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Empowerment Workshop

November 3, 2017

On Saturday, October 28th, People of Change teamed up with the Wackerle Career and Leadership Center to host and sponsor the 3rd annual Empowerment Workshop. Faculty and students gathered to have meaningful discussion based sessions.

The day began with a keynote speaker, Chris Smithhisler. She presented the audience with discussions of historically important women, ranging from Susan B. Anthony to Shirin Ebadi. Those in attendance learned a few pearls of wisdom from Smithhisler that included: be authentically and unapologetically you, sorry not sorry, spend more time being not doing, fight hate, and live compassionately.

Kaitlyn Rule currently serves as the president of People of Change, a student organization that assisted in hosting the workshop. For her, the most impactful part of the afternoon was the amount of respect that was given towards everyone. Rule explained, “As I observed the different sessions, everyone listened to the opinions of others and were nonjudgmental towards them.”

She felt that the event embodied what her organization strives for: creating spaces where people can talk about their viewpoints without fear of being criticized.

Jake McLean, who was the Wackerle staff member in attendance, says the most impactful lesson throughout the day was to live compassionately. Smithhisler describes compassion as “kindness on steroids” and McLean agreed with her, saying, “A big part of being a good leader is being a decent human being and that means you have the compassion there for people.”

Those in attendance then broke up into different breakout sessions. The sessions were focused on the following ideas: hypersexualization in media, awareness of self-identity to overcome fear, breaking through glass ceilings to advance professionally, and inclusivity.

Emily Manassah attended the inclusivity session and said, “It is important to be an advocate for those whose voices are not heard as loudly. It is important to be a liaison to students who did not have the opportunity to attend the sessions, to educate those who are in need, and to empower those who are in need of some support.”

Everyone’s experience with their own sessions were different, but collectively, participants were able to learn the importance of empowerment and how as students, faculty, and community members they can do a better job of empowering those around them.

Mackenzie Fletcher
Contributing Writer

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