Girls Going Places

The UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) in partnership with Opes One Advisors present the inaugural Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Conference, April 7-8, 2015. Although offered in 33 states over the past 15 years, this was the first time this conference has been offered in Texas. During this two-part conference, more than 100 female students from area high schools, female students from UT Dallas, and local female business owners, executives and entrepreneurs gathered for activities and discussion about financial independence, entrepreneurship and business ownership.

This Conference would not have been possible without the generous partnership of Opes One Advisors and our sponsors below! We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the support that has made this event available to over 100 UT Dallas students and 140 MS/HS girls!

cai-logoCentury 21 Judge Fite CompanyAEC, INCTI Logomethodist_rmcRGB_transparent_OPES_Full_Color_NoGuardianThe Detwiler Family
Debbie Saviano
Sydney S. Hicks
Geraldine D. Henry
Beckey Fuller
Susan Shapiro
Jeanne Glass
Stephanie Nickerson
Charles H. JeffreyMark Dennison
Megan Thul
Brent and Jill Goodermont
Daniel Crisler
Amy Cockerham
Deb Marazek
Diane McNulty
Jon Shapiro

GGPdinner                               Girls Going Places
The two-parts consisted of a dinner followed by a day conference  where the students sat down for games, discussions, and advice with their mentors.


Dallas, TX, April 8, 2015 – 100 girls from middle and high schools throughout the Dallas area, and over 30 prominent women in business, are expected to attend the inaugural Girls Going Places® Entrepreneurship Conference presented locally by Opes One Advisors and the University of Texas at Dallas, Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. During the conference hosted at the University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas women business owners will mentor girls age 12 through 18 about entrepreneurship and financial independence.

“By providing young women with the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of successful local business women, we hope to ignite their excitement about entrepreneurship and the rewards of business ownership,” said Lacey Zumberge, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Opes One Advisors. “The entire program of the day is designed to provide students with hands-on experience in finance and business that they may utilize in the future. The day also serves to create a bond between the current women in business leaders who are role models to the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

During the interactive conference, more than 30 local business women will guide the girls through various activities such as “Hot Company®,” an entrepreneurial board game that introduces girls to the advantages and challenges of owning one’s own business. They will also team up for an exercise called “Product-in-a-Box®,” in which they will have the opportunity to design a product and present a marketing plan. The mentors will share their experiences as successful women in business.

“The first step to achieving something is believing that you can.” said Melissa Palmer, Program Manager for the UT Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “It is essential that we create opportunities for girls to interact with female business owners and leaders in order to build their sense of what’s possible. The Institute is leading the way in accelerating female entrepreneurship. ”
The Girls Going Places ® Entrepreneurship Conference is natural extension of both businesses involved. “As a financial service firm rooted in a vision to help our clients create and grow their wealth, our mission is to offer life-changing opportunities for each one of our stakeholders,” says Zumberge, “Girls Going Places is similar to our mission in a sense that it enables young women to set their own financial goals and provides training and support they need to succeed.”

Young Women Prepare to Conquer The Future – Girls Going Places Entrepreneurship Conference

Girls have an exciting future – if they are prepared. A one-day seminar to get high school girls ready to focus on entrepreneurship, education and financial stability is coming to Texas for the first time in April. “Girls Going Places,” held at university campuses across the nation, has a 15-year history of inspiring young women to think about their future while being guided by local women entrepreneurs who volunteer to mentor at the event.

Naveen Jindal School of Management and the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship are organizing the April 7th and 8th events for over 200 students, all of whom attend for free. All the slots for high school students have been filled and about 35 girls are on a waiting list. An additional 30 female mentors and 30 female students from The University of Texas at Dallas will guide the high schoolers through a series of events that give them the opportunity to make decisions that a business owner might face. Mentors will share their own experiences in a fun, nonthreatening way.

Melissa Palmer, IIE program director, has organized a dinner for mentors and UT Dallas’ female students on April 7 to kick off “Girls Going Places.” Keynote speaker Debbie Mrazek will discuss “Women and Making Money.” Mrazek is founder and president of The Sales Company, a Plano firm that helps entrepreneurs, individuals and large corporations better understand and engage in purposeful selling.

Mrazek, an IIE advisory council member, draws on her experiences when talking with young women. “They are not alone,” Mrazek emphasizes. “There are people who want to help them, will help them and can help them no matter what it is they are aspiring to do or be. Not only are there people but there are resources beyond their wildest imaginations. They must find their voice and speak what it is they are trying to accomplish.”

Her motto – You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great – is designed to inspire women to take the first step on the road to entrepreneurship. “The world they step into out of high school is a global place now, not just their state or country,” she says. “There are so many choices, which is amazing on one hand. But on the other, the lack of focus can often cause them to not do anything.”

According to Entrepreneur magazine, Texas ranks No. 2 (behind Georgia) among U.S. states for the fastest growth in the number of women-owned businesses between 1997 and 2014. In Texas, more than 28 percent of businesses are female-owned.

“The first step to achieving something is believing that you can,” Palmer says. “It is essential that we create opportunities for girls to interact with female business owners and leaders in order to build their sense of what’s possible.”

Opes One Advisors in Dallas is the named sponsor of this year’s inaugural event. “By providing young women with the opportunity to learn from a diverse group of successful, local businesswomen, we hope to ignite their excitement about entrepreneurship and the rewards of business ownership,” says Lacey Zumberge, business development and marketing director at Opes One Advisors. Other corporate sponsorships are available.

Read more about Girls Going Places from their articles on the Dallas Morning News or LaunchDFW.

Melissa Palmer

Assistant Director