About 40 women and four men packed into the LAPC for the EmpowHer event on Wednesday, March 29. The workshop aimed to provide insight and wisdom on what it’s like to be a successful woman in the workforce and build self-confidence as a step forward in helping bridge the gender gap.

The event was meant to aid working women who are constantly pressured to ask themselves: “Who am I to be in this position? Who am I to ask for a raise or to seek a promotion?” EmpowHer was designed to provide them with advice on how to combat their insecurities and uplift them, acknowledging that there is a deeper societal problem against them but that it is on its way to finding equality. However, in the meantime, the Center for Career and Calling provided more tangible tips on how to thrive despite it.

The event started with a presentation from Tabatha L. Jones Jolivet, Ph.D., an assistant professor for the Department of Higher Education, then transitioned into a Q&A panel with four professionals from various career backgrounds: Amy Thompson, M.A., Luz Rivas, Ed.M., Regina Chow Trammel, Ph.D. and Rochelle Woods, Ed.D.

Joviet kicked off the event by quoting and unpacking the importance of Beyoncé’s “Shining.” From there, she explained her main piece of advice in entering the workforce.

“The antidote to inaction is action,” Joviet said.

Meaning, women entering a job with petrifying low confidence or a feeling of inadequacy despite their proper qualifications, need to move. They need to do their work to the best of their abilities and let their work speak; the confidence will come and they will shine.

The panel featuring Thompson, Rivas, Trammel and Woods, emphasized the importance of self-care, mentorship and persistence.

The panelists agreed that self-care is incredibly important in being well-rounded and successful. Each expanded on the necessity of taking time off, not burning yourself out, getting enough sleep and spending quality time with female friends. Rivas specifically noted that she needs to schedule time to say no to other things, and fill that time being with people who fill her up. She also noted that she sets healthy boundaries by not talking about work while with her friends.

All of the panelists stressed the importance of having mentors. They all have more than one mentor, Trammel even somewhat-jokingly noted that she has mentors who don’t even know they are her mentors. The main point was to seek advice from people you trust and aspire to be like, all for different stages and situations in life.

“Be tenacious,” was Rivas’ constant piece of advice. The panelists added to an ideal definition of a good worker, some qualities being: passionate in pursuit of something personally fulfilling, courageous, supportive and open to listen and grow from criticism.

Sheyla Peinder, the Career Consulting Graduate Assistant for the Center for Career and Calling and one of the coordinators of the event, explained how the speakers were chosen and how they connected to APU life.

“The women on the panel and the guest speaker are professionals who either teach on campus, have been referred by someone, or attended APU for graduate school,” Peinder said. “We wanted to get women from different cultural backgrounds and areas of work. They bring years of experience outside of APU in fields such as STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics], business, higher education, psychology, and social work.”

Peinder reflected on the event’s impact on the group.

“Based on the feedback we were receiving at the end of the event and surveys that were collected, the women seemed grateful to have the opportunity to hear professional women talk on topics regarding self-confidence and self-care.”

She continued, explaining the specific feedback that the attendees gave.

“A student shared that she felt inspired from the stories and advice that was given,” Peinder said. “One of the men that attended the event also expressed being grateful to hear women in professional fields and their experiences which has helped him gain an understanding of different perspectives and how entering the workforce may be different at times for women than men, especially in STEM fields.”

For more advice and information about entering the workforce after graduation, The Center for Career and Calling will be hosting “Battle of the Interviews” on Tuesday April 11 from 7:00–8:30 p.m. in the Upper Turner Campus Center.