Giving girls the leg up in their careers
Girls in grades 6–8 will have an opportunity to build their leadership skills, discover their personal power, nurture their voice and make an early connection between their lives now and their future careers at the Girls Leadership Track, a new program at St. Catherine University’s Summer Chautauqua Friday, August 10–Monday, August 13.
Chris Klejbuk, Alumnae Relations program manager, says the Girls Leadership Track will be based on "The Reflective Woman" (TRW), St. Kate’s core course that every incoming baccalaureate student takes. The highly interactive, discussion-based course provides an opportunity for the students to “delve into who they are and ask questions that they need to process internally,” Klejbuk says.
For the Girls Leadership Track, St. Kate’s is bringing that TRW model down to the middle school age cohort.
In all, there are six classes — but you don’t have to take all six, Klejbuk says. Each course covers different components of leadership, educating young women how to lead and influence.
The girls and their “adult champions” — who may be parent, grandmother, aunt, friend or neighbor — will engage in conversations on a variety of topics. These include values, decision making, developing a brand, navigating the world of social media and discovering personal power.
Lessons for all
Mary Angela Baker, director of St. Kate's Leadership Institute, says the duo are then expected to continue that conversation away from campus.
During the program, conversations will also happen amongst just the girls and just the adult women. There will be opportunities for the girls to be paired with an adult woman they don’t know, says Baker.
“The goal is to help prepare these young women and give exposure to the workplace,” says Philomena Morrissey Satre MAOL '08, who will be teaching in the program. Morrissey Satre is vice president of diversity and inclusion for Wells Fargo's Community Banking, Mountain Midwest Region.
In addition to providing the “dos and don’ts” of being successful, her course will offer a tangible connection to how academic success fits into life after school.
According to Morrissey Satre, many times schools emphasize sports and extra-curricular activities and offer little preparation for successful careers. One of the goals of St. Kate's Girls Leadership Track is to instill in the girls the value of pursuing a career — as opposed to a job, she says.
Nicole Harrison MAED '02, who led a social media workshop at the inaugural 2011 Summer Chautauqua, returns this year for the new program. Her workshop will focus on social activism and responsibility, covering the basics of an online presence (including the safety and integrity of it) and how to use social media to create change.
Leadership is like riding a bike, Harrison says. “The younger you learn it, the more it becomes natural for you…this is something you can instill in kids at a very young age.”
Learn more about the Girls Leadership Track at 2012 Summer Chautauqua.