By Keisa Sharpe
From career selection solutions to improving personal image, the 2017 Young Women’s Empowerment Conference (YWEC) was held with one main mission in mind – to elevate young women’s self-esteem in order to help them make sound decisions.
The daylong event was May 18 at Alabama Power Corporate Headquarters, as the company was one of its sponsors.
Nearly 100 young women, students ages 14-19, gathered to hear motivational speakers and professional counselors share success strategies and tips. They also attended several breakout sessions.
The interactive meetings, in which students were encouraged to ask questions, were hosted by professionals and college students.
Participating high schools in the Birmingham and surrounding areas included Clay-Chalkville, Hoover, Indian Springs, Mountain Brook, Parker and Ramsay. Students from Tuscaloosa’s Hillcrest High also attended.
Conference organizers said they enjoy putting on this annual event to help girls make good choices. Some speakers challenged popular images of success, like superstar singers and actresses, and replaced those with a roadmap for personal success.
“Being able to guide them along the right career or personal path is so important,” said Chiante Cleggett, executive director of YWEC.“Good decisions are key factors in achieving notable accomplishments, and bringing other women together to share how they skillfully navigated life is encouraging.”
Alabama Power’s Rashada Leroy hosted the closing awards ceremony and shared why she believes the annual girl power session is so important.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to inspire our young girls,” said LeRoy. “They face so many challenges to look and behave a certain way according to society. But this conference gave them keys on how to be comfortable with just being themselves.”