‘Every girl is a CEO:’ Mentoring program aims to help girls achieve dreams in skilled trades


CHICAGO — The Pilsen-based mentoring program, Polished Pebbles, is opening doors to expose Chicago girls and young women to careers in construction, manufacturing and the trades.

Polished Pebbles Executive Director Kelly Fair started the mentoring program to help girls develop vital communication skills on the path to a variety of future careers. 

“We wanted to make sure girls had an opportunity to learn about careers in construction trades and manufacturing and get their hands dirty,” Fair said.

“When I was a little kid, I would walk around with my tool kit,” 18-year-old Axzhell Ellis said.

Ellis is already an entrepreneur with an online boutique and has always wanted to have a career in real estate and construction — she was among dozens of young women who attended the Polished Pebbles Pink Hard Hat Symposium at the non-profit, Chicago Women in Trades, Saturday.

The program has served thousands of young girls and women and is currently working in 50 Chicago-area schools and communities — drilling home the message that “they can do anything” and that the world is theirs, Fair said.

Participants at the symposium also received kits for Polished Pebbles upcoming virtual “Every Girl is a CEO” global career conference.

Ellis says the organization is connecting her with resources and opening the doors to opportunities.

“It’s making me feel like if Beyoncé or Kelly fair can do it, I can as another Black woman,” Ellis said.

The “Every Girl is a CEO” conference is happening on October 15th with participants from four countries.

For more information on Polished Pebbles, head to their website: Polished Pebbles – Girls’ Mentoring Program

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