Through a day-long Stronger U event on April 22, Meredith College partnered with Dress for Success to help 13 women develop an understanding of their unique strengths and how to make the most of them.
Prior to arriving, the participants, who are clients of Dress for Success, completed the StrengthsFinder assessment. It’s a research-based assessment tool that’s also used by students as part of StrongPoints®, Meredith’s advising and personal coaching model, as well as Stronger U, a personal and professional development program.
During an introductory session, Tomecca Sloane, assistant dean of students, and Candice Webb, director of StrongPoints, engaged the women in discussion and interactive activities to help them define and understand their own strengths, as well as those of the other participants.
“The women were so energetic and eager to do the work of learning about and developing their talents,” said Webb. “They talked about ways they’ve used their strengths in the past and looked forward to applying those strengths in future endeavors. Some of the women talked about upcoming job interviews and how this information about their strengths could help them prepare for those experiences,” she continued.
President Jo Allen, ’80, was instrumental in bringing the event to fruition.
“This Stronger U event represents Meredith College's outreach to women in the community who will benefit from a focus on their strengths as they plan the next phase of their lives,” said Allen. “For some, this kind of 'tune-up' is a great way to proceed with greater clarity and confidence. For others, the future includes formal education (courses and degrees) set in the context of challenge and support – exactly what we offer at Meredith – and resulting in greater confidence and greater options for the rest of their lives.”
The program agenda also included a networking lunch with a keynote by Linda Shields, an executive speech/voice coach and friend of the College. The afternoon session, led by Career Planning staff Jane Matthews, Katie Peterssen, and Isabel Drinkwater, focused on helping the women use their strengths to enhance their careers.
“The group discussed strategies to use their strengths to intentionally develop their network to advance their careers,” said Katie Peterssen, assistant director of career development. “Networking can seem overwhelming, but by focusing on the ways that we naturally think, feel, and behave (our strengths), the process of developing meaningful and influential connections can be more accessible and rewarding.”
Before they left, each woman identified an accountability partner to be her champion and keep her moving forward toward the career goals that she set during the session.
“Our goal for the workshop was to affirm the women and to empower them to go out and use their strengths to reach their goals. By the end of the workshop, I think we did that. It was a great experience,” said Webb.
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