This week, we chatted with Brittany Greer, President and Founder of STEM non-profit, Rosie Riveters, about inspiring young girls through her leadership and how she measures success.
Q: Tell us about Rosie Riveters and how you started the organization.
Rosie Riveters is a 501 c3 non-profit that works to inspire and encourage girls aged 4-14 in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) through FREE interactive and hands-on projects. It was while working in digital communications for a global nuclear association that I was exposed to the many obstacles girls and women face along their journey to becoming successful participants in these fields. This journey, often referred to as the “STEM Pipeline”, experiences a significant leak when girls enter middle school but surprisingly there are not many free programs available for girls before they enter this difficult period of their lives. I started Rosie Riveters in an effort to provide programs that would equip girls with the skills (confidence, critical thinking, and problem solving) they needed to navigate the leaks in the pipeline before they experienced them. Essentially we are working to stop the leaks from occurring instead of plugging them after they’ve started.
Q: How would you describe your leadership style and how has it evolved since you started Rosie Riveters?
Running a non-profit essentially run completely by volunteers means that the time people provide to Rosie Riveters is precious. My business partner, Katherine Rieder, and I are both full-time mothers and we have built Rosie Riveters to the position it is in today in the “pockets of time” we find in the hours before our children wake-up, during preschool and before bed. We have been fortunate enough to have others share their pockets of time with us as well and through that collective we have been able to serve over 500 girls in the three short years since our pilot program. My leadership style has very much been shaped by how I can best motivate and communicate how valuable the hour here or afternoon there can be to a small non-profit like Rosie Riveters.
Q: What’s your approach to setting goals and measuring success?
Growth! Are you in a better position today than you were yesterday? If not then what are you doing to get it there? For Rosie Riveters that is measured by the effectiveness of our programs and the length of our reach and we measure our success against those two goals. For me personally, I keep lists. Whether it’s my to do list for the day or my to do list for a year I am always working to check off the items on my list. My life is crazy! Between balancing my life running a non-profit, being a mother and wife, taking care of myself and remaining an active member of my community I have A LOT to do. I love every minute of it but to in order to continue to grow all the aspects of my life including my business I have to continue to improve on yesterday and a check mark next to a line item on a list goes along way to maintaining my momentum.
Q: Advice for other women who want to start a non-profit organization?
Arm yourself with a team of talented people who will share their time and talents with you! When I set out to start Rosie Riveters I analyzed what resources and skills it would require. Then I drew out which of those skill sets I had and which ones I didn’t. For the skills I lacked I sought out people I knew and trusted to join me on my mission to re-construct the STEM pipeline and improve it for the lives of young women. Ask for help, share your story and empower those around you to join in the start-up process.
Q: Stress and long days are par for the course. What keeps you focused and driven during your busiest times?
Our mission! It matters to me and it matters to the girls we are fortunate enough to connect with. It may sound cliche but there is truly no greater motivator than watching a young girl find her confidence! To watch her go from “I can’t” and “this is hard” to “ I can do this” and "watch me do it.” So when it’s 5am and I’m writing a lesson plan or working out next year’s budget it’s a lot easier to stay driven because what we are doing matters and participants continue to prove that to us everyday.
Q: Taking time for yourself is so important for health and wellness. Do you have any routines or rituals to help you unwind?
Again for me it come back to pockets of time. Nearly every minute of my day is filled with something to do, but there is always a half an hour here or ten minutes there to do things that matter to me and me alone. It sounds minuscule but washing my face and putting on face cream before bed goes a long way to maintaining my personal health and wellness. The ritual of taking off my makeup after a long day and cleaning my face with the lotions and potions that I reserve just for me provides me with the time and space I need to reset before bed and get ready for a new day. It would be easier sometimes to just fall into bed and forgo the whole process, but I would be worse off the next day because I’d be neglecting myself and that me time.