|With the President from IH|
I had the pleasure of being invited to be the key note speaker at my high school alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School in Hollywood, CA to share some insights on life, career, and vision and of course share more on Everest and my efforts for women in Congo. As I kicked of my “You Can Be Whatever You Want To Be” talk, I looked around the room and I thought what a fortunate group of ladies we are! After traveling to so many parts of the world and also keeping the women of DRC in mind, education is a true gift and blessing that so many young women around the globe do not have the luxury of receiving. I was instantly energized by the potential in the room…these 500 freshman-senior ladies were our future. As a result of that light bulb moment so to speak, I kicked off with telling them that the great news about where they are today is that they have the freedom to decide, to dream, to do, to be whatever they wanted to be and that it was a beautiful thing.
It was a special moment for me to be able to talk about my life, my choices, my mistakes, my successes, and my own dreams, all in hopes of inspiring these young women to dream big and go after it! It was great to hear from those that thought they knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives upon graduation and also hear from those that were still figuring it out. I enjoyed sharing my vision statement for my life at 18 while I was there at Immaculate Heart and my vision statement for myself now at 31 and a professional Life has taken some interesting turns. The passion for helping others has not changed. The most rewarding part of being able to talk to these girls was at the end, when a few of them came up one by one and shared their stories and dreams with me and thanked them for giving them some good ideas and pointers. It was also interesting to see their reaction when learning more about the issues young women just like them are facing in DRC (rape, unwanted pregnancies, HIV, malnutrition, war). I encouraged them that throughout their life to always remember their fellow women and to help each other along the way. I know that the feeling to want to empower less fortunate women has been in me since my high school days and is still going strong.
I am a firm believer that women hold the key to successful communities. So many studies have been conducted to reiterate the fact that communities thrive when women and girls can participate in the workforce, are educated, and empowered.
Thank you Immaculate Heart for letting me share my story and thank you to all the young women there for inspiring me to continue my mission of empowering women of DRC through my Climb Take Action campaign. Thank you to the women of Congo, whose strength and courage has been my endless source of inspiration since the campaign began in 2007.
I leave you with a great article from Forbes: Does Empowering Women Improve the Economy?
To get involved with our efforts for women in Congo, please visit: www.climbtakeaction.com