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Why I joined GLAM

Ali with business plan pitch contest winners at GLAM London

By Ali Stripling, Program and Content Strategy Director, GLAM

There are often moments in your life when your heartstrings are tugged…

In November 2019, I went to help out at GLAM London. I was working for the global tech company, Arm, at that time, and we were founding partners of GLAM. A number of my colleagues were presenting at the event, and I would be delivering a coding session (completely out of my comfort zone, but I loved it – we designed and programmed micro:pets!!).

Many partnerships start because of individual engagement – that’s certainly how Arm became a founding partner of GLAM. A member of the Arm executive team and their daughters initially got involved in GLAM San Jose, and then another member of the executive got involved… and they both spoke with such passion and conviction for GLAM. Of course, we also knew that we had to be proactive and invest in programs like GLAM, to help improve the gender balance within STEM and within future leadership roles.

But like most things in life, it’s hard to truly understand the impact of such programs unless you get to experience it yourself. So I was delighted and intrigued when I had the opportunity to head to GLAM’s inaugural event in the UK. After helping with set-up on the Friday followed by dinner with the extended GLAM Family, I arrived at the venue on Saturday with apprehension and excitement, ready to see GLAM in full swing!

There was this one girl whose dad dropped her off, and after she was left, this little girl had a little cry – okay and yep that pulled at my heart-strings, but it was 15 minutes later when the transformation occurred. The 60+ girls all settled into teams and heard a welcome address from the founder of GLAM, iTalent Digital and Mojo Rank, Renée La Londe – and what a welcome it was. Renée shared with the girls that sometimes when they shared their ideas, others would say things such as ‘nope, we tried that, it didn’t work’; ‘that’s a ridiculous idea – it won’t work’; ‘I don’t believe in your opinion, you’re wrong’ and invited the girls to share how they would respond.

The girl who had been in tears took the microphone and shared her idea. Renée played devil's advocate and said it was a terrible idea, many have tried before and failed…. And the girl took the microphone again and said, “I am going to solve it!” with incredible conviction. This little girl was one of many that weekend who found the power in their voice, acquired new skills, then learned how to work as a team to develop a business idea and formalize it into a business plan.

And the cherry on the cake was the business plan pitch contest. In their teams at the end of two intense, ram-packed days, they took to the stage in their teams. They pitched their idea and business plan – they answered questions from senior business leaders (you know the scary ones that you practice your elevator pitch for in case you ever get five minutes with them to shine!). But if these girls were anxious, it didn’t show – they presented with passion and self-belief alongside bringing fun and individualism to their pitches. Not only that, but keep in mind that when they’re all on stage, they’re looking out at 250 people – fellow GLAM girls, mentors, family members, volunteers, and a TV CREW! Honestly, from the moment I arrived to the movement I had to say goodbye, I was astounded.

At GLAM, we say that our mission is a simple one: to equip girls across the globe with the skills and confidence to seek leadership roles, feel power within their voice, and create positive change in the world. And wow, do we deliver on that! I’m so proud to have been able to join the GLAM team and help us reach more girls – because as much as we inspire them, they inspire us, too.

It’s long overdue that we take a different approach to ensuring that we are creating the trailblazers of tomorrow. GLAM with your support, has a role to fulfill. And the great news is there are many ways you can help us help change the pipeline of tomorrow – partner with us, donate to us, share what we’re doing and connect with us!

We’re all going to need to invest in the change we want to see in the world.

I look forward to connecting with you all and sharing our progress.

- Ali


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