March 22, 2014

Young Syrian Women in Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp Use Their Skills and Learn New Ones to Open Businesses

Rania Abouzeid’s article in the March 2014 issue of  Marie Claire,  “Living in Limbo: The Women of Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp”  reveals how Syrian women, young and old are making the most of a horrific situation.  Covering young female entrepreneurs during Women’s History Month would not be complete if young entrepreneur Syrian women were not included. 

While these women have been forced to leave their homeland, they do not sit around feeling sorry for themselves. The Zaatari refugee camp is Jordan’s fourth largest city and the world’s second largest refugee camp.  There are over 124, 000 Syrian refugees living there, yes that’s right 124,000.  Of that population 54 percent are female.

The young women I want you to meet are 19 and 20 years old.  What is different for these young women?

  1. There are no universities in Zaatari. Rather than complaining about it the young women are carving out productive lives for themselves while they wait to return to Syria.
  2. It is not uncommon for Syrian women in Zaateri to be entrepreneurs and business owners. They may become entrepreneurs as they are the heads of their households and need to support their families.
  3. Some of these young women, even at the age of 19 were successful business owners in Syria. They love to work and are passionate about what they do.

Of the five young entrepreneurs in Rania Abouzeid’s article, a fifth one was a business owner in Syria. I want to introduce you to two of them:

  • 19-year-old Aisha Hariri works with her family of entrepreneurial women.
  • 20-year-old Em Odai is a serial entrepreneur. In Damascus she owned a beauty salon and loved every minute of it. The salon was exquisite as she describes it. In the Zaatari refugee camp Em once again began a beauty salon along with a rental business of wedding dresses and evening gowns.

Like many other Syrian women in Zaatari, Aisha and Em Odai have taken their skills to learn or start a business that helps others in Zaatari.  Their businesses help to keep their spirits up while waiting to return to their homeland.

Aisha Hariri  is from a family of women entrepreneurs.  The women decided to combine their skills and open a family business preparing and selling makdous.  To do so they converted one of Zaatari’s communal kitchens into a production facility.  For Syrians and Lebanese makdous is a side dish made from baby eggplant stuffed with crushed walnuts, garlic, diced chili peppers and then pickled in olive oil.

Aisha Hariri  Photo by Rena Effendi Marie Claire magazine  March 2014

Aisha Hariri
Photo by Rena Effendi
Marie Claire magazine
March 2014

Aisha makes a little over $70 a month in the family business.  She graduated from high school and wants to attend a university to get a teaching degree. Asisha will need to wait until she returns to Syria to get her degree since Zaatari does not have any universities. In the meantime she is learning to sew while working with her entrepreneur relatives in their family business.  Do you think Aisha will start her own business after learning the ropes of her family’s business? Aisha Hariri is learning more than how to run a food production factory.  She is learning how to maneuver through a challenge faced by all family owned businesses. Can you guess what that might be?

Makdous Syrian stuffed eggplant

Makdous Syrian stuffed eggplant

Em Odai  photo by Rena Effendi Marie Claire 2014

Em Odai
photo by Rena Effendi
Marie Claire 2014

Em Odai  loves her profession as the owner of a beauty salon.  She doesn’t need to work yet she enjoys working and her passion makes it happen. In Damascus Em owned a beauty salon named “Beauty Queen.” As Em Odai describes it, the salon’s name was perfect for it. When she and her husband with their 2-year old son headed for Syria, two of her four suitcases held hairdressing equipment.  The equipment was taken at a checkpoint leaving her to with nothing to start all over in Zaatari.

Em Odai was able to open a beauty salon in Zaatari with partner who is also a female and refugee.  They split the cost of a trailer purchased from a United Nation’s donation.  While Em describes her new salon as “nothing special and boring” she would not be able to open it without a business partner.  One of Em’s customers, Hadiyee Malak was an entrepreneur in Damascus. She had a salon as well.  However Hadiyee does not have one in the camp because it is too expensive to set up a business like  “Salon Em Odai.”

As I said earlier, Em Odai is a serial entrepreneur. She also rents wedding gowns and evening dresses. Em’s businesses do so well she is able to have an assistant. Both of her businesses are filling needs for women in a city where women make up 54 percent of the population.  (Remember, Zaatari is the size of a small city and there is a need for special occasion dresses.) She has also provided a job for another young woman as her assistant.

I believe the stories of these Syrian women are a future chapter in Women’s History Month. The resiliency of young women from countries like Syria, Afghanistan, Rwanda, El Salvador and Guatemala provide the young women with the courage to make an impact in their communities.

