Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Curse of the Good Girl

I was the very proud event organizer last night of 900 community members at our middle school. This event, hosting Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl, was the next step in my plan to rid the world of Mean Girls.

Rachel, who also founded the Girls Leadership Institute, spoke for about an hour then signed books. She is an engaging, funny speaker with great content. I guess you refine those skills when you've been on Oprah and the Today Show a few times! The interactive talk covered what a Good Girl looks like, No Joke Zones, I Statements, Emotions, The Sweet Life of Zack and Cody and My Little Pony. The picture at left is of me, Rachel Simmons and Simone Marean.

I was blown away by all the familiar faces in the audience -- people from as far south as Pleasanton, as far west as Moraga, as far east as Brentwood. This message resonates with us all.
One of the things I enjoy most about these events is watching the dots connect. I'd forgotten that Amy and Lori were college sorority sisters, and that Lori's cousin is friends with Bridgit. I didn't know that Amy and Ellen's daughters played softball together two years ago and so on.

We could not have pulled of an event of this magnitude without an army of volunteers from the middle school PTA and my own posse: Ellen, Sarah, Coleen and Megan, MelissaS and Hannah, Andrea and Nina, MelissaB. I enjoyed working with our school principal, whose support was invaluable, and the vice principal, who is a great logistics front man and whose daughter, it turns out, goes to preschool with my niece. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And because I am a Real Girl, I have a confession to make: when Simone, GLI's Executive Director, asked me to speak for a few minutes on our experience with the GLI workshops, I lost it. I don't do public speaking. I write. I edit. I plan. I do behind the scenes. But of course I agreed then practiced my two-minute talk for the better part of an hour before going on. I have to admit, I was quite proud of myself. And they called me a force! This stuff is hard for introverts. I have to admit, though, that once I got up there I just ran with it and spoke from my heart. It really is easier to do this when you are passionate about the cause. One less thing to fear in life.

The funniest part of the evening took place at the very end as Rachel was signing my book. Thing 1 had an extended conversation with her about her own personal drama in elementary school with her friend and her friend's boyfriend. Yes, the kids are eight. I had to walk away before I peed my pants. Not surprisingly, Rachel handled it very well.

In a fantasy world, this event will have generated enough attention for the workshops to roll out at other local schools, and for the message to be spread even further. I look forward to helping make that reality. Please leave a comment on my blog if you would like me to help facilitate that at your school or in your community.

Dave, who is my biggest champion, had a little fete pulled together at home when we got back. Everything is better with chocolate cake and chocolate dipped strawberries. He is my angel.


Jenn LeBlanc said...


I'm seeing her tonight in Atherton at a fundraiser for the Girls Leadership Institute (your event was sold out WEEKS ago!). I would love to bring her to my daughter's school in Pleasanton and the administration is very supportive of that. Any tips are appreciated!


Jenn LeBlanc said...

Leslie -- need more coffee. Her school is in Dublin. ;)

Kelly said...

Great job Leslie! And I don't believe you possibly can meet the true definition of an introvert.

I looked at the web information at one point in time, wishing something like this existed here.

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you Leslie! Congratulations!

Celia Fae said...

That was an awesome night. Claire high fived me at the end because she and I learned so much. We are anxious to get the book.

I'm going to steal some pix, okay?

I want to know how to get something with GLI out here in the boonies.

Paige said...

I loved the part about the fries. Hot fries. I love that I am assertive and although it is pushy and rude I learned it is actually teaching my girls to be assertive! teaching them to get what they want/need even though it can be seen as bitchy. Confession is I haven't read the book. I own it but haven't read. Too busy um, going out.