Friend of The Village – Sheri West


A former management executive (at GE, PepsiCo) — what made you decide to leave the
corporate world and found LiveGirl?

I enjoyed an exhilarating, successful corporate career. I was able to travel the world and climb the corporate ladder. However, when I became a parent, I started to reflect more upon the unique obstacles that women face – both externally (systematically) and internally. I wanted to make sure that girls and young women had the opportunity to build the necessary skills and had access to mentors, role models, and career-launching experiences. So, I founded LiveGirl to pay it forward to the next generation of fierce, diverse leaders.

What inspires you most about your work?

The girls I work with everyday. They are fierce and persistent, even as they tackle steep obstacles that most fully grown adults would struggle with. I was inspired recently by a young woman of color who had to navigate the loss of her father to Covid, while still surviving high school and applying to college. Through LiveGirl League, she launched a Covid peer support group, and is now a thriving college freshman. I was further inspired by a brilliant young woman from an orthodox Jewish community, whose grit and persistence helped her pass her GED and college entrance exams. She joined SHE WORKS and turned her internship at a Fortune 500 company into a full-time offer. These girls are everything. They inspire me. They show me what’s possible. They give me hope for the future.

As you look into the future, where do you see gender equity movements taking us?

A look back at the progress of the last 50 years can inform the future. Until the 1970s, women couldn’t sign a mortgage or get their own credit card, and they could be fired just for becoming pregnant. Unfortunately, we’ve taken a step back on reproductive health recently, and discrimination is still a struggle in the workplace. Women, especially women of color, are still underpaid and often harassed. But women have always had to fight for their rights, and LiveGirl will continue to advocate loudly for policies and practices that open doors for women and girls. We must all commit to doing what we can – mentorship, sponsorship, calling out gender bias and micro-aggressions in the workplace – so that we may collectively take a big step forward for gender equity.