Sage Hill School will host nearly 200 middle school girls from across the region for Saturday's GemFest, a student-coordinated event aimed at empowering girls to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors.
The Girls Empowerment Movement event at the private Newport Coast high school was organized by a committee of five juniors and a senior as part of meeting their service project requirements.
Urban Decay Cosmetics co-founder Wende Zomnir and professional surfer Courtney Conlogue are the keynote speakers and will be joined by 23 businesswomen, alumnae and student speakers.
"Not all girls have these amazing mentors in their lives," Sage Hill junior Eliza Feffer said. "We're bringing the mentors to them so they can get the inspiration they need to be successful."
Senior Capri Campeau said she learned a lot cold calling alumnae and other successful businesswomen in hopes of convincing them to participate. Naturally, there were unreturned emails and scheduling conflicts with prospective speakers.
"Not everything is going to go smoothly, so you have to roll with the punches," Campeau said.
Hannah Romeo, a junior, said she got involved with planning because she's passionate about encouraging girls to pursue higher education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
"I want more girls interested in STEM," Romeo said.
GemFest's registration campaign was so successful the event sold out. Organizers are accepting requests for the wait list but not walk-ins. The next GemFest is scheduled for March 2, 2019.
For information, visit gemfestoc.com.
Daniel Langhorne is a contributor to Times Community News.