by Sheryl Marlar

“Women are superheroes,” said Brittany Gaskell, graduate student and president of the Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) at the University of West Georgia.

Women working at a deskGaskell opened the recent Women’s Empowerment Seminar with this powerful remark as she welcomed attendees to the event hosted by GSAC and Women in Politics.

“Think of your mom or your grandma,” Gaskell continued. “You watched them sacrifice and struggle, always thinking of others – all with smiles on their faces. Surround yourself with these kinds of women who will support and uplift you.”

Gaskell went on to add that women are forced to compete against each other in school or on sports teams, so they often forget to encourage each other.

“If we don’t start doing that now, the next generation won’t,” Gaskell said.

Five ideas for self-empowerment were presented to those present at the seminar:

  • Practice affirmations: “I can do anything I set my mind to.”
  • Value your strengths.
  • Treat yourself and others with respect.
  • Learn or do something new; never stop growing.
  • Remember nobody is perfect. Strive for personal excellence, not perfection. Realize when good enough really is good enough.

Dr. N. Jane McCandless, dean of the College of Social Sciences, challenged the audience to capture their empowerment in order to find their seats at the table.

“I do women’s leadership workshops,” McCandless said. “For me, that is what empowerment is – when it’s played out best through leadership.”

McCandless also encouraged the audience to seek out mentors to help guide them in their professional careers.

“My mentor has walked with me every step of the way throughout my career,” McCandless continued. “I hope that years from now, my graduate assistant will hear my voice in the back of her mind.”

Broadway actress Terry Burrell closed the seminar with her own insights regarding women’s empowerment.

Burrell, who has appeared in numerous shows on- and off-broadway, wrote and performs her own one-woman piece, titled “Ethel,” a theatrical tribute to Ethel Waters.

Burrell encouraged those present to lead a mindful life and a conscious life.

“Don’t feel like you need to explain yourself to anyone,” Burrell said. “Your gift of intelligence came from your mama, so listen to your gut. And always choose to be kind, but don’t be a doormat.”

Posted on May 15, 2018