These women are instrumental in the growth of the global economy.  They are making a difference with the education of their children and supporting their families, even those young women who are in their teens and early 20’s.

Read the complete article in the March issue of Marie Claire by clicking on: Living in Limbo: The Women of Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp.”

We have two more post before March and Women’s History Month ends for 2014.  I am not going to tell you who or what will be highlighting, only that you will be happy with it.


Sylvia Scott, Founder, Girl’s CEO Connection™


Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect


Female Entrepreneurs Come From Diverse Backgrounds with Very Diverse Business Visions-Part 2

Continuing with our celebration of  International Women’s Day 2014 we are highlighting Karen Jashinsky, founder and chief fitness director of O2MAX in Santa Monica, California female.  Karen’s business is at the other end of the spectrum from Hayley Hoverter with Sweet (dis) SOLVE.  Karen’s mission is to revolutionize the way students experience fitness.

K J Physical

I have known Karen for many years and love her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to a healthy lifestyle and teenage girls and college women. The Girl’s CEO Connection™ is proud to have Karen on the Advisory Board and a presenter for our Realizing a Vision Conference.  Her commitment to physical fitness for both a strong body and mind fits right into the Girl’s CEO Connection™. To be equipped as a young entrepreneur being fit and healthy is key. After all it is more difficult to stay focused on your studies and business when you are tired and too stressed out to think clearly.  In fact Karen’s tips are included in my new book, Realizing a Vision.

Why is Karen’s business different that other physical fitness programs?

Karen’s innovative approach to fitness is designed for young people whether a high school student, college student or a young working professional. She takes an entrepreneurial approach with all her clients-students and adults and has a passion for helping people fit fitness into their busy schedules so they can reach their goals and maximize their lifestyles.

So what exactly is the O2MAX philosophy?  

Who does O2MAX work with primarily? 

We focus on young people. Whether a working professional juggling a hectic schedule, or a student getting ready for prom or graduation, O2 MAX creates a lifestyle-friendly fitness solution that is adaptable and completely personalized.

O2 MAX offers options that focus on important milestone events in people’s lives, like a prom, a wedding or a trip to the beach. Workout schedules can be adapted based on work and school schedules as well as stress and sleep schedules to promote maximum accountability and performance.  Read more

Why is Karen Jashinky considered a role model for entrepreneurs?  Read more on the Role Model Entrepreneur Page



Sylvia Scott, Founder, Girl’s CEO Connection


Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect


March 4, 2013

Female Entrepreneurs Come From Diverse Backgrounds with Very Diverse Business Visions

Moving forward this week to celebrate  International Women’s Day on March 8th, each post will highlight one female entrepreneur.  The entrepreneurs will be as diverse as the problems their businesses want to solve.  There will be young women who began their businesses in high school, others during college or as young adults. There may be the seasoned and veteran entrepreneur who launched a business out of a financial concerns for her family.  There may also be the woman entrepreneur who was tired of making money for someone else and knew she had the solution to a problem she wanted to tackle. 

Let’s begin with a high school sophomore who combined science, financial literacy and business courses to create a social business.  Hayley Hoverter, founder of Sweet (dis) Solve is now 18 years old and a freshman at Dartmouth College, a private Ivy League research university located in Hanover, New Hampshire.

I met Hayley by phone when she was  going to be one of the discussion leaders for our 2013 Realizing a Vision Conference. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we needed to postpone it. Rather than re-create Hayley Hoverter’s bio for you, here it is in her own words.

“I am a social entrepreneur and graduated in May 2013 from Downtown Magnets High School in Downtown Los Angeles.”

Hayley Hoverter Headshot

In October of 2011, I placed first at the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE’s) National Challenge with my business plan for Sweet (dis)SOLVE, LLC, a sales and marketing business for the world’s first ever patent-pending, ecologically conscious dissolvable sugar packets. I started the business when I was 15 years old to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from paper waste. My idea stemmed from watching my mother dispose of paper sugar packet “carcasses” when she used to bring me into her work at a Starbucks in San Francisco, California.  I was six years old. (Click hear to continue on the Role Model Entrepreneur Page).

