Erica Coogan worries that pressure from both traditional and social media is leading young girls to sabotage their futures.
“This pressure is causing girls in middle schools to see themselves as sex objects, not potential leaders of companies,” she said. “They're dumbing themselves down in school and bullying each other.”
A partner with Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC in Seattle, Ms. Coogan has become a volunteer leader for the InfluenceHer Program along with two of her colleagues, adviser Kathryn Garrison and marketing coordinator Ania Krol.
The 3-year-old initiative of the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County is aimed at girls 10 to 18 and supports role-model programming such as the Smart-Girl curriculum, which emphasizes fitness, health education and self-esteem. Daylong community events focus on a specific theme, such as anti-bullying, critical thinking or leadership.
InfluenceHer has reached 6,000 girls in the Seattle region since its inception in 2009. Moss Adams has been the program's primary sponsor, with the volunteer team raising $186,000 over the past three years.
“Many girls think it's not cool to be smart,” Ms. Coogan said. “If we don't nurture and guide them now, we'll be losing half the brainpower in the world.”