Julia Cuba Lewis: Growing Up Female, Growing Up Strong

May 16 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: The Practice of Generating Self-Esteem

I’ll admit I’ve been spoon deep in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, sniveling through a Felicity re-run and wishing I were something I’m not. Usually, it happens when I compare myself to others, like that co-worker who somehow manages to pack a beautiful, blog-worthy Bento Box for lunch every single day, while I chow down on last night’s Chinese food.

As I grow older, and I hope, wiser, I want to adopt an “I’m happy for you” life strategy because, well, jealousy sucks.


They say 60 seconds is the amount of joy you lose for every minute you’re upset. Have you ever looked back at a situation and forgotten why you were so distraught?

Time can be a mysterious thing. When you’re staring at your desktop clock and waiting for 5 p.m., time is torture. But when you’re drinking a daiquiri on the beach, it seems to melt away. Make the most of it.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Julia Cuba Lewis, Executive Director of Girls Empowerment Network

Julia Cuba Lewis is acutely mindful of how troubles during girlhood can affect a woman for the rest of her life. That’s why she fiercely advocates for a more equal world for girls. I think we can all admit that is no easy feat.

From the time she was the only girl on her T-ball team as a kid, Cuba Lewis has always taken an interest in what it’s like to grow up in this world as a female.

After college, she tirelessly worked at many women and girls’ nonprofit organizations. Cuba Lewis then became the Girl Scout leader in the must-see documentary Troop 1500 (Seriously, it’s life-changing. Even Oprah thinks so!) Later, Cuba Lewis became the collaborative program executive at her local Girl Scouts council.

For the last decade, she’s been running the Girls Empowerment Network, known as GENaustin, an organization created by a trailblazing tribe of a dozen women in the mid-1990s.

GENaustin speaks the language of girls today by actively posting diverse content on social media and offering several programs that guide more than 7,000 girls annually.

The 180 Program reaches high-risk girls. There’s also Pathfinder, a summer program designed to prepare girls for the next stage of their life, whether it’s a career or college. I could’ve used that one!

With the help of a ton of volunteers and supporters, Cuba Lewis won’t stop pioneering a new terrain that encourages self-doubting girls to grow into self-assured women.


For today’s final thought, we turn to French author and Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide, who said, quite simply:

“Dare to be yourself.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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