Frequently Asked Questions

Is Gravitas for Girls right for your daughter?


  1. Who qualifies for this program?

    Middle school and high school girls, ages 13-17 in New York City.


  3. Why only girls?
    It’s during the middle school years that girls start to lose confidence. As an executive speech coach, I’ve worked with senior women and emerging leaders. I see how women sabotage their leadership success by the way they communicate and how they think of themselves. Studies show that teachers call on boys more often than girls. Our founder, Diane DiResta, learned the reason why. It’s not favoritism. It’s because boys are the first ones to raise their hands and are far more likely to volunteer. In DiResta’s personal experience, it is challenging to call on girls at this age level because they are more likely to sit back and let the boys answer or volunteer for exercises. Our class gives girls the extra confidence they need to participate at the same level as the boys.

  5. How much does it cost?
    Pricing depends on the format.

  7. What happens to the video tape?
    Each student is video taped a number of times, and gets to review the video. Each video is erased so that it can be reused in future programs.

  9. What results can I expect?
    Graduates emerge with more confidence. They’re able to speak in front of groups. They are more likely to take risks and step up to the plate. They learn how to give balanced feedback to their peers. They learn how to deliver a concise, clear message. They learn how to think on their feet. They learn practical public speaking tools. They learn to make better eye contact, so they connect with people. They feel more poised.

  11. My daughter’s on the debate team. How is this different?
    Someone on the debate team would certainly come in with an advantage. The difference is that in this class, students learn how to craft a message, how to give balanced feedback versus a rebuttal. They learn the difference between informing and persuading. They learn how to introduce themselves and how to present themselves in an interview. Graduates of Gravitas for Girls are at a confidence level where they would qualify for a debate team.

  13. Don’t they teach this in school?
    Some private schools – and even public schools – include public speaking in their curriculum, but not at this level. They may be assigned to give a speech and get a grade, but they don’t learn the science and art of public speaking. and they don’t get the level of ongoing instructor-coaching that is part of Gravitas for Girls.

  15. How large is the group?
    It depends on the format. We try to keep the classes small so girls get individual attention.

  17. What kind of preparation is required?
    They will receive handouts and there will be assignments between sessions. They will be expected to prepare and deliver a speech. Where appropriate, they can use actual school assignments. There is no other preparation needed – they just need to show up.

  19. Why does it work?
    A supportive environment is created from the beginning. The girls learn to coach each other. We create an atmosphere of confidence because they learn concrete skills. We break it down into practical tools they can use over and over again. We take the guesswork out of public speaking. They learn to focus on their strengths. It’s ok to make a mistake – we teach recovery strategies, too.