Hi, I’m Caroline Williams. I’m a 15-year-old high school sophomore (rising junior!). My mom is Melissa Campanelli, co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle. I was given the opportunity to attend the Girlboss Rally in Los Angeles this past weekend, and I would love to share a few of my takeaways with you.

In case you don’t know, the Girlboss Rally is an empowering conference for ambitious, millennial women. We spent two days listening to inspiring speakers, artists and entrepreneurs, who all showed how they challenged the social norms so prevalent today and came out on top. Here are three of my top takeaways from the Girlboss Rally:

  • Women need to be more open about their finances. Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital financial advisor for women, and Yunha Lee, CFO of GOAT, an online sneaker marketplace, discussed the importance of being open and honest about your finances. By doing so, they said, you’ll learn that you’re not alone and also have the ability to find a wider variety of  solutions to solve your financial problems. Krawcheck and Lee also noted that you don’t have to deprive yourself if you want to save for your future. As Krawcheck said, “you can have the latte,” you just have to understand your financial destination and what it’s going to take to get there.
  • The importance of rising above negativity. I learned from speaker Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, a licensed psychologist and founder of The Practice, a revolutionary approach for girls and women to care for their emotional health, that we live in a society where women are oftentimes held to unattainable social norms, which ultimately turn their focuses away from being their true selves. These norms often lead to negative thoughts, which trigger negative feelings. By eliminating these negative thoughts, women will feel more secure and be who they are meant to be.
  • Meditation and breathing can help with stress. In the zen den, led by Shanila Sattar, a research fellow at the University of Massachusetts, I learned that meditation and breathing exercises can help with stress and boost moods. For example, we experimented with different breathing patterns that can be done during a meditation practice, such as the “6-7-8 pattern,” where you inhale for six seconds, hold for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds. This particular exercise made me feel calm and on an even keel. I also learned that anyone can do these types of practices — you don’t have to be a yogi!

All in all, having the opportunity to attend the Girlboss Rally was something I will truly cherish and provided me with many skills that will be useful as I grow into an adult. I’m so happy I was able to share these thoughts with you!

Caroline Williams is a high school student at Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School in Port Washington, N.Y. Caroline is involved in many clubs and activities, including Gay Straight Alliance, Future Business Leaders of America, A Capella Club, Key Club, and Foreign Language Honor Society. She’s also a member of the school’s championship bowling and track teams.