The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Magazine founder speaks at SMC

Kaitlyn Rabach | Wednesday, February 27, 2013

As part of Love Your Body Week at Saint Mary’s, Emily Raleigh, founder of the online magazine “Smart Girls Group,” shared how the magazine began and why it is important for all girls to be smart girls.

Raleigh, a freshman at Fordham University, brainstormed “Smart Girls Group” one year ago when she wrote her younger sister a guide to getting through high school. The guide discussed fashion, peer pressure, classes and social life.

“When I was younger, I used to dress up and say, ‘Mommy, do I look like a smart girl?'” Raleigh said. “So, when I was thinking of my sister’s Christmas present my senior year of high school, I really wanted to give her something meaningful and I decided to pull from this idea of being a smart girl. My family then really pushed me to get it published and pursue it.”

After Raleigh decided to develop the concept as a magazine, she contacted girls from her community and elsewhere, she said. The group expanded from there.

Today, “Smart Girls Group” is published once a month. The organization started college chapters, runs daily blogs and now has more than 150 contributors from 10 countries.

“‘Smart Girls Group’ is all about connecting and inspiring girls from all over to be smart girls,” Raleigh said. “We offer a supporting environment that cultivates empowerment within girls.”

She said the magazine and overall organization use blogs, articles and personal stories of high school and college women to provide girls with a healthy support network.

“What is unique about our group is that all the girls who are writing or contributing to the group are high school- or college-aged,” Raleigh said. “You will not find anyone our moms’ age writing for the magazine and I think that is very important. When girls go on our website and read our magazine, they are hearing from girls going through many of the same experiences as they are.”

The magazine covers an array of topics from politics to fashion to relationships, Raleigh said. It also offers advice on how to be a smart girl. She said being a smart girl starts with finding your “I am’s” and using positive language as an essential tool for breaking down barriers.

“I think that being a leader and being a smart girl starts with how we speak,” Raleigh said. “When we say things like ‘I can’t,’ we are unconsciously putting up barriers for ourselves. Saying ‘I am’ and using positive language is the first step in being a smart girl.”

The next step is finding your smarts, Raleigh said.

“‘The Smart Girls Group’ helps you grab your passions,” Raleigh said. “We help you find things that interest you. I always had an interest in girl power and technology, and founding this group has allowed me to bridge those two passions. That is what we would like to do for our smart girls.”

Raleigh said once a girl finds her passion, she should determine her goals and make plans.

“Ask yourself what can I start doing today? Make sure these goals are something you can control,” Raleigh said. “You do not want to leave your destiny up to somebody else.”

Raleigh stressed the importance of independent leadership and surrounding yourself with positive people.

“You want to surround yourself by people that lift you up higher,” she said. “This means your friends, boyfriends, whatever. Find people that lift you up.”

Raleigh encouraged those in the audience to find their own inner smart girls and set the world on fire.

“Take your smarts and your passions to help change a part of the world,” she said. “There are so many ways we can all impact others’ lives in some way. Find your smart girl and set the world on fire.”