Public skate parks can be intimidating places, especially for girl skaters just starting out. Courtney Payne Taylor says females represent less than 10 percent of riders, and she teaches girls how to navigate skate parks with confidence through a strong understanding of how to handle the environment before they ride.

“Male skaters seem to be very experienced and so talented that many girls just avoid the skate parks altogether thinking, ‘I am not good enough,’ ‘I will look foolish,’ and ‘They don't want me there.’”

Payne Taylor teaches girls and young women to push through their negative self-talk through the following lessons. Her tips also offer some valuable insights for young women who are considering entering the business world.

There is a place for you, and you deserve to be there as much as anyone else.

Avoiding something altogether may seem easier, but it will not provide the opportunity to experience and grow in the place or activity you desire.

First observe what is happening and then find your place to begin.

Approaching any new place, group or industry can at first appear to be a chaotic and overcrowded. Trying to skate at a busy skate park can even seem dangerous, with all the great skaters flying around. However, through the power of observation, you can start to notice two key things:

First, skaters, like all people and entities, are creatures of habit. Either they are working to learn a new trick by repeating the same action over and over, or they are just skating in their comfort zone and repeating the same lines and actions. In both situations, there is a pattern and repetition you can use to predict what they will be doing and where. Seeing the flow and the gaps in the flow makes it easier to see how you can fit in.

Second, what seems at first like a skate park packed to capacity, is actually not. While watching the park you will start to notice areas of the park that are almost or completely empty. In a skate park and in the business world, there is almost always a place that is just waiting for you to claim.

Pay attention to changes and always be ready to move on to the next place.

As you are skating in your empty or less crowded place, be ready for the changes. Especially as a girl in a skate park full of guys, you will most likely notice that your special spot begins to get more and more crowded. Skaters are often interested, curious and drawn to the girl skating and begin to also skate in that spot. It is an interest in you, what you are doing and the potential in your spot—all good things. Once it begins to feel too crowded, it can be a good time to move so you can keep your focus.

Because you have been aware of your surroundings, and the skaters now in your spot have left spots empty, there should be a new spot waiting for you. Take that next step.

Help Others 

Respect the world around you and be considerate of others. Your actions and character will make a difference. They serve to set examples for others so set that bar high to create a more positive place for everyone. Your actions and attitudes will be remembered and impact how others will treat you in return. Treat others well and you'll be positioned to activate future partnerships and adventures.

Courtney Payne Taylor graduated from the Kelley School of Business in 2006 and, that same year, launched Girls Riders Organization. GRO supports girls and women in skateboarding and other action sports by providing equipment, instruction and encouragement through community-based “crews.” Whether traveling around the U.S. or working from her home base in New York City, Payne Taylor has made it her mission to make skating more accessible—and girls more empowered.

Courtney Payne Taylor

Video: How to Win a Case Competition »