Three years ago today, I made a New Years Resolution. I wrote my little sister, Sophie, a book for Christmas called, Big Sister’s Guide to High School, and after a lot of thinking (and Christmas cookies, obviously), I decided that I wanted to start something that would provide empowering, inspirational content for girls like me. The content would be based off of the book and would be called Smart Girls Guide. On January 1, 2012, my resolution was to make that happen.
When I started Smart Girls Guide, my cousins, my sister, and a few bloggers were writing the articles. I was designing the magazine during lunch at school. The magazine content was being planned on the back of my AP World History notebook. And I was different. I was applying to colleges as a chemistry major. I would Skype my best friend Tori, who was starting her first year in college in Indiana. We would talk about the ups and downs of high school and college life, and how she wanted to be a history teacher and I wanted to be an orthodontist. Then Smart Girls Group came into the picture.
We’ve grown a lot since then. We have Smart Girls in 46 countries and all 50 states, all of whom I feel so lucky to call sisters. We now have ten brands that continue our mission to arm Smart Girls with the tools they need to succeed in all facets of life. We had a conference this past year, bringing together 300 Smart Girls and some of the most inspirational women I’ve ever met, in New York City, which would have never happened without the tireless work of Kristen McNeill and Alexa Paiva. We have an office and a staff of eight amazing girls I’m lucky to call teammates (two of whom–Megan Becker and Mimi Warnick–have been on the staff since June of 2012). Life now means taking night classes so I can work full time and going to business school instead of applying to dental school. And my best friend Tori, she’s still my best friend and I’m really lucky that I get to work with her everyday as she leads our campus chapters (and thanks to her we had 40 registered chapters this past fall!).
We have a lot to celebrate this year. We had a big year of conferences, competitions, and conquering every challenge that came our way. We celebrated 25 issues of Smart Girls Guide. We had our first staff retreat. We were featured in some really amazing publications. We built a Board of Advisors. We led our first big marketing campaigns, led by Maurissa Walls, Hannah Ziegler, and the marketing team. And we did all of this thanks to you, our Smart Girl Sisters, cheerleaders, and friends.
As we move into 2015, Smart Girls Group is growing up and putting on its first training bra.
We thought about a lot of different ways (aka had 15 binders full of ideas and strategies) we could improve Smart Girls Guide to help it reach and interact with Smart Girls in the best way possible. We threw around seemingly hundreds of ideas, did research for over six months, met with our advisors, spoke with tons of Smart Girl Sisters, and decided that starting on our third birthday, Smart Girls Guide content will have a new home on SmartGirlsGroup.com. We are completely expanding our online editorial content in a way that still has the same vibe as Smart Girls Guide in a more user friendly, interactive way. We will be shaking things up while doubling down on the things you already love. Quincy Bulin has taken Smart Girls Guide to unbelievable heights in 2014 and she and her teammates have big plans for the year ahead.
This is not the only part of Smart Girls that will be growing this year. After a very successful run in 2014, we are proud to announce that we will be taking our conference series to both New York City AND Chicago this coming summer. (Stay tuned for official dates later in the month and early bird sales!)
This, along with some other surprises throughout the year, will be big steps for us. As we make these leaps, we ask for your feedback–the good, the bad, and the not-so-smart. This past year was a year of milestones for us, and we are excited for 2015, which we hope will be bigger, better, and smarter.
On behalf of our entire Smart Girls family, thank you for your support and love these past three years. We are honored that you take the time to be a part of the sisterhood and consider our corner of the Internet a destination for your Smart Girl needs. We are beyond excited for the year ahead and we wish you all a Happy, Happy, Happy New Year!