G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Program Adopts Multi-Academy Award Nominated "Beasts of the Southern Wild" for Leadership Training

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G.U.R.L.S. Rock CEO, Dr. Raye Mitchell states, “It’s not just a great movie; it is a great educational training tool about the power of innovation, imagination, courage, diversity/inclusion, self-acceptance/positive images and commitment to excellence.”

Every day we all have an opportunity to take steps that determine our destiny. Applying lessons learned from 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' will illuminate some of those opportunities that our young future leaders have.

On Sunday February 10, 2013, Dr. Raye Mitchell, CEO of G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Program announced to a sold-out audience at a "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (Beasts) movie screening event in San Leandro, CA that G.U.R.L.S. Rock will utilize the positive messages and lessons demonstrated in the multi-Academy Award nominated film in its leadership training program.

The merger of pop culture and leadership training tools is an emerging leadership training approach utilized at top law schools and business schools across the country. Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree bases an entire course on the acclaimed TV show The Wire for a course on justice and equality. Both Harvard and Wharton Business Schools deliver state-of-the-art leadership training for future corporate leaders based on The Wire. “We are preparing future global leaders at the G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Program, so it makes sense to use the same type of leadership training tools employed at leading educational institutions. "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is an important tool to help youth and girls develop their leadership and life preparedness skills. Young actress Quvenzhané Wallis is an important positive role model for girls of color.”

In the weeks counting down to the 85th Academy Awards ceremony, Beasts' cast and crew are enjoying their well-earned recognition. The film has emerged from a small independent movie and the star of the Sundance Film Festival to a viable Oscar contender. It has been nominated for four awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress (Quvenzhané Wallis); Ms. Wallis, now 9, is the youngest best actress ever nominated in that category. To its long list of credentials, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" can now boast that it is being used as a leadership-training tool to assist youth, especially girls, in developing as global leaders and visionary thinkers.

While "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is a fantasy, the story delivers important messages about real life. Girls who view the film can learn much about imagination, change, fear, courage, self-love, and acceptance. This movie offers lessons in almost everything a girl needs to develop as a global leader: diversity inclusion, self-esteem and self-acceptance, motivation, innovation, perseverance, loss, and recovery. Mitchell states, “This movie not only contributes excellence to the motion picture industry, it is a tool that can prepare the next generation of global leaders to use the power of innovation, imagination, and fresh thinking to open doors and find new solutions to old problems.”

Emmy nominated producer, award winning talk show host and panel member, Janice Edwards said, "Every day we all have an opportunity to take steps that determine our destiny. Applying lessons learned from "Beasts of the Southern Wild" will illuminate some of those opportunities that our young future leaders have."

"Beasts of the Southern Wild" teaches girls and girls of color the value of taking risks and stepping away from following the expected routes to success. It also teaches important stories about rejecting the negative stereotypes of girls of color in media and entertainment. It offers an opportunity for any girl, and especially a girl of color, to envision herself as a leader in a crisis. The movie and the main character also demonstrate valuable lessons about the management of loss, disappointment, and recovery.

Furthermore, the movie provides content suitable for leadership lessons about cultural competency, tolerance, and diversity. The movie presents people of differing ethnicities and skin color—both black and white—depicted in circumstances that most would classify as utter poverty; still, there is harmony in ‘the Bathtub.' There is community in ‘the Bathtub' where one generation engages in the orderly transfer of knowledge to the next generation. There is almost an organic formation of alliances in the face of emerging catastrophes and the implication that only by working past racial, gender, and age-based differences can we not only survive, but master the catastrophes that lie ahead.

In short, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is an engaging and entertaining leadership-training tool that delivers spunk, belief in self, and a natural comfort with self-image and acceptance. Regardless of Beasts’ success at the 85th Academy Awards, for G.U.R.L.S. Rock, the movie lives on as a vital educational and leadership training tool for innovation, diversity inclusion, fresh thinking, and the power of creating community. (Post-screening comments)

About G.U.R.L.S. Rock Global Leadership Program:
Founded in 2010, G.U.R.L.S. Rock Leadership Program is a global leadership-training initiative of The New Reality Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. As a social entrepreneur program celebrating the importance of girls and girls of color as the next generation of global leaders, the Oakland, California-based G.U.R.L.S. Rock has a different approach to supporting the growth and development of girls of color, ages 8 to 18. “G.U.R.L.S.” stands for Growth, Unity, Respect, Leadership, Success. To learn more about G.U.R.L.S. Rock, please visit http://www.GurlsRock.org and http://www.fb.com/GurlsRockPower.

About Dr. Raye Mitchell
Dr. Raye Mitchell is a social entrepreneur, humanitarian, writer, public speaker, and innovation expert. Mitchell earned a BS in public policy from the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, an MBA from USC Marshall School of Business, and a JD from Harvard Law School. Dr. Mitchell is the author of the forthcoming book, The Laws of the New Game Changers: How to make breakthrough impacts that take you forward (Spring 2013). For more information, visit http://www.rayemitchell.com.

About "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
The 2012 film, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is nominated for four Academy Awards. For more information about the film, visit: http://www.beastsofthesouthernwild.com.

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LaNiece Jones
LA Jones & Associates
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Edwards Unlimited Media
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