30 Under 30: How ShEvalesco’s Carissa Konesky fosters confidence in young girls

Konesky delivers programming through the Vancouver-based organization

Carissa Konesky | Age: 28

E-learning coordinator, ShEvalesco

Life Story: You could say that participating in Girl Guides sparked something in Carissa Konesky (“sparks” is the title given to Girl Guides of Canada’s youngest participants). When she made the transition from guide to leader, Konesky knew how much of an impact her actions would have on her group. “The media led me to have such a negative body image, especially when I was a pre-teen, and when I started working with youth, I really didn’t want that for them,” she remembers.

Konesky started working with ShEvalesco in 2018, and found that the organization’s values—teaching young girls self-confidence and critical life skills—aligned with her own. After receiving a grant through the Duke of Edinburgh Award, she partnered with ShEvalesco to develop her own youth workshop, called “I Am Tenacious” (and ran the four-week program via Zoom during the pandemic). Konesky was an outreach mastermind: through her connections with Girl Guides—she worked her way up to the position of B.C. program advisor—she was able to grow and expand her project. She leads accessible, on-demand, interactive “I Care for Me” workshops on subjects like assertive communication, boundary setting and self-care.

Bottom Line: Since Konesky started her programming at ShEvalesco, participant numbers have increased from a few hundred to a few thousand. Beyond her online sessions, she’s run workshops in the Surrey school district and as far north as Kitimat. In April 2023, Konesky became part of the first cohort for Sprout Fellowship, an initiative that helps microgrant recipients produce and scale community service projects. The growth is great, but Konesky is most proud of how many returning participants the program has. “It’s really rewarding seeing youth sign up for the workshops over and over again,” she shares.