Girl Up Teen Advisor to be Honored at Women to Watch Awards

Rocio Ortega recognized alongside representative Gabrielle Giffords.


Rocio Ortega, a Girl Up Teen Advisor, will be honored tonight at the National Press Club during the sixth annual Women to Watch Awards.  Ortega is the only teenage recipient of the six honorees.

“As a Girl Up Teen Advisor, I have learned how to channel my passion for female empowerment,” said Ortega.

“I’m challenged to step up and speak up for girls all over the world. From starting my own Girl Up Club to executing effective meetings and awareness events or even giving speeches to my high school, I am thankful to Girl Up for the leadership opportunities it has provided me.”

The Women to Watch Awards is held each spring and organized by Running Start, a nonpartisan organization that provides young women with the skills to lead in politics. The annual event honors women in the United States, including women in Congress and other young leaders from diverse professions.

As a Girl Up Teen Advisor, Ortega provides critical feedback from the teen perspective on Girl Up campaign strategies and ideas, acts as a spokesperson at events and in the media, and organizes fundraisers and service-learning projects in her local community.

In this capacity, Ortega helps to mobilize the energy and compassion of American girls to raise funds and awareness for UN programs that provide girls in developing countries with basic needs like access to school supplies, life-saving health services, safety from violence and more.

Next month Ortega graduates from Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, CA. During her time in high school she served as the Student Body Secretary, Battalion Commander for the Army JROTC program and founder of the Garfield High School Girl Up Club.

She is active within her community as a teen broadcast citizen journalist for Global Girl Media and a Financial Literacy Ambassador for the Pan-American Bank.  She also served as a U.S. House of Representatives Page for the 111th Congress under Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano, and was named 2011 Woman of the Year, a U.S. congressional award.

“I am so proud of what Rocio has accomplished,” said Gina Reiss-Wilchins, Director of Girl Up.

“Through Girl Up, we equip girls with the leadership skills necessary to speak out on behalf of adolescent girls worldwide. Using tools she’s gained from Girl Up, she has become a role model in her school and in her community, but we have also learned a lot from Rocio about what it means to be a leader.”

Other honorees at the 2012 Women to Watch Awards include:

  • Representative Gabrielle Giffords, U.S. House of Representatives, 2007 to 2012 (AZ-08)
  • Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, Chief of Protocol of the United States
  • Representative Martha Roby, U.S. House of Representatives (AL-02)
  • Taryn Davis, Founder and Executive Director, American Widow Project
  • Natalie Randolph, Varsity Football Coach, Coolidge High School