WOW Gives Social Emotional Boost

WOW Gives ‘Women of West’ Social Emotional Boost
Posted on 10/20/2020
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women of west photo“I was in one of the most accelerated career paths for P&G, yet I couldn’t look myself in the mirror,” shared Helena Alsbury, a chemical engineer and senior director of product supply at P&G. “What I had two years ago was a self-esteem issue.” 


“Why am I telling you this?” she continued. “Because I don’t want you to wait until you’re 37 years old to recognize it.” 


Alsbury is one of more than a dozen female speakers lined up to speak with members of a new student group at Lakota West Freshman called WOW, short for “Women of West.” Under the leadership of social studies teacher Jennifer Parrett, the small group meets twice a week during the school’s 30-minute advisory time to build community, self-confidence and character. The group is a companion to a similar program for West Freshman’s male students called “Setup for Success.” 


“It is a good place of belonging where they can just decompress,” Parrett said. “Our goal is to help empower some of our female students with skills to build them up and advocate for themselves and one another. It’s about giving them some of the soft skills they don’t always get in their day-to-day classes.”


Early on, the group’s 13 students built the list of topics they wanted to learn more about throughout the year. The list included presentation and communication skills, leadership, women’s rights, self-confidence, self-esteem and community service. Lakota’s strategic business partnership coordinator, Katie Bauer, used the list as a springboard to recruit speakers to join the group via Zoom. 


By embracing a virtual format for speakers, that list includes several local figures, in addition to international representation. Alsbury, for example, offered a unique perspective as someone who was born in England and whose career has moved her to five different countries. 


Just three speakers in, group members are already recognizing some key takeaways. 


“I think we’re starting to understand that we can’t bring each other down,” reflected West freshman Cheyenne Bouldin, acknowledging that one of her new closest friends was someone she wouldn’t have likely talked to otherwise. “We need to stick together and lift each other up.” 


“I’ve learned that you can’t react to what other people say,” said another student, Deborah Ezenwoko. “Don’t change for anybody but yourself.” 


Before signing off, Alsbury presented this challenge to the group. “You innately have self-confidence. What’s holding you back is fear,” she said. “In each of you is a superwoman. What if you believed that instead of the cannots, there were only cans?” 


If you’re interested in joining the line-up of WOW speakers, please email kathryn.bauer@lakotaonline.com