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Frog dissections, typing, and algebra have slowly faded away and been replaced with the new shiny world of high-tech; 3D printing, graphic deign, and drafting buildings that should be named works of art. This is STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Artistic design, and Math). STEM is the same minus the big juicy A. And boy oh boy, do we want that A.

I’ve been in the STEM program for a full year now, and I’ve discovered quite a few useful facts.

1. There’s a lot of cool stuff you can do with a 3D printer.

2. Engineering is a hands-on learning style that is about thinking outside the box.

3.  There’s a general misconception about how art ties into all of this.

Art can be incorporated in almost anything, since it’s a way to express your creativity. When looking at a city and thinking of new ways to rejuvenate it and make it fun and full of voice, that’s making art. By putting in parklets, and finding ways to fill alley-ways with street art, and make them shortcuts that put a smile on your face instead of a feeling of uneasiness, that’s also creating art.

STEAM incorporates that, it’s drafting up cool concepts for building your own vertical gardening tower, It’s taking color schemes and cool typography along with graphics to make banners and websites. STEAM is encouraging curiosity and self discovery. It’ already taught me that I might be very interested in becoming an engineer or working in tech. It’s made me want to learn how to code, and how to draft, and use auto cad programs—properly. It’s made me want to learn more. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m sure very many of you STEM & STEM enthusiasts are right now. I’m at the point of no return. Currently, in my STEM program, there are no coding classes, no advanced architectural drafting, and no intense graphic or website design courses.

That needs to change.

I’m now going to start heading up my own entrepreneurial club, along with looking for online classes, and courses offered at the nearby college. I have to find ways to improve the current situation, so I’m blazing a new trail. It’s not going to be easy, but I love learning, especially learning things I’m interested in. I’m going to do what I can, using the engineering principles; identifying the problem, then brainstorming ways to fix it, technology to help along the way.  I will make cool flyers and ads for whatever I end up starting, then good old science and math to figure out which courses I have to take vs. want to take and what the probability of my school and time will allow me to accomplish. And yes I’m going to fail along the way, but hey, that’s how you learn.

Author:  Isabela Reyes-Klein


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GirlMade CEO has worked with Heidi van Rooijen for many years and finds Heidi’s approach to business practical.


 Which is why we asked this Dutch female founder to share her insights with young women involved with our Girl Empire programs as they evolve themselves and their careers to include international relations.

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Our team recently sat down with entrepreneur and chief creative officer at Outsiders Hair Studio, Nellie Davis to learn more about what fuels her creativity and business acumen in the Reno/Tahoe area.

 Nellie Davis - The Outsider


Girlmade: What is your passion?
Nellie D: I’m most passionate about building a strong connection between what I do behind the chair and my community. I’m determined to prove that being a hair stylist is so much more than scissors and a comb. It’s the feeling associated with a good hair experience. That we, as stylists, are both fine artists and confidants.

Girlmade: Who are your role models for strength and resilience?
Nellie D: I have so many role models. While there are folks in my industry who are undoubtedly talented, I find the most encouragement to grow and succeed from those closest to me. My friends, my team and especially my son. He teaches me so much about who I strive to be.

Girlmade: Biggest regret
Nellie D: I try not to live with regret, only lessons.

Girlmade: Biggest fear
Nellie D: I have a steady fear of snakes and the dark. There’s many, many ways you can look at that.

Girlmade: When was the last time your laughed?
Nellie D: Today.

Girlmade: When was the last time you cried
Nellie D: Yesterday.

Girlmade: What can we expect from you in the future? A big dream? Or challenge you are setting for yourself?
Nellie D: Great, unstoppable things, I hope. I have the dream of inspiring. I’d love to travel the world and incorporate what I gain into my work and my relationships to create a unique fashion culture from that. In the same sense, I want to be able to show other outsiders that it’s quite the adventure to embrace who you are.

Continue to follow them by tuning into their work on Instagram or Facebook


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Dawn Quaker Edunext

Dawn Quaker Edunext

Posted By on Jan 29, 2015

Dawn Quaker Headshot 1.25.15-2

Recently team had the opportunity to catch up Dawn Quaker, who after a six-year career as a professional ballet dancer, performing with companies such as, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet decided to hone her business skills working in recruiting and business development within the hedge fund industry.   Next she saw a gap in the industry so decided to fill it herself which has resulted in her first venture called Edunext, which is why we wanted to share a few highlights from a recent interview with Dawn.

1.)    Tell us about yourself

All my life, i’ve been interested in building things.  Whether it be ballet or business, the one common thread has always been that the companies I enjoyed working at the most were on the cutting edge in their respective industry.

That’s what I’m trying to do with Edunext – take experiential learning in a new direction, while maintaining the integrity and mission(s) of the organizations we work with as part of our collaboration.  We see their mission(s) as a reflection of our own and know that collectively we can make the greatest impact.

2.) Who are or have been your mentors and how have they impacted your lives/business/success – you get the idea.

As women, it is important that we recognize the strength of our own voice and not fear our own empowerment.  I was fortunate as a teenager to have a teacher, Linda Roberts, that taught me just that: how to think for myself, how to argue and how to listen.  All three inform who I am and what I do, today.

