Founder & CEO, Smart Girls Group and Fordham University Student

Emily Raleigh is a huge inspiration to the team here at My Social Canvas! A rising senior in the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, she founded theSmart Girls Group while in High School. The Smart Girls Group is a multi platform brand for ambitious women and girls which includes a monthly digital magazine, an aggregated news blog, campus chapters, online classes, an online community, merchandise that sponsors girls’ education in Nepal, a professional women’s network, weekly newsletters, live events, and an international sisterhood. It has grown into a community with upwards of 800 members in over 40 countries and on 6 continents. They have an upcoming weekend-long event in New York City called the Live Smart Series, which includes great networking opportunities and fantastic speakers, including MSC’s founder and CEO, Lisa Mayer!

We wanted to learn more about this amazing young entrepreneur!

How did you create Smart Girls Group? What inspired you?

The idea for Smart Girls Group really started when I was a little girl. I would walk downstairs every morning after putting on my outfit for school, and ask, “Mommy, do I look smart?” I was raised on the concept of the Smart Girl and that image drove me through the mean girls of middle school, the crazy pressure of high school, and the choices that come with college. With that in mind, I wrote a book for my freshman sister, Sophie, during my senior year of high school that was a how-to guide for surviving and succeeding in high school. I gave it to her for Christmas and my family really wanted me to get it published. The problem was, I wanted to do something that would be more than just a book, something that was continuous. So on New Year’s Day, I made my New Years Resolution to start The Smart Girls Group.

We initially had 9 girls involved, and released a small magazine that we planned to only be 10 pages long. Soon enough, the sisterhood began to grow and so did our products. What keeps us moving is the girls and we truly have a group of girls who will change the world.


What are you most excited for about the coming conference?

I am definitely the most excited for girls to experience it! We have been working on this for almost a year now and between the speakers, the activations, and just the entire experience, it’s definitely going to be a really impactful weekend.  

How would you like to see Smart Girls Group develop?

I love thinking about where we will be in the future and I think in a lot of ways, it will be very different from where people think we are going with the brand (but in a good way). Our goal is to expand upon what we currently offer and grow our global community of Smart Girls in ways that continues to align with our mission to power young women’s ambitions.

How do you manage running a company and also being a college student?

I get this question a lot and the funny thing is, I honestly don’t think much about it and when I do, that’s when I get stressed out. I try very hard to simply not think about how much is on my plate and just get it done. I make a to do list, and I just make sure that it all gets completed on time and when it doesn’t, I try to figure out how to do better next time. As far as balancing is concerned, I color code everything in my agenda book and when I’m planning out my week, I look to make sure that all of the colors are even throughout the pages, and that’s how I know I’m balancing everything. But my first focus is Smart Girls so while is it a balancing act with college and everything, Smart Girls comes first for me.