You know how some people always dream about being their own boss and running their own business? I’m not one of those people. I enjoy collaborating and working in teams and find it difficult to picture myself holed up in my basement trying to get a fledging business off the ground. I like fast-paced excitement sprinkled with a generous portion of drama and couldn’t conceive of how starting a business would work with my strengths (and neurosis…)

So, perhaps you’re saying, “Why are you writing a blog post as a PresenTense Boston Fellow? Doesn’t this mean you are creating your own business?” Yes! Can you believe it?! Here I am doing something I never thought I’d enjoy and not only am I proud of what I’m accomplishing, I’ve never once been stuck in my basement, and trust me there’s plenty of drama!

The reason for my success is PresenTense’s brilliant model that gives people like me a basic business degree in five months. Through seminars, workshops, and case studies, I have learned the skills necessary to be successful in my venture and to do what I can do to improve the world.

Cool, huh? I’ve learned that I can accomplish everything that’s important to me, and I can do that surrounded by colleagues, mentors, coaches, and subject matter experts. I never feel alone, and when I feel stressed, there are others who share my anxiety or who know what I’m going through and can alleviate my fears.

Due to PresenTense’s support and guidance I feel confident taking the G.I.R.L.S. group model, which I currently teach at Prozdor Hebrew High School, and expanding it all over Massachusetts. I currently have time to run two groups a month, but now I can train group leaders and we can be in 10, 20, even 30 locations at one time! The strategies and tips embedded in our curriculum give teenage girls a “bag of tricks” to help with everything from break ups over Facebook to saying no during a pressure-filled Saturday night party. Girls no longer feel they have to participate in lunchroom gossip and know what to do when bullied on Form Spring.


created at: 2011-04-01created at: 2011-04-01                         created at: 2011-04-01                                   

What happens to teenagers today can affect the rest of their lives. Why not make these experiences moments to learn from and create an empowered and successful adult population who have the tools necessary to be productive and happy members of society? And, to do this within a Jewish context, where in the midst of everything else, they are strengthening bonds with their religion and understanding the importance of remaining connected and involved in college and as adults?

I am proud of my new company, G.I.R.L.S., Girls Interested in Relationships, Leadership, and Spirituality, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it! Visit our website at, join our Facebook page at G.I.R.L.S. and follow us on twitter at @ElyseRast.

I look forward to meeting you, your daughter, your grandchild, your friend or your congregant soon!

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here. MORE