Morgan Barse, founder of Gals with Goals, started a Facebook group for collegiate female professionals in hopes of building a small community when she first attended the University of Tampa.
Little did she know how popular the idea would become.
USF will host its first Gals with Goals conference Nov. 15 in the Muma College of Business from 1-4 p.m. The free pop-up conference will include a panel of professionals, mentorship opportunities and light refreshments.
“I wanted to be surrounded by other goal-oriented girls,” Barse said. “So I made a Facebook group and within the first week, it grew to have 150 members. I didn’t mean for it to happen but it did.”
Barse said she hopes the event is unlike a normal “conference experience.” She said she has worked diligently to make the event fun, inspiring and educational. The conference will feature interactive, relationship-building activities, aligned mentorship opportunities, as well as experiential Instagram-able moments.
“My biggest hope is that it opens people’s eyes past what the classroom teaches us,” Barse said.
The panel of speakers includes female entrepreneurs such as Kahlea Nicole, an online influencer coach who teaches millennial women how to partner with brands and monetize their passions, and Athena Kavis, a serial digital entrepreneur and podcast host who has launched her own CBD product line.
For the keynote speaker, however, USF is familiar territory.
Alumna Jessica Muroff, former chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of West Central Florida and current CEO of United Way Suncoast, is returning to USF, where she was the Student Government (SG) student body president 20 years ago.
Funny enough, Barse was a high school intern for Muroff back in 2014 for the nonprofit organization Frameworks of Tampa Bay.
“I have always been someone who wanted to serve others and broaden our community,” Muroff said. “Being the CEO of such an important and critical organization in our community is a dream come true.”
Muroff’s road to success was not always easy, consisting of many trials and tribulations. She hopes that she can advise future leaders to reassess their goals annually.
“Nothing is ever easy,” Muroff said. “It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, failures … but I recommend to always have the self-awareness to understand what you want and need.”
Being a woman with many past positions and accolades, she also says giving back to USF is important to her. Before current Student Body President Britney Deas, Muroff was the last female to hold the top office, in 1998.
“Giving back to USF and the students who are attending there now is a priority,” Muroff said. “My career, my time and my mentor at USF helped shape the leader I am today. It is my way of saying thank you.
“I want to make sure our university succeeds and more importantly the students, but especially the women in any way that I can.”