that they will use for the rest of their lives, while also helping them find true confidence in themselves-I wish I’d had this opportunity in high school.” 

Emily, College Junior, former GENaustin program participant


“GENaustin’s innovative Pathfinder Program offers young women in our community a unique opportunity to gain the knowledge and experiences they need to be tomorrow’s leaders.”

Betsy Blair, Community Volunteer


“GENaustin provides expert programming for girls in Central Texas and the Pathfinder Program is a much needed resource for young women transitioning into adulthood.”

Lesley Guthrie, Executive Director, Governor’s Commission for Women


“Once again, GENaustin has created a fabulous program to help support just what their mission is, to help girls make wise choices in navigating girlhood. Pathfinder addresses one of the toughest developmental transitions in childhood – adolescence to young adulthood, a time of great conflict, uncertainty and fear. Pathfinder helps to not only open up what career possibilities are out there for these high school girls, but also to gain the skills and success to attain these goals. In addition, Pathfinder’s programming teaches and explores leadership with a healthy balance of emphasis on both personal and professional issues that are essential for this next generation of girls to be successful.”

Dr. Allison Chase, Psychologist, AK Chase & Associates


“In high school you’re still figuring out who you are – what you can offer to the world and what you want to get out of it – even if you think you know it all. GENaustin gave me the opportunity to work some of it out when I was in high school, and the tools to continue later on.”

Pooja, College Senior, former GENaustin program participant