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 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 the box about their abilities to change the world.

THE Workshop


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 the workshop as students at Stanford University, inspired by the Stanford d.school's renowned design thinking methods. Our workshops have 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 32 states, coached 55 workshops, and reached more than 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

host your own 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 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" that arrives right at your doorstep and includes all the materials and info you'll need to teach a workshop. In the box, you'll find:

  • Facilitation Guidebook
  • "How To" Note Cards
  • Activity Strength Cards
  • Leadership Quiz Cards and Answer Keys

When your toolkit arrives, check out our online tutorials with step-by-step instructions, photos, and videos for teaching your first workshop. The course is self-paced, so start whenever you're ready and feel free to come back to it over time to refresh your memory.

The toolkit is fantastic. It provides you with everything you need to run the workshop. I recommend laminating the cards so that they can be reused more. The Facilitation Guide provided clear instructions, and the videos on the G.D.D. site helped us to visually see the instructions in action. Well done, ladies.

For the workshop, we started with a group of girls who, for the most part, had no idea why they were really there. Mom/Dad said, “Hey, there’s this thing at work, you should go,” so they did. Now, our parents say their girls are still raving about the event and want to participate in the next one, now that they know how much fun and how cool it was to hang out at “Mom/Dad’s work” for a morning.

It was a LOT of fun. It was work and a labor of love. Seeing the joy and excitement on our girls’ faces made it worth the effort. We look forward to having a Saturday event in the fall.
— Sheilla Ferreira, Change Healthcare

What kind of impact do you want to create?


You can use the Teaching Toolkit to...

  • Kick-off the new school-year in an inspiring, meaningful way. The workshop focuses on teamwork and creativity, helping students to 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/purpose to the STEM work that your community is already 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.


The students were very engaged—among the most engaged of any group we’ve ever coached. We had high school students as opposed to middle school and were really impressed with how much the girls interacted with one another. We facilitated, but they really took ownership over discussing their strengths and their missions. I think this workshop helped them hone in on a mission that they can consider when making career decisions.
— Charlotte, Consulting Engineer and Educator


We partner with a diverse range of schools, organizations, and individuals around the world to share our curriculum with the girls and communities who need it most.


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)

let's work together

We speak and teach workshops at conferences, events, schools, summer camps, and more.


Every year, we host a conference called EDGE that helps develop leadership potential in high schoolers and inspires them to give back. This year (2017), we wanted to include new programming to give students skills and insights that they could take with them and use after the seminar, to create real impact.

The GDD team was so easy to work with. In the weeks leading up to the seminar, Katie and Anjelika were on top of all of the necessary prep, and dove deep into the design and intent behind EDGE’s program to ensure smooth transitions and alignment of programming. They arrived to the seminar in the midst of chaotic EDGE operations fully prepared and ready to jump in, and graciously took the time to walk our Team Leaders through the activities.

GDD’s energy and enthusiasm kept the nearly 200 students engaged throughout the workshop and spurned some of the most inspiring group conversations during the debrief time afterwards.

Ultimately, their workshop was one of the most memorable activities for the students and helped EDGE towards its mission to bring these students together through diversity of passion and support.
— Eric Iwashita, Senior Director of Program Development at EDGE Youth Leadership


Let's explore ways we might be able to work together.


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