Sponsored By

L.E.O. LionWorks Competition

One of the most exciting elements of the L.E.O. Program is the Shark Tank-style  “L.E.O. LionWorks Competition.” The inaugural event took place on February 16. The 17 Mount seniors that make up the school’s first cohort of students participating in the L.E.O. Program competed. Student teams pitched their products and businesses to a panel of real-life investors, aka, the “Sharks.” The winning team receive $5,000 distributed in scholarships to the colleges of their choice. The livestreamed event was a great success. View the award presentation here.

Mount St. Dominic Academy is very excited to announce to our community members that Toyota North America has joined us as the exclusive sponsor for the school’s first ever, “LionWorks” Entrepreneurship Competition.  

Seventeen senior students in the L.E.O. Program’s first cohort at the Mount will compete in a team-style competition in the spirit of “Shark Tank,” presenting their start-up projects to a panel of “sharks” for the chance to win $5,000 in collegiate scholarships, sponsored by Toyota / Toyota North America. The competition represents a highlight of the two-year intensive, which encompasses the full life cycle of creating a business or product from ideation to launch, with the focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunities.

Toyota has a long history of cultivating a workplace environment that attracts and promotes women. This partnership with the Mount’s L.E.O. Program and the talented Mount students, is testament to Toyota’s commitment to fostering future generations of women business leaders, and illustrates the importance of providing young women with the opportunity to think, and learn, outside the box.

“The type of classroom-meets-real-world curriculum provided through the L.E.O. Program creates opportunities for exploration and growth often seen only at the college level, and fosters a young woman’s understanding of her potential long before she’s ready to start her career.”

Briana Nelson, general manager, Toyota North America.

“Empowering women in the workforce is a core value at Toyota, which makes this sponsorship even more special. We are so proud of the entrepreneurial young women of the Mount, and very excited to be part of the LionWorks Competition.”

The LionWorks Competition featuring four student teams and several “sharks,” including Ms. Nelson, will be live-streamed. Details will be available on the MSDA website and social media channels in the days leading up to the event.

L.E.O. Program blending traditional liberal arts and real-world education

The Mount not only focuses on college prep but career readiness as well. Working to blend traditional liberal arts with innovative, real-world educational opportunities and part of the school’s philosophy of empowering young women, the Mount offers the L.E.O. Program. 

The second school in New Jersey, and the only all-girls school to offer The L.E.O. Program, the  two-year intensive is for rising juniors. After being chosen through a selective application process, faculty, business experts, and professional entrepreneurs are all involved in the curriculum and classes. The L.E.O. Program encompasses the full life cycle of creating a business or product from ideation to launch, with the focus on leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunities. 

Real-world entrepreneurs and business experts serve as coaches and mentors guiding student teams through the process of ideation, market research, and business plan development. In addition, lectures by leaders across sectors of business and government provide the students with access to real world, practical and invaluable insights and expertise.

Over the course of the program, student teams learn the many aspects of creating a business, from research to marketing, accounting to legal. The cohort has access to a network of professionals to further develop their skills (teamwork, problem solving, presentation, communication) for college and career readiness. “Pitch Week” helps to further ignite the entrepreneurial spirit by putting student teams in front of actual investors so they can pitch their innovative idea to win funding and turn it into an actual business. 

Seton Hall University Pirates Pitch for High School Students Startup Contest

This past November, one of the Mount’s L.E.O. groups, Charcuterie Chix, was awarded the opportunity to pitch their culinary start-up concept as part of the Sixth Annual Seton Hall University Pirates Pitch for High School Students Startup Contest. Selected from a pool of 180 applications received from many states and over a dozen countries, Theodora Exilus presented on behalf of her teammates Patty Ann Forsythe, Katerina Holevas, and Renee Schuldiner. She was awarded the Audience Choice Award, as well as a $4,000 scholarship to Seton Hall University and a $250 cash prize.


MSDA students were featured in Morris Essex Health & Life’s December 2020 issue. The special section of that issue entitled “Women to Watch” highlights women in business, celebrating top female entrepreneurs and business leaders. “Difference Makers” perfectly describes our empowered young women in the L.E.O. (L)eadership, (E)ntrepreneurship, and (O)pportunities Program who participated in a “Shark Tank’’ style competition - Seton Hall University Pirates Pitch - with their startup concept “Charcuterie Chix.”