Cheers and see you tonight (March 4, 2013) when we highlight Karen Jashinsky, founder of O2 MAX (Fitness)

Sylvia Scott, Founder, Girl’s CEO Connection


Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect


March 2, 2014

Embrace Change & Watch Where It Leads You

Embrace Change

It’s been now three months since anything has been posted on our blog.  We’ve made some changes at the Girl’s CEO Connection and one we think you will like is how the blog is going to run going forward.  It became more and more difficult for me to find the time to write for the blog consistently.  I have a list of great topics, just not the time to write about each of them.  Therefore some of our Young Women’s Advisory Team members are going to become guest contributors.  However this week because Saturday March 8th is International Women’s Day, I will be adding a posts throughout the week. There are so many fantastic young women making a difference with their businesses globally, I want to share with you some of their stories.

International Women’s Day 2014

The home page on the Web site for the International Women’s Day  goes along with our theme of Embrace Change.   Inspiring Change for greater awareness of women’s equality” is what all of us need to think about today and the days ahead. Starting a business while in high school or after graduation is one way for teen girls to inspire change among their friends and family members.  Each night this week  stories and videos about young entrepreneurs will be posted.  These young women are making changes in the lives of their families, economy and in themselves on a global basis.  You will be updated on entrepreneurs we have interviewed in the past like Mary Grace Henry and Catherine Cook.  We will make the posts on our Role Model Entrepreneur Page.

If you have suggestions on high school girls as entrepreneurs in the U.S. or those who began in high school and grew their businesses please let us know.  We will add them this week and interview them in the future.  The girl(s) need to be the founder(s) of the business.  This does not include girls or college women who are representatives for businesses owned by someone else.  We want you to meet the owners and co-owners.  We want you to meet young women who have sold their businesses and gone on to open another one or are still part of their former business in some way.

We will also give you tips on interesting businesses you might want to start in high school that may prove to be quite interesting for you.

See you tonight (March 4, 2013)

Sylvia Scott, Founder, Girl’s CEO Connection


Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect


December 4, 2013

Reverse the Course Indiegogo Campaign Needs Your Support

Seldom do I write about a young CEO in two corresponding posts.  However I think this one is very important for the education of girls globally.  Reverse the Course has a mission to educate young girls from the Massai tribe in Kenya, East Africa.  Many of you most likely have never heard of the Massai tribe.  They are one of the warrior tribes in Kenya and still believe in the old ways.  One of those traditions is marrying girls young as is the case in many underdeveloped countries.

Mary Grace Henry, the young founder and CEO of Reverse the Course had made it possible for 35 girls to get an education. Her goal is 100 girls.  After you watch the video on how she began her company at the age of 12 and where it is going, I hope you make a contribution to her Indiegogo Campaign before the deadline of December 11th at midnight. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, what a great gift to give.

Thank you and Cheers,

Sylvia Scott


Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect


November 29, 2013

Reverse the Course on a Path for Growth To Educate 100 Girls in Africa.

Reverse the Course

Teen social entrepreneur Mary Grace Henry, founder of Reverse the Course, has a goal to educate 100 girls in Africa. Mary Grace designs and produces unique hair accessories including reversible headbands.  Mary Grace began her journey as a girl entrepreneur at the age of 12. Today at the age of 16 Mary Grace through her company has made it possible for 35 girls in Africa to receive an education. Additionally Reverse the Course needs financial support to grow through more efficient production and inventory control, a web site with the capacity to show and sell all the merchandise as well as handle the growing sales demands. Companies like Reverse the Course that are actually nonprofits usually meet to hire knowledgeable experts to guide them with specialized branding and marketing programs.

In order to raise the much needed funds Mary Grace launched a crowdfunding campaign through IndiegogoToday, November 29, 2013 40 percent of the $60,000.00 goal has been raised.  There are 12 more days remaining to raise the remaining funds.  In other words December 11th at 12:59 pm is the end of the campaign.  Indiegogo has an international following.  That means classmates, teachers, friends, family members and neighbors anywhere in the world may contribute to the growth of Reverse the Course.  One more thought: if you are in high school and do not think you can donate, check out the campaign for sure.  While $10.00 is the minimum amount shown on the contribution list, you can actually donate any amount.  All contributions are given by credit card. It can be given in your name.

Learn more about Mary Grace’s “Reverse the Course” Indiegogo campaign by clicking on her Indiegogo link right here.  You can also learn more about Mary Grace, Reverse the Course products and how to order on the Reverse the Course website.  If you are in a sorority be sure to contact Mary Grace about the Trunk Show in a Box program.  There are specialized designs for each sorority. By the way, Mary Grace has college girls as interns on summer break.  This is a great way to expand on ideas to develop products for a new market.

