Alexia Hilbertidou's CV is impressive for a 20-year-old.

She is the owner and founder of GirlBoss, an organisation which runs workshops and seminars at secondary schools inspiring young women to get involved in science, technology, economics and mathematics.

Moved by her own schooling experience, Hilbertidou started the organisation at 16 after she was the only girl in her digital technology class, and a year later was the only girl in her school's advanced physics class.

Now New Zealand's largest networking organisation for young women with close to 11,000 members, GirlBoss aims to close the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and inspire young women into leadership positions.


"I really believe if we're to thrive as a nation and globally, we need to make sure young people are being equipped," Hilbertidou said at a presentation to a group of specially selected Kāpiti College students last week.

"They need to be equipped yesterday — there's a real sense of urgency."

Sharing her story at the college as part of the GirlBoss regional tour, Hilbertidou wants to widen the view of what's possible for young women.

"Regardless of what difference you want to make in the world, having science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills will only ever enable you to impact more people.

"When I was at school there weren't that many things out there for women.

"I'd like to widen the view of what's possible."

Taking up every opportunity given to her, Hilbertidou has worked with Nasa on the Nasa Sofia, the largest airborne observatory in the world, has spoken at events throughout New Zealand and overseas and has even met the Queen after receiving a Queen's Young Leaders Award for her work founding GirlBoss.

She's been recognised from the top for inspiring women to make it to the top, to the board room, and senior management in areas never traditionally open for women.


The event at Kāpiti College was organised by Year 12 student Stevie Shipman after Stevie was inspired by seeing online videos of Hilbertidou talking at conferences and seminars.

"Her successes as an individual, she's just so inspiring," she said.

"I got in contact and said I think there would be a lot of students who would really benefit from hearing you speak.

"Talking to her was awesome, it felt like we were talking friend to friend."

Taking all three science subjects — chemistry, biology and physics along with calculus and economics — Stevie hopes to get a sport scholarship to a US university while studying economics.

"I'm just so inspired by Alexia and what she does.


"I think it's great for the juniors to have someone to look up to outside of school, not just the senior students at the college."

With 20-30 students in each session, the students were selected by their deans, chosen for their leadership potential.

"I find a real sense of purpose doing this work," Hilbertidou said.

"I'm really passionate about youth empowerment and inspiring them to make a difference in their community."