JA Empowers the Next Generation of Female Leaders at the Second Annual Empower Her Summit
Author: Beck Harhai
Published: Saturday, 11 Mar 2023
Image caption: Summit attendees posing in front of photo wall
On March 10, 2023, over 100 high school girls came together to claim their passion, power and potential at Junior Achievement of Western PA’s (JA’s) second annual Empower Her Summit presented by PPG.
The daylong event empowered and inspired the next generation of female leaders by forging connections with women role models and teaching participants invaluable skills to set them up for success as they enter the workforce. Here are 5 of the biggest takeaways from this year’s Summit:
1. Your story can be your strength
At age 13, keynote speaker Alicia Kozak became the first widely reported Internet-related child abduction victim. Since her miraculous rescue, Alicia has become an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, advocate, Internet safety expert, and television personality who has inspired millions through her strength, spirit and story.
Alicia recounted her harrowing experience and inspirational life story to motivate participants during the event. She covered topics like Internet safety, making choices and situational awareness. During her speech, Alicia also had participants complete an activity where they closed their eyes and raised their hands to answer personal questions. This activity brought solidarity to the diverse group of girls and proved the past is not the defining feature of a person’s life. Alicia helped participants realize it’s possible to overcome their past and come out stronger in the end.
2. Young girls benefit from a village of female mentors
Four inspiring women leaders shared their journeys that brought them success during The Speakers’ Corner: Her Story. Kirsten Bestor (WesBanco), Megan Chicone (State Farm), Angela Wheland (FedEx Ground), and Ebiaye Okoro (Range Resources) each detailed their stories, shared advice, motivated participants, and ensured the girls that even though life doesn't always go as planned, that it's okay.
The Speakers’ Corner also emphasized the importance of having a female mentor and role model who can share their stories and offer advice. These important and inspirational figures serve as a resource for young women to build confidence, aid in professional development and guide them through challenges and roadblocks they may encounter during their careers.
3. Continuous life learning is beneficial to success
Summit participants also networked with influential businesswomen. Representatives from PPG, Citizens, MSA, Olympus Energy, Peoples Natural Gas, TriState Capital Bank, UPMC, and Williams hosted activation stations where they met with groups of participants to teach invaluable skills in budgeting, saving, professional development, entrepreneurship, leadership, networking, personal branding and more.
Learning new and sharpening your skills throughout life is key to success. The activation sessions provided a glimpse into the many invaluable skills they will encounter and build upon through their careers.
4. Female friendships are sacred
The Summit brought together a diverse group of girls from across western Pennsylvania. Participants had the opportunity to bond with each other and develop new friendships to last a lifetime.
Female friendships are vital because they give girls a support system to overcome the stress, fear, confusion, and roadblocks that come with being a woman today. Through these friendships, women share experiences and advice to become more confident, resilient, comfortable, and joyful as they go through life. Most importantly, associating with other women and building meaningful female friendships makes us all stronger and encourages a more equitable and understanding society.
5. The future is female
The Empower Her summit presented by PPG was a display of solidarity and empowerment across varying generations of women. The event facilitated connections between high school girls and influential role models to show that when women work together, the possibilities for success, innovation and equality are limitless.
Yet, this empowerment is not confined only to our area – all over the world, women of all walks of life are organizing and inventing ways to make society a better, safer and more equal place for ourselves and our communities.
Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the 2023 Empower Her Summit. The event would not have been possible without the support of our stakeholders and event partners like PPG, Olympus Energy, TriState Capital Bank, Williams, Peoples Natural Gas, Range Resources, Citizens, Delta Airlines, WesBanco Bank, and FedEx Ground.
Interested in additional female empowerment opportunities? Register for the Intern to VP® Brand and Leadership program, a virtual program designed to develop goals and action plans, professional branding, effective communication, leadership, networking, and more. Scholarships for 50 select participants are available thanks to Savvy Marketing Group and the Susan Broome Foundation.