Featured Female: Lesley Kopp Friedman
46 years old
White Plains, NY
Cook, chauffeur, errand runner, tutor, psychiatrist, also known as “mom”
Kids: Max (9) and Andi (14)
Our mission at the Girls Leadership League is to contribute to more confident and sparkly girls ….What advice would your big girl self give your teen/tween self about confidence?
Be yourself. Don’t try so hard to be like everyone else. It is ok to be a little different and stand out in the crowd.
In my classes we teach young girls to create a Friendship Recipe of traits they are looking for in a true friend. What characteristics would be in your friendship recipe?
Loyalty. Girls need to stick up for each other, be loyal and supportive of one another.
We believe strong family values and consistency are important in creating confident kids … What was one of your favorite family traditions from your childhood? What new traditions have you started with your own family (if applicable)?
We had family dinners with my extended family every Sunday night at our favorite restaurant. Sometimes it would be 15 of us, sometimes just 4, but it was always special. We have family dinners out on Friday nights, and although we are not a religious family, we take time out to say what we are all thankful for.
At the Girls Leadership League we teach our girls the importance of accepting oneself even when you don’t feel so sparkly … How do you respond when you receive a compliment? Tell us about this.
I think women, in general, have a hard time taking a compliment. We often feel like we need to defend ourselves. For example, if someone says they like what you are wearing, you respond by saying, oh, I got it at…, instead of just saying thank you. Learn to say thank you! You deserve it.
We believe pursing a passion is a great way to build confidence for girls … If you had free time to pursue a “passion project” what would it be? (i.e. something outside your regular work and leisure activities. For example, learning to knit or building a piece of furniture)
I wish I could give more of myself to volunteer. Whenever I do get to volunteer, I have such a good feeling that I contributed to someone or something larger than me. I wish I could do it more often.
An important skill we teach our girls is how to identify how she feels about a situation and ask for what she needs to make it better … How good are you at communicating what you feel and asking for what you need with others?
I grew up in a house of talkers. We weren’t taught to keep things inside, we were taught to communicate and say how we feel. I try to instill that in my kids, that I am not a mind reader and I cant help with something if I don’t know what they are thinking.
Social Media is now a fact of life … Social Media … Love it or Love Hating It?
I love social media if you use it in the right way. I love that I reconnect and keep in touch with people who I would never have if not for Facebook and Instagram. I have friends from elementary school, high school, college, camps, vacations, etc. from all over the world, and social media keeps me in touch with all of them.
What do you do to help balance your digital life and you’re your “real life”? Any tips to share?
When I post, I try to post good things and sometimes bad. I don’t want everyone to think that everything is always good, or perfect. Sometimes shit happens, and people should know that too.
When you look out into the world, who do you see as great role models for girls?
Michelle Obama is the best right now. She is iconic and will go down in history as one of the best first ladies and role models. For someone closer in age to my kids, I look at Olympians. I also look within my own family, at cousins, aunts, who may do things differently than me to show that there are different perspectives.
We teach girls to embrace making mistakes … Can you think of a mistake that you made that led to great things – an important learning or a new direction?
After I graduated college, I decided to get my masters in elementary education. I really wanted to become a high school math teacher, but it would have taken a lot longer, so I took the easy route. I don’t know if it led to great things because I never ended up teaching and my career took a different path, but in hindsight, I would have gone for what I really wanted.
We see fear as normal and a sign that you are pushing yourself to grow … Do you have any tips for pushing through fear?
Most of the time when you are fearful of something, I would say that you are not alone. Someone else has been in your shoes, has been fearful, and has pushed through. Just knowing that someone else has felt that way too, is helpful to me.