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Marin Teen Girl Conference

Presented by The Marin Women’s Commission

Be Your Own Superhero!

The Marin Teen Girl Conference is for teen girls currently in grades 8-12. Entry tickets are $15 advance registration/$20 at the door. Limited Scholarships available, please contact: [email protected] or (415) 473-6195

Marin Voice: Women’s History Month in Marin

By Wendy Baker
Guest op-ed column

FIFTY YEARS AGO, President Kennedy established the first National Commission on the Status of Women and in 1963 appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as the commission’s first chairwoman.

Marin County’s role is carried out by the Marin Women’s Commission, whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for Marin County women at all stages of life. We advocate for equity and parity in the work place, diversity, self-sufficiency and leadership, among other values, and work on topical issues such as rape in the military, self-esteem for girls and financial literacy.

The month of March is Women’s History Month. Each year we host programs to inform women and girls about ways to take action to improve their lives. Programs cover issues such as child care, legal issues, salary inequity, legislation for violence against women, money issues and health-related problems, among other topics.

Saturday, March 15, is our fourth annual “Marin Teen Girl Conference” — a terrific opportunity for teens to engage in topics ranging from sexuality, Dating 101, suicide prevention, and self-image, to mean girl behavior, stress, self-defense and more.

This is a professional event designed for teens by teens. Girls in eighth through 12th grades attend workshops designed by Teen Ambassadors from local schools; each workshop has an experienced, professional presenter.

This year’s inspiring keynote speaker is Kathleen Hassan, whose focus is “Stop Fitting In & Dare to Stand Out.”

The Marin Teen Girl Conference takes place at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The cost is only $15 with scholarships available. Anyone can “Sponsor a Girl” by contributing $50 toward scholarships. See

Another great opportunity to network in Marin is the “Marin Women Making a Difference” event, hosted by the AAUW, YWCA San Francisco-Marin, and Dominican University, on March 20, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Dominican University’s Guzman Hall at 50 Acacia Ave. in San Rafael.

The cost is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Dominican students are free.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to hear John Rothmann, noted educator, scholar, speaker and former radio talk show host, speak about the contributions of America’s first ladies.

Each year, the commission helps co-sponsor the Marin Women’s Hall of Fame awards ceremony.

This year’s event is March 27, at 7 p.m. at the Peacock Gap Golf Club, 333 Biscayne Drive, San Rafael.

The event is hosted by YWCA San Francisco- Marin.

Since 1987, the Hall of Fame has inducted over 125 Marin women of distinction who have made immense contributions to the county and its residents as well as to the world beyond.

Honorees have distinguished themselves in many fields — education, science, business, philanthropy, the arts, politics, law, philosophy and religion.

For event details and tickets, see

Also stay tuned for the annual “Women and Money Conference” on Saturday, April 12 at Dominican University at Guzman Hall, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Workshops will reflect the needs of women and their families regarding financial literacy and economic sustainability.

Last year’s top three issues were saving for retirement, budgeting during economic recession and saving for education and emergencies.

In addition, the Marin Women’s Commission — comprised of 11 women appointed by the Board of Supervisors, two from each district and one at-large appointment — meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center. Its meetings are open to the public.

For more information, see, or call 473-6195.

Wendy Baker is a member of the Marin Women’s Commission and a former Mayor of Fairfax.

Marin Independent Journal – Conference on Girl Power Fires Up Marin Teens

By Paul Liberatore
March 2, 2013

A conference room at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael reverberated Saturday morning with the roar of 250 teenage girls chanting: “I am somebody special. If you don’t like me, tough. Because I am cool enough, smooth enough and, doggone it, I am hot enough to be who I want to be.”

They were being led in this spirited group affirmation, complete with hand gestures and sound effects, by Harriet Turk, a former flight attendant turned rousing motivational speaker.

“What would happen if we woke up every day and we felt that way about ourselves and we repeated that to ourselves?” she asked in a honeyed southern drawl.

A resident of Memphis, Tenn., Turk was the keynote speaker in the third Marin Teen Girl Conference, a daylong confab titled: “Be Strong, Be Confident, Be You!” presented by the Marin Women’s Commission, it was organized by 24 girls, called “teen ambassadors,” from throughout the county.

After Turk’s energizing talk, the girls broke into workshops led by women presenters and facilitators A Marin Teen Girl Conference focused on such issues as dating, safe sex, mean girls, overcoming obstacles, teen suicide and balancing life, school and friendships.

“We chose the things that we all feel we want help with,” explained 14-year-old Bella Pasquinelli-Cato of San Rafael High. “They are all equally important and pertinent for teens right now. We tailored them to fit who we think the teens of Marin are.”

She said she would be attending the “How Do I Balance It All?” session.

“Everybody’s lives are so busy and there’s so much going on that it’s really hard to figure out what’s a priority,” she said. “That’s a really important one for a lot of girls.”

