Polished Pebbles CEO and Chicago native Kelly Fair believes every girl is a CEO—and she’s committed to helping them to believe it too when she launched the Every Girl Is a CEO Summer Work-Study Program.
By increasing the communication skills and employability of young women for the future workplace, Polished Pebbles helps girls ages 7-17 become effective communicators at home, school, and their future careers. This summer the participants received seven weeks of paid employment for over 160 African American and Latinx girls ages 14-19 from the Chicago area.
Since its inception in 2009, the non-profit organization—which Fair launched after leaving her corporate job—has worked with over 4,000 African-American and Latina girls and provided over 500 mentors to girls in more than 100 schools. The organization currently serves 500+ girls and young women per school year in Chicagoland, Indiana, Texas and North Carolina. The program also fills an existing gap for paid work programs for this age group in key Chicagoland communities that have seen rising levels of violent crime over the past year.
In addition, Fair’s organization offers The Mommy & Me Summer Entrepreneurship Program for moms and daughters to prepare for the future workplace and grow in the current marketplace, including honing their business plan in a Polished Pebbles Shark Tank.
Fair—who is also the author of the book, Every Girl is a CEO!—has been amazed by the support and attention that Polished Pebbles has received. When she read a text from her assistant with a request for her to appear on The Kelly Clarkson Show last fall, she thought she was being pranked.
“When she said it was real…I was blessed by it,” said Fair. “Sometimes this work can be really daunting. We were already in a pandemic, already working hard to keep our business going…and the girls engaged. It was a lift. I need those lifts sometimes to stay in this work. It was a much-needed affirmation that what we do matters.”
Polished Pebbles continues its commitment to provide training and professional development to girls with its annual Every Girl Is a CEO Career Conference on October 16, 2021. For more information, visit PolishedPebbles.com.
Sheila Harris is a PR Strategist and the author of Calling Revealed: 7 Spiritual Lessons to Uncover Your Purpose (available on Amazon).