Courtney Macavinta - Teen Leadership

Leadership Development for Teens

Courtney Macavinta - Leadership for Teens

Dr. Relly Nadler:
We always have very different and entertaining and interesting guests. This time we are talking about leadership development for teens.

Today, we have Courtney Macavinta. Courtney is the founder and CEO of Respect Rx. She is an award-winning journalist, author, speaker and a coach who has reached more than a million teens and adults through her work including programs, trainings, etc.

She has a bestselling book which we will talk about that’s titled, Respect – A Girl’s Guide to Getting Respect and Dealing When Your Line is Crossed. It won the IPP award and also the iParenting award.

I’m very interested in this, I have a daughter and my wife and I have had a lot of conversations about helping her develop and deal with the world.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Thanks, Relly. It’s a real privilege for me, today, to have a friend join us to talk about a very, I would say, exciting opportunity for our listeners to learn about how to create leaders using the skills of the young women that they have, I guess, come to love and know over the years but haven’t really thought about how to craft them into leaders. I know Courtney’s program certainly spans across males and females but we are going to focus on girls today.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Cathy, maybe you can tell us about how you met Courtney and then a little bit more about her.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Well, you know, it’s funny, we meet people in this lifetime and sometimes we just get this automatic chemical reaction, like, I want to know more about this person. About two years ago, maybe a little less, Courtney and I met at the Pennsylvania Governors Conference for Women that was held in Pittsburgh and she was one of those bright, I want to say, lights – bright lights, a beacon – in the group.

Courtney specializes in a very, I want to say, a strategic niche in the market of leadership development.

She calls her book, Respect – A Girl’s Guide to Getting Respect and Dealing When Your Line is Crossed, I love that. There is a whole show on Dr. Phil teaching young women using the American Girl as an example, that’s the American Girl Doll Series as an example, Courtney, I’m sure you’ll want to talk a little bit about that and how to create boundaries because getting respect is so important in today’s world given the challenges we face as we watch our young folks grow up.

But through Courtney’s tumultuous teens herself, she dealt with many of the same issues that many of our children and youth face today.

From self-doubt and negative body image to risky choices and some potential high school dropout situations and confusion about her multi-racial identity, she has come through and helped others find their way.

Her hard-working family also struggled for respect amid substance abuse, incarceration, violence, poverty, and racism. Like many, Courtney fought to find respect without a compass or a clue and then discovered it was all within her, all along.

Today, that is her message, to people everywhere, respect is always within our reach because true respect starts on the inside. As an expert on teens and women, Courtney has been featured on CNN, ABC, Fox News, Public Radio, Via MSNBC Organization and in USA Today, Cosmo Girl, Teen People, Teen Vogue, Mothering Glamour and so many more I can’t even go into the list here.

She has also been featured as a role model in the books, The Quarter Lifer’s Companion, and Cool Women, Hot Jobs.

Having been in online media for more than a decade, Courtney, formerly was editorial director of the groundbreaking, and I guess Webby-nominated online radio network, Chick Click, and additionally, her articles have been published by the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, the Associated Press, Daughters, Common Sense Media, Wired News, Business 2.0, and again, many, many others.

She is a devoted advocate, she is one of those people who has trained and led events and programs for thousands of teens and adults across the country at both Women’s Conferences and special events such as the Democratic National Convention. She is partnered with organizations such as Girls Inc, the YMCA, Omega Institute Teen Camps, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the Girl Scouts of the USA, and the Dove Self-esteem Fund.

She is on the National Board of Girls for a Change, which is an advisory board for the bay area, I guess it’s a bay area Girls Rock Camp.

We are delighted to have Courtney with us, she has degrees in journalism from San Francisco State, and she does a lot of training, works with the Coaches Training Institute, so we are just thrilled to have you, today, Courtney. Welcome to the show.

Courtney Macavinta: Hi, thank you.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Well, Courtney, I’m definitely interested in hearing more of what you have to say.

One of the things we always want to do is just get a little bit more input and context of the person is to talk a little bit about who has been most influential for you, in your life and your career, and may have shaped some of your thinking about some of your work you do today.

Courtney Macavinta: My very first influence, like a lot of people, have been my family, and not necessarily always from a positive perspective. You know, one of the biggest drivers of the work I do is coming from a place of growing up in a home where there were things going on like domestic violence and addiction and a lot of disrespect that held my parents and my siblings and me back from thriving.

So, my early influences, like a lot of leaders, really came more out of the rubble of life. Then, from there, I was really fortunate to find mentors, first in my journalism career and now, later in life, you know – definitely, I have an amazing coach, that I have personally worked with for two and half years that guides me in making bold decisions and stepping in to my own leadership. Also, more recently just being influenced by people like Lynne Twist, I don’t know if you have heard of her, she wrote an amazing book called, The Soul of Money. What I love about her is she is just influencing me staying, using all my resources to get really high impact work done.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: So, Courtney, tell us a little bit about how you got the idea for this company, and how did you start a company focused on teens? And leadership specifically for teens?

Courtney Macavinta: The whole Respect journey all started when I was Editorial Director at Chick Click and that was more than ten years ago now, and we were just getting all of these emails from girls about all of the really hard things they were going through from eating disorders to bullying to negative and dating violence based relationships, you know – you name it. They were also facing some new challenges that we haven’t gone through as teens, we were about in our mid-twenties then.

So, another woman and I got this idea, what was the deciding factor for us, how did we turn our lives around from having really tough teen-hoods to being women leaders and, really, the cornerstone was self-respect. And, so, we thought we would love to write a guide for girls on how to respect themselves and how to create a respectful world, and so, it really started with the book and then from the book I started doing some workshops and I just realized that’s really what I love, I love writing but even more so, I love coaching and working with girls in person.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Now, one of the things that you do that’s a little bit different than the mainstream women’s conferences is you cater to an audience that doesn’t necessarily have the access to the kinds of resources you proved, so, how do they get access to you?

Courtney Macavinta: We focus on reaching teen advocates, so, whether that be a school or some of the national organizations we work with like the Girl Scouts, we bring advocates together and they will either bring in our Respect Rally Program which is one of the Corner Stone Programs we do, which is like a summit for teens, or our biggest focus in 2009-2010 was we actually trained advocates to deliver our programs on their own through a curriculum guide.

So, we really want to have high impact and the people who are already working with teens, we want to bring them the self-respect piece to their leadership programs and we do that through trainer and curriculum guides.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Now, one of the things that I know you are very proud of, obviously, in all the work that you are doing is this book called, Respect, how, I mean, how did you get the material. Where did you come up with the idea to focus on teens and how did you really create this finite set of workshops and programs that you’re now doing?

Courtney Macavinta: You know, it really started organically from my own life, the teens were such a turning point for me, I mean, I was really on the road to destruction in my teens and what helped me, kind of, take a detour from that was following my passions and learning to respect myself and set more boundaries, so, from there, we came up with these things called the respect basics which are really, you know, these life rules that you can live by and that’s what we folded into all of the workshops. It’s just really happened by trial and error, trying things with teens that work. Like you – I’m a trained coach, so, our workshops and very experiential, we want to get it into their bones, the self-respect stuff.

So, that’s really how we, kind of, evolved from the book into workshops. For the book, at that time,  I was a journalist and, so, we interviewed hundreds of girls for their own life experience and tips for the book and then we also interviewed many experts from Therapists to Psychologists to coaches to get their perspectives just so we could really round out this strong set of respect basics that would work for everybody.

Listen to the entire interview above. You can listen to more from our business channel, Leadership Development News.


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