Member Spotlight: Academy of Our Lady of Peace
Tell us about your company.
The Academy of Our Lady of Peace (OLP) is the oldest and only remaining all-girls' Catholic high school in San Diego. OLP, founded in 1882 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, celebrates a rich history of empowering young women to become leaders in their local community and in the world. Faculty and staff inspire young women to be leaders who impact global change by building community through a conscious love of the dear neighbor without distinction. In other words, our young women look to translate their academic pursuits into real world application in order to see how their learnings take root and can make a difference today in their communities.
What products or services does your business provide?
OLP provides unprecedented educational preparation for young women to become global leaders in any field of study. With a robust nationally recognized Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) program, more than 40% of last year’s graduating class is pursuing a STEM major in college compared to the national co-educational 16% average. Although women are too often underrepresented in these fields, OLP is working to directly make an impact and change those statistics.
What was the most memorable or successful moment in your business' history?
Celebrating 138 years in May 2020 will be a tremendous accomplishment, alongside the reopening of our two renovated historical buildings just a few months later in August 2020. This is a transformational time in the school’s history as we look to honor the school’s past and simultaneously prepare for the future.
Tell us an interesting fact about your business.
In learning more about our Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet we discovered that many of them joined the order because this was the group of sisters that knew how to have a good time together! That sense of joy and fun continues to be a part of the story of the sisterhood at OLP. On any given day, you can count on foam parties, disco dances, slumber parties, and pie-eating contests on this campus. That is also why we are adding, as part of our construction project, a hammock garden and indoor slide! Sometimes you just need a little relaxation and laughter.
What tips/advice can you offer that is related to your business' industry?
Starting at adolescence, girls’ confidence drops 3.5 times more than boys and continues throughout high school, often never rebounding. Research also tells us that girls’ confidence impacts their belief in achieving their dream jobs, speaking up for themselves, exercising their voice, or speaking out on behalf of others. It is not an issue of competence, but confidence. This can often continue into adulthood for women, and manifests as imposter syndrome, the consequences of which impact us all. New research has found that uncovering the barriers to women’s leadership in business alone could catalyze a boost of up to $5 trillion in the global economy (Boston Consulting Group, 2019).
Our world is a better place when men and women work in equal partnership and women are provided with equal opportunities to do so; however, a gap still exists between all of which girls are capable and their current place. In an all-girls school, in the absence of gender construct characteristic of a co-educational environment, we mitigate that gap caused by both stereotype threat and gender discrimination. In all-girls environments, girls are more likely to engage in academic risk-taking or pursue an advanced STEM course, and are guaranteed to occupy a leadership position, versus in a co-educational environment. In an all-girls school, girls strengthen their leadership skills, develop their voice, and hone their confidence preparing them to enter a global workforce to work alongside their coed peers.
With this in mind, organizations can help to create cultures that promote the advancement of women and girls by mirroring the advantages that an all-girls school provides. This includes providing mentoring opportunities, encouraging gender parity in teams and discouraging the identification of some tasks as inherently masculine (e.g., engineering, leadership) and others as feminine. When these conditions are afforded to women and girls, and their confidence matches their competence, all of us stand to benefit.
Do you have any upcoming events or information you want your fellow Chamber Members and the community to know about?
All are invited to join us for the Sixth Annual OLP Women’s Symposium on Friday, March 13, 2020. Modeled after speaker panels at leading universities, OLP’s Women’s Symposium brings together top women leaders to share their insights and pathways to success with our students and the community. Through dialogue and modeling, these female leaders empower young women to stand up for themselves and fearlessly chase their dreams. This event sells out every year! Tickets available at aolp.org/OLPWS in January.
For more information on the Academy of Our Lady of Peace visit https://www.aolp.org/.