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Columbia Middle School Hosts Women and Girls Leadership Summit


Silicon Valley Leadership Group partnered with Sunnyvale School District to host the Women & Girls Leadership Summit at Columbia Middle School to provide a morning dedicated to connecting strong female leaders in Silicon Valley with Columbia Middle School girls. This special event took place on October 17th, 2013.


Participating SVLG companies included Intel, AT&T, Neustar, EMC2, Synopsys, Comcast, Deloitte, TechCU, Lockheed Martin, Southwest Airlines, Huawei, Philips, City Year, SRI and e2v. These companies sent over 50 female employees and executives to spend the day with CMS students. Several Sunnyvale School Board members (Anita Hermann, Reid Myers, and Nancy Newkirk) and District Administrators (Claire Castagna and Mala Ahuja) also volunteered their time at the event. In the morning sessions, each woman met with a small group of about ten girls and shared stories about their lives, education and careers. They answered questions and many stayed to have lunch with the girls. In the afternoon, the women visited classrooms and talked with both boys and girls about college and career.


All girls at CMS participated in the event: all 6th Grade girls and half of the 7th Grade girls in the first group and the other half of 7th Grade girls and 8th Grade girls in the second group.

The morning sessions began with a warm welcome by Aditi Geol, Director of Education Policy at Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Mary Beth Allmann, CMS principal. Grace Davis, California Corporate Affairs Manager and US Sponsor of Women and Girls Initiatives at Intel, and Carl Guardino, President and CEO of Silicon Valley Leadership Group also shared inspiring personal stories with the girls. Keynote speakers included Vicky Galindo, Olympic Athlete, USA Softball Women’s National Team, and Kris Sanchez, Weekend Morning Anchor for NBC Bay Area. Both women stressed the importance of hard work, encouraged a love of learning, and inspired the girls in attendance to not wait for someone to follow, that they can be the first to go down their career path. The first morning session ended with a captivating demonstration of the effects of the very cold liquid nitrogen on objects like banana and pumpkin. The last item on the agenda of the second morning session gave the girls an opportunity to work with their small group and their group’s woman mentor to build a roller coaster for marbles, with pieces of foam tracks and masking tape. These activities were presented and led by a Schmahl Science Workshop teacher.



Silicon Valley Leadership Group also took the opportunity to present a $3000 check to Columbia Middle School for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, which will be used to help cover part of a science field trip and science fair.


Article by Nina Wong-Dobkin

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