San Francisco by Avant-Barre

San Francisco-born Nini Gueco tells us why she never tires of her City by the Bay

PHOTO: Quoc Ngo.

Over 30 years in San Francisco, and Avant-Barre‘s founder Char “Nini” Gueco has a palpable love for this fair city. Born in the City and raised in the Peninsula, Nini stayed in the Bay Area to attend Santa Clara University where she graduated with a degree in Accounting. Travel opportunities happened domestically through work (her first career move was as an accountant with a big 4 firm) and internationally through dance (she was a premier soloist with Likha Pilipino Folk Ensemble), but she always made her way back home to the Bay. I had the privilege of meeting Nini 27 years ago when I was born her second sister, and she’s one reason I cannot wait to make the move back this summer. After hearing what she had to say about San Francisco, I found a few more reasons to add to my list (one of them is Avant-Barre’s brand new SoMa studio that opens today).

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Spotlight on Karina Capulong’s “Inspire Girls To”

Celebrating Women’s History Month with Karina Capulong; a chat about visionary women, empowering girls, and a new definition of a female leader

PHOTO: Vinnie Verite of Alum Rock Studio.

PHOTO: Vinnie Verite of Alum Rock Studio.

The idea behind Inspire Girls To is that if a girl saw reflections of herself in women leaders, pioneers, and change-makers, perhaps she would find the confidence within herself and think, “If they could do it, I can too.”

Karina Capulong and I met in ballet school as adolescents. Our families became friends over the years, and I got to know Karina even better when we went to the same high school. We participated in the same performing arts activities, and something I always admired about Karina was her ability to lead by example. She was never bossy and yet she possessed the qualities of a good leader. She radiated a calming and encouraging energy that put those around her at ease. I came across her project through a couple mutual friends who were involved. Inspire Girls To (or iG2) empowers girls by educating them about influential women who have paved the way for more girls and women to lead and succeed in their own special ways. As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I thought it perfect timing to reflect on how we can learn from the example of great women in history and continue to propel that inspiration into the rest of the year.

Karina holds a BS in Community & Regional Development with a minor in Sociology from UC Davis and a Masters in Public Administration with honors from San Francisco State University and currently works at Genentech. In her own words, “my vision for Inspire Girls To is to create a community of girls who believe in themselves, support one another, and want to lead and do good in the world. Essentially, by empowering girls now, I see a world where more women are confident, compassionate, and leading the pack.”

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