Get to Know Launch gURLs Founder: Averil Spencer
In honor of launching Launch gURLs, we sat down this week with our founder Averil Spencer to give you the inside scoop on how Launch gURLs came to be, why she believes in the power of girls, and the important impact entrepreneurship can make. If you’re looking for your daily dose of inspiration, look no further and get reading!
Why do you believe in the power of girls?
I believe wholeheartedly in the power of girls because I have lived it and see it every day. I founded my first social enterprise at 23, and that experience connected me with incredible young women who are breaking cycles of poverty and inequality every day. These girls are changing how society sees them through their own education and employment. Some are supporting their entire families with their salaries. When girls have access to the resources, information, and support they need – step aside, because girls are going to run the world.
Can you tell us more about the story behind Launch gURLs?
Launch gURLs is the culmination of everything I have learned as a social entrepreneur over the past 10 years. Being a young founder profoundly changed the course of my life and taught me some of the most valuable skills that I still use today: resilience, critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, and the list goes on. When I met Kylie Schuyler and Deborah Jackson, two powerhouse women who wanted to improve economic opportunities for girls around the world, I knew entrepreneurship had to be part of this solution.
Our world and economies are constantly changing; COVID-19 and climate change being recent examples. The jobs our parents held and skills those jobs required look different today. Demand for skills that have been labeled “transferrable” or “21st century” are incredibly high, and I realized that these same skills are what I developed being an entrepreneur. Launch gURLs combines developing an entrepreneurial mindset with digital proficiency because girls must become creators and not just consumers in our technology driven world. These skills coupled with increasing confidence and leadership capabilities will enable girls to pursue their dreams and be successful in their futures.
Why do you believe in the power of entrepreneurship to have an impact on women and girls’ lives?
I know that entrepreneurship has the power to impact women and girls’ lives as it has had a massive impact on my own life. My entrepreneurial journey began when I graduated from college and moved to India to join a social enterprise fellowship. Ultimately, this led to the opportunity to cofound a social enterprise through a grant from Girl Effect by Nike Foundation. Partnering with school owners and local leaders, we created VOICE 4 Girls, which creates and runs activity-based camps where girls acquire critical knowledge, life skills, and spoken English. Today VOICE is still running with an incredible Executive Director who has expanded the reach to over 60,000 girls and now promotes gender equality with adolescent boys too! After my experience with VOICE, I realized not only that I wanted to be a social entrepreneur with the sole goal of creating sustainable change in the lives of adolescent girls around the world, but also that I had the potential to do this.
I started VOICE when I was 23 years old and have never had a better learning experience. Being an entrepreneur forces you to look at needs in a community and turn them into opportunities. Running a startup social enterprise taught me how to manage high performing teams, operations, and financials. Harnessing the entrepreneurial mindset brings with it a toolkit and skillset that I realized all employers want, which just increased my future opportunities. After running VOICE, I knew I could do anything and these skills would make me successful wherever I went, which is a feeling I want all girls and women to have.
How can girls help make a difference?
Everyone can make a difference, but it’s especially important for girls to raise their voices and contribute because for far too long, we have been missing these ideas and perspectives. No one knows better about the challenges in a community, location, state, or country than girls. So get involved. Whether it’s starting your own company to provide a business solution or joining a local organization advocating for issues you care about. You can make a difference by creating and being part of solutions around you.
Who is your “shero”?
My mom is my “shero”. She was the first person I saw not follow a traditional career path. Instead, she pursued her passion and founded a company that coaches and develops female talent at the executive level. She gets to work with incredible women every day and helps companies become more diverse at senior levels, where traditionally it’s been mostly men in charge.
What advice would you give to young girls today?
You are enough! So often society, the media, sometimes our families and friends can make us feel like we aren’t. That unless we are perfect – we get the best grades, look a certain way, behave a certain way – that we don’t deserve to be happy or loved. Well that’s just not true. You do not need to be fixed, made-over, improved because you are enough as you are.
Do you want to become a Girl Boss like Averil? Apply here today to become a part of the pilot of our Girl Boss Program!