design thinking & leadership workshops empowering girls to become leaders of social change


our Mission


Between childhood and womanhood, girls encounter a phenomenon known as "losing voice," according to studies published by Harvard University.

74% of 12 year olds surveyed by Girl Scouts of America list "improving the world around me" as one of their favorite activities, but a lack of confidence holds them back from taking leadership in the areas of change they care most about. Only 1/3 of middle-school girls today believe they can be a leader.

Every girl has the potential to create her own change. She just needs the right tools and inspiration.


That's where we come in. Girls Driving for a Difference, founded in October of 2014, is a team of young women from Stanford University designing and teaching workshops that empower middle-school girls to become leaders of social change.

What's the key? Design thinking: a creative problem-solving tool that helps girls explore their passions and think outside of the box about their abilities to change the world.



Since 2014, we've been coaching 2 hour-long design thinking and leadership workshops called "Find Your Drive," geared towards empowering middle school girls to become leaders of social change.

We created workshop as students at Stanford University, inspired by the Stanford d.school's award-winning design thinking tools. Our workshops have now been featured in Fast Company and endorsed by IDEO, Lean In, the Center for Creative Leadership, and more.

Our workshop makes a difference.


During our workshop, girls come together to identify their unique strengths, discover their leadership style, and reframe problems in the world as opportunities. It gives girls the opportunity to bond, cheer on each other's goals, and learn more about what really matters to them. Girls graduate from the workshop with their own personal mission statement for creating change.

Today, this workshop reaches girls across the US and in Italy, South Africa, Australia, and the UK. Many girls are using what they've learned to start creative, social good projects at their schools.

I usually teach girls how to code, but I’ve realized girls don’t want to learn programming “just because”... they want to use the technology to do something. The GDD workshop helped us ask girls, “What kind of problem do you want to solve?” And now the girls have a reason to keep coding.
— Gigi Read, Director of Chrysalis Girls Camp



During the summer of 2015, our team jumped on the road in an RV to teach workshops to girls across the nation.

Over 14 weeks, we crossed 30 states, coached 55 workshops, and reached over 1200 girls. We partnered with a diverse range of communities, including schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, sports teams, Girl Scout troops, and more. We also hosted pop-up events at libraries, museums, and innovation hubs.




Before jumping on the road, we launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign that raised $35k from 516 backers.

These funds enabled us to coach all of our workshops for free as we drove across the country! Through launching a Kickstarter campaign, we were also lucky to connect with a number of organizations across the country who could help bring our vision to life.

As a teacher, it’s a passion of mine and our entire department to create opportunities for students to have “real world” experiences. We had four high school girls (3 seniors, 1 sophomore) run a workshop for ~28 middle-schoolers.

By use of your creative, innovative, and AMAZING workshop, we were able to give our girls not just the chance to build relationships with a younger generation, but also a better understanding of what it means to plan and implement a workshop like this. We were extremely proud of the girls’ maturity to take on the workshop and work with younger girls who had some very interesting goals they wanted to drive forward!
— Kelly Rule, Staley High School Teacher

we invite you to host a workshop!

We believe that teaching design thinking & girls leadership should be fun, easy to learn, and accessible for everyone. That's why we've worked hard to package all of our best practices together in one box. All you need to get started is a Teaching Toolkit!


about the teaching toolkit

The Teaching Toolkit is a "workshop in a box." It includes all the easy-to-learn materials and info you'll need to bring our design thinking and leadership curriculum to your community! To get started...

  1. Order your Teaching Toolkit online.
  2. As Workshop Day approaches, check out our online tutorials that contain step-by-step instructions, photos, and videos to show you how the workshop works in real-time. The course is completely self-paced, so start whenever you're ready and feel free to come back to it over time to refresh your memory!

Questions? Reach out to our team at hello@girlsdrivingforadifference.com.


What kind of impact do you want to create?

Use the Teaching Toolkit to...

  • Kick-off the new school-year in an inspiring and meaningful way. All of the teamwork and creativity in the workshop helps students bond, celebrate each other's strengths, and gain confidence in sharing ideas of their own.
  • Try design thinking for the first time in your Girl Scout troop, classroom, program, or event.
  • Create a space for girls to connect as leaders and change-makers in your school or community.
  • Add a social impact mission and purpose to the STEM work that your community might already be doing. For example, if your girls are learning to code, take the next step and show them how to use their programming skills to make a difference in the world.
  • Empower high school or college women to coach a workshop and become even stronger mentors, leaders, and role-models for younger girls at their school or in their community.

The Teaching Toolkit can be used to coach as many workshops as you'd like. Just keep re-stocking the kit with post-its and print-out packets, and you'll be all set to go!

GDD gives you everything you need to succeed. It’s so empowering and rewarding as a coach to see girls realize they can use their individual strengths and passions to drive for real change in the world.
— Kris Loew, Girls Middle School educator (CA)


We've delivered almost 100 toolkits so far, partnering with a diverse range of schools and organizations across the US. We are also excited to be forming new relationships with communities abroad, including the UK, South Africa, Italy, and Australia.

If you work and live in a country outside the US and are interested in working together, contact us at hello@girlsdrivingforadifference.com.

We work in a school where 91% of our kids are on free and reduced lunch/breakfast and our population is very high need. Last year, our 7th grade girls struggled to get along. For the workshop, we brought 30 of these girls together with the idea of showing them their own strengths and the strengths of others.

Long story short, WE LOVED THIS WORKSHOP. Girls of all backgrounds with all sorts of history with each other came together. The staff who led the workshop were so pleased with how it went.

The girls created posters with mission statements that will be hung up in the hallways when they start school next week. We are going to continue working with the girls so they can make the changes they wrote on their mission statements.
— Maria Lantz, Harding Middle School (Des Moines, IA)

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Say hello

Reach out to our team over email at hello@girlsdrivingforadifference.com.