One more bit of news about Mary Grace.  She was the Girl Rising Ambassador for the Second Annual International Day of the Girl.  As the Ambassador Mary Grace represented Girl Rising at the “Erasing Barriers for Girl’s Education” Forum sponsored by UNICEF. The event was held on October 11, 2013, the official date of the International Day of the Girl.  You can learn more about what it was like for Mary Grace in her blog post for Girl Rising (click on here).

Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girl’s CEO Connection™

Author: Realizing a Vision, The Path for Teen Girls to Become Successful Entrepreneurs.  (Scheduled for January 2014)

Girl’s CEO Connection™

Twitter @GirlsCEOConnect

Realizing a Vision Group

October 11, 2013

International Day of the Girl—How You Can Help Educate Girls Globally

How will being a teen girl entrepreneur in high school contribute to educating girls in developing countries?

Entrepreneurs usually have a vision to make a difference with their ideas, create change in a positive way.  Most of them want to provide others with educational opportunities, jobs and a better way of life. In the U.S. entrepreneurs and small business owners are the lifeline towards a stronger economy.  In developing countries like Afghanistan and Rwanda, women entrepreneurs create a positive change with the reconstruction of their communities. They inspire girl’s to get an education and fight for the rights of girls in their respective country. They are the women who understand the future of Afghanistan and Rwanda will be determined through the education of girls.

This blog post will not be lengthy today.  These two brief stories are about two teenage girl entrepreneurs who have helped educate girls internationally.

Mary Grace Henry

Mary Grace Henry

How one teen entrepreneur is making a difference. We will expand on Mary Grace when her video is ready to be shown.  Mary Grace Henry, is a junior in high school who is the founder of Reverse the Course. At the age of 12 Mary Grace decided she would learn to sew and make reversible headbands.  The funds raised from the sale of the headbands educated one girl in Kenya. Fast forward to 2013 and Mary Grace’s business, Reverse the Course, provided funds to educate 35 girls in the Maasai tribe. The Maasai is one of the African tribes who continue to hold girls back. The tribe still believes in marriages of young girls to older men along with other customs centuries old.  Reverse the Course has an entire collection of hair accessories in all types of colors, prints and styles. The money raised recently is educating 35 girls, many for several years.  Mary Grace took her creativity with her passion to create a fashion company that provides African girls with an education.

The second young female entrepreneur who is making difference with educating girls in Nepal. In turn these girls help break the cycle of poverty in their country.  Lindsay Brown , founder of SEGway Project (Soccer Empowering Girls Worldwide and You) was the 2012 winner of Seventeen Magazine’s “Pretty Amazing ” contest.  Lindsay’s non-profit, The SEGway Project  was formed to teach girls in Nepal how to play soccer. She also saw how soccer gave the girls more confidence in school and the courage to stand up and use their voices in class. The story behind Lindsay Brown starting the SEGway Project starts back after she spent a summer in Nepal teaching girls soccer. Lindsay and her soccer teammates at Notre Dame baked tie-dyed cupcakes to donate funds to She’s the First. Today 300 cupcake teams have raised money in 30 States and four countries to send 100 girls to school in Asia, Africa and South America.  Lindsay’s September 10 Seventeen blog post encourages girls to make a difference in the education of girls by joining the She’s the First Third annual Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off.  It is during the week of October 25  to November 1, 2013. Lindsay and the SEGway Project are asking girls to support Girl Rising by signing up to be part of the Tie-Day Cupcake Bake-off.  Check out the Seventeen blog to learn more.

Lindsay Brown

Lindsay Brown

Today a panel member sitting on the UNICEF Latin American discussion of the International Day of Girl expressed that to be an activist for the project you do not need money.  You have social media to spread the word and also get active in your community to help girls less fortunate than yourself.

Look at the Girl Rising project.  Think about how you can contribute to the goals of educating all girls across the world.  Additionally look at She’s the First site to learn another way of helping girls.

Have a great weekend and remember, educating girls across the world is not just a one day project.  Look at the Web sites to ignite your creativity.  Perhaps you will become a new teen entrepreneur or expand your current business to include supporting Girl Rising or She’s the First.

After all you and your business can be activists without money.  Your social media platforms will help spread the word.