Cynthia Galvez, a 17-year-old San Rafael High School senior, planned on taking in the workshops that dealt with dating and relationships.

“As I’m getting older, my relationships are getting more serious and I want to be informed,” she said. “With romantic relationships, I’ve had trouble in the past. I want to keep them going strong. A lot of girls are having trouble with that now.”

Linh Hunh, a 15-year-old Tamalpais High student, planned to attend the workshop on safe and smart social networking.

“I’m always on the Internet,” she confessed. “There are lots of people on there who could be trolls. You don’t know who they are, so you have to be smart about it. You can’t just meet up with them in real life.”

Julie Wilson, a 15-year-old Terra Linda High freshman, was particularly interested in the session on suicide prevention entitled “Question, Persuade, Refer: Ask a Question to Save a Life.”

“I was in seventh grade when a boy in eighth grade committed suicide at my school,” she said. “That year was really rough for my community. I feel that if there is another wave of suicides, I want to be prepared, to know what to do if I’m close to somebody in that situation.”

The conference arose three years ago after the Marin Women’s Commission conducted a needs assessment that focused on teenage girls.

“They felt like there wasn’t a safe place for them to talk about these issues, that there wasn’t something specifically for them,” explained the commission’s Marti Rule. “There was a real interest in bringing girls together in one place, a safe environment where they could connect with each other, to do something outside themselves that was inspirational and addressed issues important to them.”

Saturday’s conference also featured a “teen mall” of exhibitors, including Beyond Hunger, Center for Domestic Peace, Huckleberry Youth Program, Kaiser Permanente, Marin County Free Library, Novato Wellness Center, Planned Parenthood and Pharmacists Planning Services. In addition, about 20 organizations, called “community partners,” also supported the conference.

“As a commission, we wanted the girls to know these community partners have services for teens,” Rule said. “If girls are suffering from depression, or from eating disorders, or if they just need someone to talk to, we want them to know they’re not alone.”

Contact Paul Liberatore via email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @LibLarge. Read his blog at

Marin Voice: Empowering teen girls

By Kristine Fowler Cirby and Marti Rule
Guest op-ed column

Marin Independent Journal
February 16, 2012

IMAGINE STARTING your day facing just one of these challenges: Depression, an eating disorder, relentless unrealistic and hyper-sexualized media images, mean girl tactics at school and online, or a boyfriend that belittles you.
Ugh! Yet for our teen girls, these are just a few of the many issues confronting them everyday, taking a toll on their confidence, self esteem and physical health.

Consider these statistics:
• 59 percent of fifth- to 12th-grade girls in one survey were dissatisfied with their body shape.

• By 15, girls are twice more likely to become depressed than boys.

• 25 percent of all sexually transmitted infections occur in adolescence.

• Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problems diagnosed in girls and women — eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression.

• One in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

• Some 80 percent of teen deaths are related to behavioral issues such as drug or alcohol abuse.

• Over 40 percent of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online.

For Marin teen girls, these statistics are all too real. Before we can ask them to develop into strong confident young women, we need to provide them with skills to cope with and overcome the ongoing
assault on their well-being. They need to know they can contribute to society by more than just looking good. They need help to decipher the many negative messages they receive.

The Marin Women’s commission heard their need for a safe place to explore these issues and start on the path to empowerment. In 2011, the commission created the Marin Teen Girl Conference to help girls to obtain the tools necessary to begin this journey. The second conference is on March 3.
The conference offers a safe, girls-only environment to make real connections, embrace who they are, and talk about issues important to them. Workshop topics include media literacy and self-esteem; healthy relationships and setting boundaries; staying safe around drugs and alcohol; managing stress; and teens and money.

The goal of the conference is for girls to come away with the information and resources that give them a strong foundation and tools to develop into empowered, confident young women.
The keynote speaker is Lateefah Simon, a Bay Area civil rights leader and advocate for young women. She is a MacArthur “Genius Award” winner and was named to Oprah’s 2009 “Power List.”
The luncheon presentation will include a panel of women in traditionally male-dominated careers.

The closing session will feature Lauren Parkesian and Molly Thompson, founders of the nationally recognized Kind Campaign, an organization that brings awareness and healing to the negative and lasting effects of girl-to-girl bullying.

The second Marin Teen Girl Conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael. The conference theme: “Inquire, Imagine, Inspire” and workshop topics are the collective efforts of input from the commission’s Teen Girl Ambassadors and focus groups of teen girls around Marin.
Registration is open to girls in grades 8 to 12 through Feb. 29 (last year’s conference sold out). Tickets are $15 and scholarships are available. To register online, or to sponsor a girl to attend for $50, go to Find out more on Facebook at “Marin Teen Girl,” or call the commission at 499-6195.
Kristine Fowler Cirby of Novato and Marti Rule of San Rafael are members of the Marin Women’s Commission

Save the Date!
March 15, 2014

9:00am to 3:30pm

Embassy Suites Hotel
San Rafael, CA

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