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The Ellis School and PROGRESS join forces to teach girls valuable negotiation skills

Gina Mazza
March24/ 2015

Asking for what you want. Learning how to say “no.” Knowing how to argue respectfully. These and other practical life skills will be the focus of a powerful workshop geared towards a segment of the population that may need them most: young girls.

Speak Up! Getting What You Want Through the Power of Negotiation will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 2 at The Ellis School in Shadyside. The workshop is open to all girls ages 8 to 13 (not just The Ellis School students).

The event is a first-time collaboration between The Ellis School’s Learning Innovation Institute and the Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS). The Speak Up workshop was created by PROGRESS to empower girls and women through the art of negotiation. PROGRESS is the brainchild of Dr. Linda C. Babcock, the James M. Walton Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University and a leading expert in the field of gender and negotiation.

In addition to understanding the importance of negotiating, young participants will learn skills they can apply to a variety of real-life situations such as bullying, avoiding risky behaviors and defying limiting expectations imposed by others. These skills can carry young girls through to their later lives and be applied in adult circumstances like equitable treatment in workplaces or other competitive environments.

The workshop will be made even more effective by having high school students help teach the middle-school girls. “The Ellis Upper School students will serve as trainers and facilitators at the event providing peer-to-peer instruction to program participants,” Lisa Abel-Palmieri, director of Ellis’ Learning Innovation Institute and co-organizer of the workshop along with Ayana Ledford of PROGRESS. The nine volunteer student facilitators will complete a series of five workshops to prepare them to be trainers in specific negotiation activities. “We know that the role model/mentor role is an important motivating factor for middle school girls in cultivating not only interest in the topic but building self-esteem,” Lisa notes.

To make the workshop accessible and affordable to everyone, the event fee is pay-as-you-can (suggested donation is $25 per girl). Registration fees will be collected the day of the event. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Free parking is available at The Ellis School. Workshop space is limited so early registration is encouraged.

Featured Photo: Negotiating group projects at The Ellis School, Photo courtesy of The Ellis School

Gina Mazza

Word provocateur. Creative alchemist. Journalist. Nonfiction author. Book editor. Dance enthusiast. Intuitionist. Unexpurgated spiritual diarist. Learn more @ www.ginamazza.com.