Big Shoulders: Anna Bethune, Brave Initiatives

| Adam J. Hecktman

There is no question that we need more girls to be interested in technology. Coding, design, and data careers all need a strong pipeline of girls and young women to ensure that we have women represented in the field. And there are great programs designed to build that pipeline.

I would argue that it is not enough to inspire girls to be technologists. It is just as important that we teach them to be the next generation’s leaders. Brave Initiatives is on a mission to, in their words, “empower high school girls to be agents of change in the world through design, coding, and leadership training.”

At Brave Initiatives’ BraveCamps, high school girls learn development skills, for sure. But what makes Brave Initiatives different is that they teach those skills by having girls look at some of the tough issues impacting the city and its neighborhoods. Once they identify a civic priority that they would like to influence, they are taught time management skills, project management skills, communication skills, and, yes, HTML/CSS/Javascript. It is a great blend to nurture the civic leader in each.

Watch my interview with Brave Initiative’s co-founder Anna Bethune, an inspiring leader herself. I hope you enjoy this latest segment of Big Shoulders.

Watch Adam’s live chat with Anna on

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Adam J. Hecktman

You may recognize Adam. He’s a regular on TV, you can hear him on the radio, he’s penned numerous articles and is the co-founder of the Chicago City Data Users Group. But some of Adam’s most important work is done behind the scenes in his role as Microsoft’s Director of Technology and Civic Engagement for Chicago. Tech giants, universities and government leaders turn to Adam for guidance on all matters technology, and he happily obliges, helping Chicago overcome challenges and capitalizing on new, exciting opportunities.