The Young Women Lead (YWL) conference held October 14 and 15 at ACTC brought a message of achievement to over 500 high school girls from nine counties in Kentucky and Ohio.
I want to learn a better way to assert myself in whatever field I choose, said Kenzy Moore, Russell High School student from Flatwoods. She chose to attend sessions on Be the Boss Lady, First Year of College and Fighting for Success. Being the boss sounds pretty good to me, she said with a laugh.
This was the second year that the conference presented by Toyota Manufacturing North America in partnership with SOAR was offered in Eastern Kentucky.
Were here because we need you to think about becoming part of our company, Rick Hesterberg told the students. We know a more diverse workforce is a better workforce, and we want to attract women into our manufacturing environment, said Hesterberg, Toyotas Manager of External Affairs.
I attended last year and wanted to come again because I learned so much and I want to know more, said Lyndsey Burke, a Fairview High School junior. It gives me a lot of confidence to know that people can overcome problems and continue on to success.
It is important for female students to understand that they can do anything, said Lauren Ellis, a Fairview General Education teacher. The conference treats them like rock stars. By making them feel special, we can empower them to do things they might not have the courage to try otherwise.
MTV success coach Julie Marie Carrier was the keynote speaker, and radio personality Julie Reeves was the MC. Local women presented sessions on leadership, education, careers, financial skills, health, volunteerism, perseverance and social media.
This is a good experience for students, said Terri McConda, Russell High School Counselor. We, as teachers, can talk to students about preparing for the future, but its much better for them to hear personal experiences from women who are inspiring role models.
This year was outstanding, said conference committee chair Karen Coburn, ACTC Director of Workforce Solution. We had 100 more students than last year and added schools from Rowan, Lewis and Pike counties in Kentucky and Lawrence County in Ohio.
I thank the community and sponsors for their support of this event. They should know they are making a difference for these young ladies, Coburn said. In some cases this may be the first time they've been told they are special, unique and talented and that they can be captains of their own journeys.
Local sponsors were AEP Kentucky Power, Big Sandy Superstore, Citizens National Bank, Commercial Bank of Grayson, Community Trust Bank, Fannin Automotive Family, First National Bank of Grayson, Gibbs True Value Hardware, John Clark Oil, Kentucky Farmer's Bank, Kings Daughters Medical Center, Marathon Petroleum, McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie amp; Kirkland, Members Choice Credit Union, Our Lady of Bellefonte, PNC Bank, Print My Threads, The Gallaher Group, Tri-State Ophthalmology, Tri-State Oral amp; Maxillofacial Surgery and United Way of Northeast Kentucky. Other area businesses provided support through in-kind gifts.
Judging from the enthusiasm and excitement of student participants and presenters this year, we are well on the way to creating a cant miss annual event for high school girls, said Dr. Kay Adkins ACTC President amp; CEO. Planning is already underway for next year, because we believe this event truly can improve lives.