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Momentum from International Women’s Day Extended by Avanade and JA Partnership

 

Image caption: Avanade's Inspirational Volunteers

Earlier this month, volunteers from South Women’s Network group at Avanade shared inspiring and unique timelines of their careers with more than 150 female students from Alief, Pearland and other local districts. Working with Tiffany Ogunjebi from JA, Avanade’s Lucy Moodley realized the work Avanade was already doing for International Women’s Day could make a continuing impact beyond a single day, week or month under JA’s Career Speaker Series. Lucy and Tiffany agreed to offer a young women’s program to our area schools even though the official date had passed. Several schools quickly accepted.

The power of leveraging Lucy’s timeline approach under JA’s Career Speaker Series program became obvious. Female high school students easily aligned themselves with women that told transparent stories, often beginning when they were students themselves. From initial dreams of being an Actress, Astronaut or an Author (That’s just the A’s) to the reality of being a waitress that made it to the C-Suite, the volunteers shared dozens of life and career choices. Common elements included first jobs, relocations, promotions, career reboots, additional education, motherhood while taking on leadership roles, marriage decisions, abandoning and restarting new careers and many others. Volunteers also shared stories from humble beginnings in other cities and even other countries. New worlds, not just new career paths, literally opened for many students.

After one particularly impressive career story sharing the ups and downs of creating success despite the odds, one student asked perhaps the quintessential question that illustrates what’s on the mind of many of our young women: “Were you discouraged a lot by other people?” We are very thankful for this team of volunteers working to encourage the discouraged.

Avanade has completed 7 presentations so far, and the remaining are scheduled in the coming weeks. In addition, Nicolle Sautter, a business teacher in Alief, was so impressed she is now coordinating a resume writing presentation with Lucy and Avanade for her students. This is definitely a program we would love to see flourish. Avanade is happy to share their success with others that want to replicate these results. Please reach out to Tiffany Ogunjebi togunjebi@jahouston.org to learn more about this amazing program.

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