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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Seventh Annual Conference for Girls and Young Women May 30 at ODU

A May fixture in Hampton Roads for the past seven years, the annual Conference for Girls and Young Women, hosted by Old Dominion University next Saturday provides a forum to explore some of the complex and challenging issues facing young women today.

The May 30 event, entitled "Girls Rule the World," will feature an array of programming designed to empower young women to strive for their dreams.

Danette Makaila, the 17-year-old actress, author, fashion designer and CEO of her own company, Danette Makaila International, will deliver the keynote address at the conference.

In addition to speakers, the conference features several workshops designed to provide inspiration and skills to participants, including STEM-focused workshops including, "Girls Go Techbridge - Power it Up!" by the Girl Scouts/Techbridge and "Duct Tape Boat Building," by Newport News Shipbuilding. The event is sponsored by the Old Dominion University Community Development Corporation.

Workshops by Old Dominion student groups include, "Social Media and Self-image" by DESTINED and "Rip the Runway," by Chase Dreams Not Boys.

The Conference for Girls and Young Women was developed to provide a forum to explore some of the complex and challenging issues facing young women today. The day-long conference provides workshops and presentations that are intended to inform and empower girls and young women to become productive citizens and leaders. Last year's conference was attended by almost 400 girls, young women, parents and other interested adults. The conference is free and open to females ages 10-18, and accompanying adults, from the Hampton Roads region and beyond.

Makaila discovered her interest in entrepreneurship at age five, as she watched her older brother operate his snack vending business. She started her first company, Princess Jewels, at nine, making and selling sterling silver jewelry for kids. Then, at 15, she rebranded her company into PJ Style - a designer clothing and accessory boutique.

Today, Makaila travels the world speaking and acting, and models in shows across the United States featuring her clothing line for teen girls.

Makaila's future dreams include expanding her company to an in-store and online boutique; and creating a new school curriculum that focuses on not only academics, but also career readiness and life skills.

Conference information, including a link to registration, is available at Old Dominion's Office of University Events website. For more information about the Conference for Girls and Young Women, call 757-683-5759.

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