Estee Lauder spotlights young women supported through ELC's longstanding partnership with Student Leadership Network and The Young Women’s Leadership Schools, in honor of International Day of the Girl

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October 13, 2023 (press release) –

At The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), we know the possibilities are endless when we listen to girls and support them to learn, lead, and thrive.

In honor of International Day of the Girl (October 11th), we’re spotlighting incredible young women supported through our longstanding partnership with Student Leadership Network (SL Network) and The Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS).

In June, ELC joined TYWLS students, families, and faculty in Brooklyn and Queens to commemorate the graduation of the class of 2023. And in celebration of their infinite potential, we asked the graduates to reflect on the change they want to be a part of in the world. Here’s what they had to say:

About the ELC x TYWLS Partnership

For nearly 20 years, ELC and its Charitable Foundation have partnered with SL Network and TYWLS to help girls and gender-expansive youth from diverse and underserved communities access the skills and resources they need for a lifetime of success — from college and career readiness to leadership development and mental wellness.  

Since 2017, The Estée Lauder Companies Charitable Foundation (ELCCF) has supported SL Network’s College Bound Initiative programs at TYWLS across New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Astoria, and Queens. Through college application support, financial aid counseling, a dedicated college counselor, and more, the College Bound Initiative program supports nearly 17,000 students every year, including 2,500 TYWLS students, in achieving their higher education and career potential. These girls and gender-expansive youth are often the first in their families to attend college. 

And the results are impressive.

  • Nearly 100% of TYWLS graduates attend college
  • TYWLS graduates complete a degree in STEM-related fields at nearly twice the rate of young women nationally
  • Since 2001, SL Network graduates have secured nearly $1 billion in scholarships and financial aid

Over the years, in response to the success of the TYWLS model, we've scaled our partnership with SL Network to support affiliates across the U.S., including in Los Angeles, Wilmington, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Baltimore.

360-Degree Approach to Engagement

Our unique, employee-driven partnership with SL Network and TYWLS was developed to create mutually meaningful, engaging, and inspiring learning experiences for both students and ELC employees.

In 2006, under the leadership of Phebe Farrow Port, Senior Vice President, GMS & Chief of Staff to the President and CEO, the ELC x TWYLS Board was created to bolster ELC’s commitment to girls’ education while engaging employees in the TYWLS mission for educational equity.

Led by Nerlynda Sutherland, Chair of the ELC x TYWLS Board, and comprised of mission-driven employee volunteers, the Board partners with brands, functions, and employees to create and deliver personalized leadership development programs focused on career path exposure, leadership competencies, and invaluable life skills.

Through programs like Cool Careers, TYWLS at the Workplace, Project Beauty, the Senior Masterclass, and mentorship programs at TYWLS of Manhattan and Brooklyn, more than 300 ELC employees have connected with TYWLS to share their career journeys— opening possibilities for adolescent girls at TYWLS schools.

“I’m so proud to see that what began as an invitation to join the TYWLS of East Harlem as a Principal for a Day in 2001 has grown into an impactful, nearly 20-year partnership that exemplifies The Estée Lauder Companies’ and our CEO Fabrizio Freda’s commitment to advancing possibilities for girls. This includes our grant to the Student Leadership Network, girls’ scholarships, internships, mentoring, and programming in the schools all culminating in hiring several girls as full-time employees upon college graduation,” said Phebe.

Advancing Possibilities

Over the years, TYWLS students have gone on to attend college, received prestigious awards, excelled as leaders across sectors, and even joined the ELC family as full-time employees in our NYC office. 

Chelsea Forde, TYWLS class of 2015, and Assistant Manager, CEO Global Reverse Mentor Program, ELC, recalls, “As a 12th grade senior, I was offered an internship with The Estée Lauder Companies, and a scholarship that helped me throughout college. Without that possibility, I wouldn’t be where I am right now working for The Estée Lauder Companies. The Young Women’s Leadership School and Estée Lauder Companies partnership really instilled confidence in me and prepared me for what all my peers were scared of or what they were struggling with.”

Stories like Chelsea’s and other TYWLS students prove that anything is possible when we invest in girls’ education, community, and connection.

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