Model & Strategy

The Problem
Girls in the U.S. report unprecedented levels of loneliness and isolation, experiences of intense stress and pressure influenced by social media, substantial drops in confidence and self-worth, and ongoing restricted access to leadership, economic, and occupational opportunities. Girls are four times more likely than boys to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, 10 times more likely to experience sexual violence, and three times less likely to earn a sustainable living wage. It is clear that there is tremendous vulnerability in our society for one of our most promising resources — our girls. From an interpersonal standpoint, girls who acquire healthy coping skills, emotional regulation, a supportive peer network, and a strong sense of self make better decisions and fare better in life than their less supported, less skilled peers. Yet, now more than ever before, girls are struggling with social, emotional, and mental health challenges.

Girls who have a sense of belonging and a connection to school are more persistent in their educational and occupational pursuits. While women comprise about 52% of the workforce, they only comprise about 5% of high-wage earners. Girls continue to be outpaced by boys in the most influential occupations in our country. While some progress has been made, there is still a vast disparity in girls’ access, opportunity, and representation in every sector. Necessary changes begin by investing in girls.

The Solution
ROX uses data to comprehensively and holistically address the multidimensional issues facing girls. Research indicates a profound relationship between a girl’s interpersonal well-being and her ability to succeed in other aspects of life. This is why it is critically important to invest in self-confidence and safety, conflict management and career development, stress management and sexual violence prevention. Girls’ lives are complex, so ROX offers complex responses. ROX understands that inventions and support must be multifaceted, making their programming a critical part of the path forward for girls.

ROX leads the country in programming, research, and education focused on girls, and they actualize this in three ways. First, ROX trains and licenses female professional counselors, social workers, psychologists, and educators to implement a 20-week evidence-based program in schools that teaches girls the skills they need to navigate their toughest challenges. Then they conduct large-scale national research with girls in grades 5-12 in order to develop a deeper understanding of the critical issues impacting girls. Finally, ROX trains and educates the adult influencers in girls’ lives to increase their communication strategies and support skills, so they can have more empowering and affirming interactions with the girls they are raising, educating, advising, and coaching.

At a Glance
Founded: 2011
Founder & CEO: Dr. Lisa Hinkelman
Location of work: Midwest
Ruling Our Experiences (ROX)
Columbus, Ohio
The national leader on programming, research and education focused on girls.
Young black girl stands with her back to the camera wearing an inspiring t-shirt with a message that
Meet Dr. Lisa Hinkelman

Lisa is a nationally recognized researcher, speaker, and author who is a foremost authority on educating and empowering girls and creating environments that foster girls’ confidence, self-esteem, and successful decision-making. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education and psychology from Chatham College, her master’s degree and Ph.D. in counselor education from Ohio State University, and completed the Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management program at Harvard Business School. Lisa maintains the audacious belief that her work will actually make the world safer and more equitable for girls.


Conducted and published the largest research study of its kind with adolescent girls. ROX produced The Girls’ Index: New Insights Into the Complex World of Today’s Girls and established baseline statistics on key issues impacting girls.

The ROX Institute for Research and Training, the world’s first research and training institute focused on girls, delivers professional development, continuing education and support for adults who educate, parent, mentor, and inspire girls.

ROX has established co-curricular programs in 400 schools across 20 states, with an annual enrollment of over 6,000 girls.