Rakuten Future Leaders Experience

Empowering Young Women To Invest In Their Future

In celebration of Women’s Empowerment Month, the Warriors teamed up with Rakuten to hold the fourth annual Future Leaders Experience with youth from Girls, Inc.

The Rakuten Future Leaders Experience focuses on empowering young women to pursue their goals with confidence in the professional world. As part of the two-day event, the mentorship program paired young women from Girls Inc. with the Warriors’ Employee Resource Group “Women of the Warriors” and Rakuten employees to help the future leaders build confidence and provide them with tools and resources to explore different career opportunities in sports and other professions. The girls shadowed employees from various departments including game operations, public relations, corporate partnerships and more to gain a better understanding of each mentor's role.

The program was highlighted by a panel discussion, moderated by two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, and featuring Warriors Vice President of Partnership Development Nicole Barbour, Rakuten Senior Director of Sports and Entertainment Kristen Gambetta and California Women’s Basketball Head Coach Charmin Smith.

“This is important to us because it really speaks to our shared values of investing in women,” Rakuten Senior Director of Sports and Entertainment Gambetta shared. “To provide the representation to these young women, to show them what they’re capable of and to reinforce what they know they’re already capable of being and doing.”

Together the panelists discussed topics involving the importance of equity, overcoming obstacles, building confidence, teamwork and more.

“There’s always room for growth and always room to get better, no matter where you sit," said Smith, who prior to coaching at Cal played multiple seasons in the WNBA after a decorated collegiate career in which she helped Stanford reach three Final Fours in the 1990s. "Whether you won three championships, five championships, a CEO, whatever, there’s still room to be better.”

Warriors guard Stephen Curry felt inspired by the panelists sharing, “Can’t stress how special it was to be in the presence of these powerful women.”

“Women are the past, present and future, y’all,” he concluded.

The young women also attended a Warriors game in a luxury suite experience, provided by Rakuten, which included various activations and an in-game recognition on the Chase Center jumbotron.

Additionally, the girls took part in a professional headshots where hair and make-up artists prepped them for their camera-ready moment. The headshots showcased their new clothes from the Rakuten Future Leaders Experience and can be used for professional endeavors in the future.

Together, the Warriors and Rakuten are committed to providing young girls with the knowledge and tools imperative for future success, both on and off the court.

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