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leaders. I was previously tutoring at Ranson Middle School and coaching

By Carrie Cook, JLC Member

at Vance High School - schools I attended as a young girl in Charlotte. And every time I went to the schools, I was struck by how many students

EmpowHERment is more than an organization. It’s a movement. It’s a

adult. Ultimately, I knew I could not work with every girl who was seeking a

asked me to work with them, and were seeking guidance from a caring connection, but I could create a platform to connect more girls and women

way of life. It is the belief that communities are strengthened when

in a meaningful way, and that’s exactly what we did. I truly believe that

girls and women are empowered to lead locally. We act on this belief by

every girl and woman should have a mentor and be a mentor. It changes

empowering girls and women through mentoring, talent development

our lives.

and advocacy. EmpowHERment is on a mission to strengthen the female leadership pipeline. We work with girls in grades 6-12 for our mentoring

In 2011, we held a series of focus groups in the community and found that

and talent development programming, hire local collegiate women as

most organizations only focus on the development of the youth (girls),

interns so they gain valuable work experience, and partner with women

or the development of professional women. There wasn’t really a bridge

in our community who are mentors, volunteers, curriculum leaders, and speakers. I often get asked what’s the difference between EmpowHERment and other mentoring programs for girls. And my answer is always the

organization to bring girls and women together to learn about our unique community resources, challenges and opportunities and what we can do as girls and women to lead locally. So we started in 2011 by hosting

same three words: reciprocal growth relationship. We are intentionally

an Annual EmpowHERment Summit to connect girls and women in our

seeking to develop the leadership skills of both the girls and the women

community with local issues, speakers and resources. That year 70 girls

in our programs, while building social capital. So many opportunities for

attended and we had about 30 women volunteers. Fast forward, and last

growth and leadership are connected to networks, and we can build more

year during our 5th Annual EmpowHERment Summit we had 250 girls in

effective networks for girls and women in Charlotte. No matter who you

grades 6-12 participate and over 60 women who volunteered. We had the

are, no matter what you’re doing, whether you are in 6th grade or in your

Mayor of Charlotte attend, the Superintendent share remarks about her

6th career, we can all continue developing our skills as leaders. And we have to show our girls that you don’t have to be perfect to lead.

leadership journey, local business leaders, community leaders, non-profit

We’re all learning and growing together, and empowering each other along

I also really love our collegiate internship program because I know college

leaders and dynamic local college young ladies to share their experiences.

the way. Our three core programs are:

students are looking for meaningful work experience and serving with a local organization is a huge win-win.

Annual EmpowHERment Summit (open to 300 girls in grades 6-12)

I hope that EmpowHERment will connect, inspire and empower countless

Monthly Leadership Academy (open to any girl in grades 6-12) Mentor Program (4-year comprehensive leadership development program that girls begin in 9th grade and graduate from in 12th grade with the

numbers of girls and women. I want us to continue developing a strong presence in Charlotte, then expand regionally, nationally and

support of a one-on-one woman mentor).

internationally. This is my life’s work. There is a need to support and

According to a national study conducted a couple of years ago, 62%

that work, starting at home.

empower girls and women across the globe, and I’m deeply committed to

of U.S. girls report no connection to women leaders in their community outside of their family. That’s just insane. We’ve got so many talented women leaders in our community, and girls who are craving a connection with women whom they can look up to as role-models, mentors and


Profile for Junior League of Charlotte, Inc.

The CRIER Summer 2016  

The CRIER is the official magazine of the Junior League of Charlotte, Inc. (JLC) and is published four times a year.

The CRIER Summer 2016  

The CRIER is the official magazine of the Junior League of Charlotte, Inc. (JLC) and is published four times a year.