Sports, health and leadership are the pillars upon which Girls in the Game is founded, but of the three, leadership can be the most ambiguous. At Summer Squad this year, leadership has manifested itself in confidence and curiosity. Both of these traits were on full display at our Leader to Leader interviews this past month.
Leader to Leader interviews are when Summer Squad is invited to visit a company and interview several of their employees. The teens lead the program, which includes introduction activities, an ice breaker and a panel discussion where the teens ask questions about the company and the day-to-day realities of the working world.
Because the teens lead the programs at these different worksites, participating in a Leader to Leader requires confidence not only in oneself, but also the Summer Squad program and one’s peers. The roles of leading each portion are divided between teen participants, and everyone has the chance to contribute to the program in some way.
The final part of the Leader to Leader interview is the panel discussion in which the teens ask questions of the leaders at the company they are visiting. This is where curiosity becomes a crucial part of leadership. At the Leader to Leader I observed at United Airlines, the questions started during lunch, where the teens asked about internship opportunities and ways to get involved with United. This continued into the panel discussion, where there was not a break in questions until we had to catch our bus home!
The questions ranged from what a typical day at United looks like, to what internship opportunities were available to specifics about the panelists’ positions, including the procedure for responding to an international terrorist attack. This curiosity to pursue opportunities for the future, and truly explore what those opportunities would mean on an individual level, show ownership over the Leader to Leader experience as well as drive to pursue novel career options.
The teens talked to a few of the tens of thousands of United employees, including people involved in everything from the catering of food on planes to those in charge of responses to cyber-attacks. The group was even able to see where the day-to-day operations take place for planes traveling in and out of O’Hare Airport.
In addition to United, our first round of Leader to Leaders took teens to Capital One and UnitedHealthcare, where each group could conduct its interviews as well as take a tour of the facilities. More importantly, teens were given the opportunity to network while exploring future career paths.
At UnitedHealthcare, Summer Squad teens learned about the healthcare field and exciting innovations for the future. UnitedHealthcare employees spoke of the possibility of 3D printing and the impact it could have on prescription distribution. This Leader to Leader opportunity opened eyes to careers in healthcare as well as atypical options for entrepreneurs and inventors.
The Capital One visit provided a sneak peek into the financial world. Members of Summer Squad receive a stipend for their time spent with Girls in the Game. For some, this is their first substantial paycheck, and the Leader to Leader gave insight into the world of credit and how money is spent.
The teens will participate in three Leader to Leaders over the course of their summer with Girls in the Game, only providing more opportunities for growth in confidence, curiosity and overall leadership skills.