OKC-Based EWF International Launches Program to Help Young Women Reach Potential

Article excerpt

The women of EWF International understand that today's youth are tomorrow's leaders, so they have created SHE Aspires, a program to help young women realize their professional potential and develop their leadership skills.

EWF International is an Oklahoma City-based company that empowers women business owners and female executives through coaching, consulting and - its signature offering - peer-advisory groups. SHE Aspires, which stands for strength, hope and encouragement, will extend those offerings to young women aged 16 to 18.

Darcie Harris, CEO of EWF International, founded the company in 1999 and has been training women for the 12 years since. In that time, many of the women Harris has worked with have asked her to offer a similar program for their daughters, nieces or granddaughters, Harris said.

When Harris hired Viviana Burgess as a facilitator a year ago, she knew EWF had the tools needed to create the program clients were requesting. The two women began researching existing leadership programs for youth to find gaps that need filling.

They also organized a focus group of parents to learn what they see and want to see in their daughters. The most popular response was, "She's not thinking big enough," Harris said.

So the theme of SHE Aspires will be to encourage young women to dream big and to reach their potential. That kind of motivation will be part one of the program. Part two will allow the women to put those ideas into practice by shadowing women business owners and executives.

Harris has gotten numerous volunteers for what she calls "a day in the life" shadowing. The women represent fields including accounting, manufacturing, law, banking, consulting and retail, according to the program outline.

The young women will be asked to choose three women to shadow: one in a career they are considering, one in a career they aren't, and one in their dream career. …


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