Letter: Mahsa Riar, Ashburn

Editor: Empowering young women is critical to ensure equitable and sustained success for Loudoun County’s rising leaders.

I have always felt embraced by our local community. In 2019, I was recognized as the Saunders Scholar by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce and my startup, Limitless Limb LLC,has received investments enabling the creation of personalized, expressive prosthetics for children with limb differences using 3D technology.

But I know that not all girls my age feel confident or connected enough to explore the opportunities our community has to offer. That’s why I worked with the Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls to create the firstGirl emPower Summit.

Women aremore likelyto experience imposter syndrome in the workplace, meaning they often feel like a fraud despite being qualified for their jobs. Only 37 of this year’s Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs and according toCNBC, only three of those CEOs are women of color. There are real barriers for women to ascend to leadership positions.

Although overcoming imposter syndrome cannot extinguish all of those systemic factors, knowing how to network and becoming more aware of our mental health and wellness will equip young women to break those barriers.

It’s my hope that experiences like theGirl emPower Summitwill do just that. We’ve worked to secure enough sponsorships to offer this virtual event for free to girls 12-18 years old. Loudoun’s women-owned businesses were the first to step up to the plate and our latest sponsor, Amazon, also recognizes the significance of supporting Northern Virginia’s young women. Thanks to these generous contributions, I feel confident that Loudoun’s future leaders will be empowered to reach new heights.

Mahsa Riar, Ashburn

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