This blog is part of a series highlighting the exciting accomplishments of some of our outstanding Strong Women, Strong Girls’ alumnae. As SWSG turns 10 this year, we take a moment to reflect on the incredible support that got us to where we are today, while envisioning a strong, united future for the SWSG movement. 
Stephanie Musso helped found the Northeastern University Chapter of Strong Women, Strong Girls in 2004. After graduating from Northeastern in 2006, Stephanie worked in marketing for a media publishing company in New York City. Stephanie moved to San Luis Obispo, CA in 2011 and now works for a small public relations firm. She will be getting married in June.
How did your experience with SWSG influence you? 
The biggest lesson I learned from SWSG is the importance of building mutually beneficial relationships. In my career, I’ve seen women high up with no interest in helping younger women in their field. I think they sometimes feel like there’s still only room for a certain amount of women in the world of business and they’d like to keep their feet firmly planted. That feels terrible and is certainly the wrong way to look at it. I’ve also seen women in places of power that really want to build up communities of strong women within the professional world. They’re proving that women can really run the world and get serious work done.
Do any specific memories stand out from your experience with SWSG?
I think my favorite memory was when we spent the night at the Boston Museum of Science. We barely got any sleep but the girls had a ball running around the museum late at night. It was the first time many of them had been to the museum. I also loved when we got some of the serious girls that would barely crack a smile in the beginning of the years to dissolve in a fit of giggles.
Were there any surprising challenges you encountered during your experience with SWSG?
In the beginning of the year there was definitely a sense of mistrust, and maybe even some ingrained prejudice, coming from some of the girls (a very small percent). I was really surprised (and maybe a little hurt) by that. One experience I had that gave me perspective into the reasoning for their mistrust occurred one day when we were outside playing a game and heard a gunshot! For me, it was completely terrifying. The girls took it in total stride and told me not to worry, that we were safe. I tried to stay totally calm and seemingly unfazed but told the girls it was time to go inside. It really gave me a glimpse into what some of the girls faced on a daily basis outside of school. It was totally eye opening.
As we celebrate our tenth birthday, what wishes do you have for SWSG over the next 10 years? 
I hope SWSG keeps growing! I hope the program keeps expanding to colleges and elementary schools all over the country. I hope the young mentees truly benefit from the program (I know they do) and it helps to change their lives for the better. I hope the mentors find strength, leadership and compassion through mentoring. Building communities of mutually beneficial relationships is powerfuland SWSG is such a wonderful community to be a part of!
This is just one of the many stories of strong women who have been passionately engaged with SWSG’s mission over the last ten years. Join us in celebrating our 10th birthday on June 2nd.

Rachel Van Beaver is a sophomore at Boston College majoring in Communications and joined the SWSG Boston team in January 2014. Her duties for the semester involve a range of tasks encompassing an emphasis on the empowerment of girls and women through the lens of different contexts and generations.