Sarah Chapman was featured as a keynote speaker for the 2021 Network Gender & STEM Conference. She provided a passionate call-to-action based on her immersive educational experiences such as the Barbara Cail STEM International Fellowship (2016) and her 19 years as a secondary science teacher. The fellowship provided the opportunity to research and identify effective and innovative ways for promoting participation of young people, particularly girls, in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields during their education and subsequent careers. By visiting schools, businesses, universities, government departments and communities all over the world, she explored what OECD countries were doing that was having an impact on the rate of engagement in STEM education. Sarah also visited other countries that are high performing in STEM education to inform her professional practice. With a focus on best practice for engaging and sustaining young people, in particular girls, in STEM, this keynote summary offers important messages of connection, communication, and collaboration to consider for an effective STEM ecosystem that embeds four key strategies to empower and engage girls in STEM.