It’s #WomensHistoryMonth and female role models are everywhere. From the c-suites to the schools, from the Olympics to the Oscars, from the statehouses to the streets – we can be in no doubt of the groundswell of motivated women leading the way.

And grateful middle school girls want to say thank you.

Thank you for appearing indelibly on the pages of our first history books. To the founding mothers, the early candidates, the suffragists, the abolitionists and the freedom riders – thank you for showing us what brazen courage looks like and what being first means.

To the innovators we learn about in STEM classes: the physicists, the surgeons, the engineers and the astronauts – thank you. For the inventors, the lab luminaries, the mathematicians and the tech wizards – thank you for sparking our imaginations and for confirming that there’s no right age for a good idea.

For the poets and the painters, the athletes and the actors, the dancers on stage and the rockers on our playlists – thank you for using acceptance speeches for good and Olympic podiums with purpose. Thank you for showing us that music has no gender and talent has no limit.

For the founders and the writers, the teachers and the leaders, the CEOs, soldiers and caregivers, the politicians and the peacemakers – thank you for the wise words and the hard decisions. Thank you for voting your conscience and speaking truth to power. We’re standing and applauding.

And we can’t be stopped.

We’ll cheer until hoarse and then whisper our thanks.

Because whether you led during our nation’s earliest days or took a bus last week with your friends to change state laws…whether you are a woman at the height of her career or a high school student just finding her voice…you are leading today’s girls.

And we are grateful.

Mentorship doesn’t have an age limit. When you conduct iPhone interviews with news anchors and debate elected officials in town halls, younger girls are watching. Think they’ll hesitate before raising their hands in class tomorrow? Maybe not.

So, to those who led the way – in every field and at any age – we say thank you. Good manners dictate this gets said during Women’s History Month, but gratitude like this bears repeating every day.

We’re watching. We’re listening. And we’re running down the path you laid at our feet.


  • Illana Raia

    Founder & CEO


    Recently named one of the first 250 entrepreneurs on the Forbes Next 1000 List, Illana Raia is the founder and CEO of Être - a mentorship platform for girls. Believing that mentors matter as early as middle school, Illana brings girls directly into companies they select to meet female leaders face to face. The goal, as Être's French name suggests, is to help today's girls figure out who they want to be.    Named a Mogul Influencer in 2017, Illana appeared in the HuffPost "Talk To Me" video series, participated in the 2018 Balance Project Interviews and the 2019 #WomenWhoRock campaign, and has been featured on Cheddar TV and podcasts like The Other 50%, Her Money, Finding Brave and Women To Watch. Illana has authored 50+ articles for Thrive Global, HuffPost and Ms. Magazine, and her award-winning book Être: Girls, Who Do You Want To Be was released on Day of the Girl 2019. Her next book, The Epic Mentor Guide, is scheduled to arrive on International Women's Day 2022.   Prior to launching Être in 2016, Illana was a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps in NYC and an occasional guest lecturer at Columbia University. She graduated from Smith College and the University of Chicago Law School, and remains unapologetically nerdy.