3.) What do you do to stay relevant in your industry?

Edtech is a burgeoning field; the evolving role of technology in education and the myriad of variables which may impact an individuals learning environment make it a necessity to continually reinvest in your mission statement; this reinvestment requires both maintaining a broad appraisal of current events and politics while remaining informed of the most recent academic articles on computer science, educational pedagogy, and human development.

4.) What are the top three tips you recommend to our Girl Empire audience (young women) to be like you some day?

There are actually four things I think all young women should keep in mind:

  1. Be Yourself.  Fully and unapologetically.

Steve Jobs may have said it best, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

  1. Dream big.  Thanks to the generations of women who have come before us; we have more opportunities than ever before, so be sure to value who you are, what you want to do, and know no limits.
  2. Read.  Knowledge truly is power.  You will enrich your life exponentially with a good book.
  3. Be Resilient.  Every woman is faced with obstacles in their life; remember the thing that matters most is that you adapt and persevere.

Dawn currently resides in New York City, New York and is student of business development and entrepreneurship while completing her studies as a student of Psychology at Columbia University’s School of General Studies.

You can reach out to Dawn via twitter at: @d_quaker



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When you first look at Brianna Bullentini, you’re already enraptured by her mane of blond hair, and that’s before she opens her mouth. But when she does start talking, you become further engrossed and have to quickly shift gears from admiring her luscious locks to being astounded at how much ground she covers in so little time. She has a dazzling personality that is seemingly endless. That may be in due part to her company RAWBRY, a juice and robbery themed smoothie bar with the catchy slogan “Steal Your Health Back.”


Brianna’s passionate with everything that she does; she nods and jots down notes which then progress to new ideas or outlooks on situations varying from juicing, to an edgy night gym lit by kinetic workout energy, to many many more. Brianna is an authentic person who adds a creative touch to anything she touches and sees potential where others see lifeless old basements—literally. Her new market concept is taking shape in the historical Post Office Downtown, where she is bringing to life a concept very unique for Reno. Located in none other than the building’s otherwise unused basement.  Seeing the possibility with the exposed brick and chains, Brianna has taken it upon herself with the help of Bernie Carter and many others under her lead to turn the historical landmark into a soon-to-be funky ‘3rd space’ that will attract Reno’s quickly rising eclectic tastes.

She emphasized that her main objective was ‘to be a rebel with a good cause.’ And that she is, encouraging people to ditch the artificial junk for juice, hosting midnight heists of tree planting while undercover in a bandana, and teaching classes on how to make at home non-dairy milks.  Apart from being super cool, Brianna is a vibrant individual who sees, plans, and executes.

We can’t wait to see how everything unfolds, stay tuned for the reveal of the Post Office project and RAWBRY in March. So stay tuned to see more about this heist, and watch out, you might snatch your health back this spring!

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 It’s like a muscle, if you practice and flex it, it can turn into a way to live.

A tenant of success in business is relationship nurturing, building, tending and sustaining.  Yet in today’s wired world, it’s easy to spend too much time with surface level interactions.  One of the many skills that we must maintain is the skills of active listening, authentic conversations and integrity.  Easier said than done in today’s world, yet must be a core competency we focus on.

One of my secret ingredients that I share with community managers in my coaching sessions it that of an earnest commitment in your businesses, communities or lives to ensure that people are the base ingredient for your success.

In our practice of daily mantras, meditation or simply during our to do list review, I suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who will you motivate today?
  • Who will you recognize?
  • How many direct customer, partner and employee conversations can you spark?
  • How can you inspire your colleagues, team or company in a new way?
  • How can you make the mundane more ‘fun’?
  • Can you listen in the moment with your customers, partners, employees or prospects today?

Lauren is an open leadership, social business strategist, consultant, and coach. She is experienced in designing engaging communities, mentoring community managers and leaders, leadership coaching, external speaking, presenting and facilitating. A strong professional foundation with over 20 years of business experience with Fortune 500 and international corporations. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter: @thelaurenklein

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Grab your pearls and sequins! Tickets are still available for our quarterly League of Ladies networking shindig!

Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions

Debbie Sessions with Reno-based assembled three looks to get you ready to party like it’s 1922. curates and links to vintage-inspired clothing, accessories and shoes across the ‘net. Items are organized by decade and cater to any budget.

Debbie proves that making a living, having fun and following one’s passion can be a successful blend — and that’s why Girlmade hosts League of Ladies. Gatsby-inspired attire is highly encouraged, but like we’ve said before, the best accessory is a great attitude toward meeting local entrepreneurs, politicians, students, industry leaders and more.

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Whether teens contemplate college or embrace the workforce after graduation, they need ways to explore their options. That’s why the Girlmade team has spent this sweltering summer preparing for Girl Empire, a one-day conference about college prep and entrepreneurship for high school girls.

Girl Empire will be from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 9 at the brand new Whitney Peak Hotel in downtown Reno. Tickets start at $99 if you bring a friend, but you could go FOR FREE! All you have to do is visit the “Win a Scholarship” page on the Girl Empire website and answer the short-answer questions. Tickets include lunch and access to Whitney Peak Hotel’s climbing wall.

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