Leadership Team

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Why I do this...

 

While studying mathematics at Portland State University, I experienced firsthand what it felt like to be underrepresented in a male-dominated field. That drove me to inspire girls to follow their own passions no matter what society shows you about what you can or cannot do. Having worked with kids for 10 years and specifically all-girl programs since 2016, I launched Girls Count to show girls that creativity and persistence can lead to amazing things. My hope is that collaborative, self-directed experiences will give girls confidence in themselves to become strong, opinionated, educated members of their community.

Mary Hlastala

Founder and Executive Director

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Brittany Schuetze

Program Director

Why I do this...

We are ALL curious and creative beings. A community like this provides participants an alternate choice to the traditional "learning in school" model where they can be supported in whatever interests and passions they pursue. As a former middle school classroom teacher, I am especially interested in the neuroscience of how we learn and how societies + individuals define success. Young people deserve a space to feel heard and be seen as their authentic selves and I am overjoyed to be able to be a leader in this capacity. 

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Why I do this...

Having spent the past decade working in the field of early childhood education, I am firmly planted in the value I place on fostering independence, confidence, perseverance, and cooperation among peers and individual children. I am excited for the opportunity to expand on my experience working with young people and to directly translate those values into supporting the girls in this community. Living a life filled with joy, passion, and curiosity is something I strive to model for my daughter (5) and I hope to inspire others to do the same.

Ariana Harris

Program Guide

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Stephanie Case

Program Guide

Why I do this...

As a young girl I had to reconcile my creativity with the established norms for supporting oneself and found myself compromising to fit in a box. Forcing my unconventional puzzle piece to fit in required changing its shape and abandoning my one-of-a-kind edges to conform, simply because I did not see another choice. I’ve had to rediscover some of these things about myself. I was drawn to this program because it is a unique opportunity to lift up young women to explore their interests and navigate the world around them. It’s powerful for young people to have mentors that can model a way of life that allows for creative expression and empower them to tap into their own interests and to carve out a space for themselves and their individual voices. It’s a safe space for learning and for developing skill sets without judgment where they can find their own ways to problem solve and feel encouraged that there are different ways to arrive at a solution that are valid. No canned answers, no limiting boxes to try to fit into. 

Board of Directors

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Stephanie Renfro

President

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Breana Whittington

Secretary

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Benita Joseph

Board Member