Sylvia Scott, Founder and CEO Girl’s CEO Connection

Author: Realizing a Vision, The Path for Teen Girls to Become Successful Entrepreneurs.  (Scheduled for November 2013)

Please check us out and join us on: YouTube:

Twitter: @girlsceoconnect


September 11, 2013

Global Womens Leadership Summit

An Invitation to the Pre-Summit Sessions of the Global Women’s Leadership Summit 

  • Are you working towards Realizing a Vision?
  • Have you realized your vision and want to expand on it?
  • Are you a future teen CEO?  
  • Are you in college and a future CEO?  
  • Are you a recent college graduate and a future CEO?  Are you already a young woman CEO?
  • Are you interested in the wisdom of some of the world’s leading experts and thought leaders?
Then the Global Women’s Leadership Summit (GWALS) pre-summit is relevant to you whether you are in high school, college, graduate school or for that matter a young woman interested in becoming a better entrepreneur or managing her career path.
I suggest you take advantage of the complimentary pre-summit sessions.
Global Womens Leadership Summit
The Global Women’s Leadership Summit (GWALS) is completely online so you can watch the sessions from any location around the world. The pre-summit webinars are free!!!  The pre-summit series is from September 9 through September 27.

Some of the world’s leading experts and thought leaders sharing their wisdom include:

*Cherie Blair - Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women. She is a British barrister practicing in England and Wales. Her husband, Tony Blair is the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
* Betsy Myers Leadership Expert. Former COO, Obama for President; Senior Adviser to President Clinton
* Riane Eisler JD-Named one of the Great Peace Leaders with Gandhi and Dalai Lama.
* Gina Bianchini- Founder & CEO at Mighty Bell, Co-founder Lean In
* Shelly Porges - Former Head of U.S State Dept. Global Entrepreneurship Program; National Finance Co-Chair, Hillary Clinton PAC
* Sally Helgesen - Internationally acclaimed author, speaker and leadership consultant. Sally is the author of the “Female Advantage” and co-author of “The Female Vision”.
* Gloria Feldt - Co-founder and President Take The Lead, author and speaker. Gloria is the author of “No Excuses, Nine Ways Woman Can Change How We Think About Power”.

I’ve listened to a few of them this week & plan to attend other pre-summit sessions throughout the month.

Your complimentary pass is at

You only need to register once to gain access to all the pre-summit sessions live. Then you select the pre-session webinars you want to attend.

Enjoy the sessions.  If you have questions please feel free to contact me through our email at


Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girl’s CEO Connection™

Author: Realizing a Vision, The Path for Teen Girls to Become Successful Entrepreneurs.  (Scheduled for October 2013)

Girl’s CEO Connection™ Facebook Page:

Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect

Realizing a Vision Group:

September 9, 2013

Congratulations to the Brave Girls Alliance and its Supporters

Brave girls Funded

The $25,000 goal for funding was reached!!!  

This is fantastic for girls everywhere.  Everyone who contributed will be making a difference in how the media portrays girls of all ages.  It is time for the media and entertainment companies (and toy manufacturers) to show and promote positive role models for girls of all ages. It would be great to let girls see female entrepreneurs in middle and high school.

If you would still like to contribute the Indiegogo campaign is still active and will be up until 11:59 PM on September 11 2013.  It is always good to have additional funds raised.  You can find it at the Indiegogo campaign Brave Girls Invade Times Square. 

What Brave Girls Want

Please pass this along to your friends.

Thank you for your support of Brave Girls Want.

Cheers as always,


Sylvia R.J. Scott, Founder of Girl’s CEO Connection™

Author: Realizing a Vision, The Path for Teen Girls to Become Successful Entrepreneurs.  (Scheduled for October 2013)

Girl’s CEO Connection™ Facebook Page:

Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect

Realizing a Vision Group:

September 8, 2013

Brave Girl’s Alliance Indiegogo Campaign “Brave Girls Invade Times Square”

What Brave Girls Want

There are three days left to reach the $25,000 goal for funding. There is only $600 to meet the goal. You can make a difference in how the media portrays girls of all ages. Learn more about how you can make it happen for the Brave Girls Invade Times Square.  It is time for the media and entertainment companies (and toy manufacturers) to show and promote positive role models for girls of all ages. It would be great to let girls see female entrepreneurs in middle and high school. Please pass this along to your friends.

Brave Girls Want

Thank you and have a great week,


Author: Realizing a Vision, The Path for Teen Girls to Become Successful Entrepreneurs.  (Scheduled for October 2013)

Girls’ CEO Connection™Blog:

Girls’ CEO Connection™ Facebook Page:

Twitter: @GirlsCEOConnect

Realizing a Vision Group:


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