Jan 12, 2018

My Journey through WEN - Victoria's Story

Lynnette (WEN staff) & Victoria on gradation day
Lynnette (WEN staff) & Victoria on gradation day

The mission of Women's Employment Network (WEN) is to assist women in raising their self-esteem and achieving economic independence through sustained employment. We were founded in 1986 with a vision of advancing the lives of women, their families, and the Greater Kansas City community, one woman at a time.

In this case, that one woman is Victoria. In 2016-2017, the Women's Employment Network (WEN) served 662 clients, like Victoria, seeking to better their lives - and we couldn't have done it without your support.

2017 WEN Graduate, Victoria, shares her journey:

 

"My Journey through WEN - Reflections on my WEN Moments"

Yes, I chose to provide this subtitle, it is intentional. Even as vivid my attempt to describe this important phase in my life, I will never be able to adequately capture my time with WEN.

I came to WEN vaguely aware of what it was all about, sure of one thing that I needed change and that's what the information on the website promised. I am overwhelmed about what I was taught by the staff and volunteers of WEN, and I am even more surprised about what I learned about myself.

I am glad that I never heard about other institutions that offer similar training to WEN; I would have been crushed I had patronized them before coming to WEN.

WEN is my icebreaker to the American workforce. When my daughter gave me the contact details, I was attracted by the word "women," it was the deciding factor and stroke a cord of curiosity within me, and I glad I came.

My expectations were meeting way beyond my imagination; the career dressing, the workplace etiquette and yes the four temperance workshops together form a solid pillar of my transition to a bigger and better and more confident me. My financial confidence has been strengthened by the lessons learned from "bossing" my money around.

I am so grateful for the exposure, the people I have met, and would like to this journey an important benchmark of my life. I will continue to scout for participants for subsequent wen classes; my motto is “no woman left behind.”

By the way, I am currently working on my letter of intent for the admission procedure for enrollment to the doctoral program at the Grand Canyon University for the doctorate degree in Education in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in Christian Ministry. My support system for this important endeavor is WEN and my family. Thank you WEN, I am proud to be counted among your ranks.

 

Thanks to your support, Victoria and many other women are on their way to a brighter future!

If you would like to receive updates and newsletters from WEN, visit https://goo.gl/1xi95D to sign up.

Class #290
Class #290

Links:

Oct 19, 2017

2017 WEN Graduate, Laura, shares her journey

WEN Graduate, Laura
WEN Graduate, Laura

The mission of Women's Employment Network (WEN) is to assist women in raising their self-esteem and achieving economic independence through sustained employment. We were founded in 1986 with a vision of advancing the lives of women, their families, and the Greater Kansas City community, one woman at a time.

In this case, that one woman is Laura. In 2016-2017, the Women's Employment Network (WEN) served 662 clients, like Laura, seeking to better their lives - and we couldn't have done it without your support.

2017 WEN Graduate, Laura, shares her journey...

My journey with WEN began out of desperation. Events in my life had brought me to a place of having to find full-time employment with benefits. I began the “new age” process of filling out applications and sending my resume out through various job websites. After about a month, I realized I was in trouble. I lost count of how many resumes I had sent out, to no avail. I knew I was doing something wrong but didn’t know what, or, what to do about it. I went to Google and typed in “help, 56-year-old woman can’t find a job in Kansas City”. WEN's information came up along with many other services. I was instantly drawn to WEN because it is geared towards women.

I nervously and with reservation came to WEN to register. I remember trying so hard not to cry. Life had beaten me down; I was scared, anxious and depressed. The Client Services Manager, Erin Cole, guided me to her office. She proceeded to explain to me how WEN works. Erin was kind, gentle and understanding. I felt grateful that she listened.

My first day of WEN. I had NO idea what to expect or if this program was really for me. We met the staff, each telling us their role in this program. I remember all students were very quiet. I’m thinking they were all just as nervous and unsure of this endeavor as I was. There was an underlying comfort in this, I wasn’t alone.

On the second day, Lynnette, Director of Program Services, began helping us with our master applications, dress codes, resume formats, interview objectives, personality mosaic, etc. The list goes on and on. She has the gift of meeting you, reading a bit about you and knowing what you’re made up of in seconds. I learned early on, when Miss Lynnette speaks, listen because you WILL learn.

Students are settling in now, getting to know each other, opening up a bit but still a little reserved.

Brianna, Financial Coach and budding counselor. A huge light bulb turned on in my brain when she taught us about natural tendencies and traits in our everyday behavior. The Four Temperaments workshop taught us that the things we’ve been fighting against most of our lives were who we were born to be. AND, that it’s OK to be that person.  Amazing. Life changing.

Students are laughing now, sharing what’s inside, new friendships are beginning…a sisterhood.

Latoya, Financial Coach.  Let’s wrap it up!!  Going over the week's lessons, worries and open conversations are always something to look forward to.  I learned here I was not the only one experiencing anxiety.

Tonia, Employment Services Manager. Don’t let her quiet demeanor, forever smile and workplace etiquette fool you. She is always busy-- working behind the scenes, more than we all know, in an effort to get us on our way with the last steps. She is constantly working with our resumes, interviews, networks, staffing agencies, job search resources, cover letters and so much more.

A few weeks in, our class has bonded and do not want it to be over. We all accept each other for who we are. We also cannot forget Audrey Williams, Administrative and Program Assistant.  There every morning to greet us all with a beautiful smile and a few words of wisdom. Let’s not forget…coffee! (Thank you, Miss Audrey!)

An area yet not touched, the Volunteers. I am amazed at how many Kansas City area women devote their time to WEN. Too many to mention but so much learned. Thrift store shopping tips, interviewing techniques, business attire, mock interviews, helping with resumes, finances, stress management, self-care, vision boards and facing our fears. I may have missed a few things, but the bottom line is, we have gratitude and awe for you.

Staff and students, thank you for this time together, for the confidence you have brought back into my life, for EVERYTHING I have learned and giving me, for the first time in a very long time, hope.

Thanks to your support, Laura and many other women are on their way to a brighter future!

Links:

Jul 27, 2017

A Big Desire for Change: Elena's Story

Elena and her son, Max
Elena and her son, Max

The mission of Women's Employment Network (WEN) is to assist women in raising their self-esteem and achieving economic independence through sustained employment. We were founded in 1986 with a vision of advancing the lives of women, their families, and the Greater Kansas City community, one woman at a time. In this case, that one woman is Elena. In 2016-2017, the Women's Employment Network (WEN) served 662 clients, like Elena, seeking to better their lives.

A Big Desire for Change: Elena's Story

Elena, dressed in a fashionable bright pink blouse, thoughtfully sipped her coffee in a cafe on the plaza as she recalled her difficult, yet ultimately successful, career journey. The path, which took a significant leap from travel agent to Middle School Science teacher over the course of nine years, was anything but easy. "Now, I'm looking forward to when everything is going to be boring. I want to be bored!" Elena joked as she recalled the past few years.

Elena achieved a Master's of Education from her native country, Russia. Upon graduation, she was unable to find a job in the education field. That is how she ended up with a job as a travel agent. As her career in the travel business developed she visited several countries and concluded that she wanted to live in the U.S. She came here in 2003.

Elena continued working in the travel industry and moved to Liberty, Missouri when her husband was transferred. Elena hit a rough patch during the economic crisis and in February 2009 was laid off. At that point, she was in crisis, recently separated from her husband with a newborn, trying to manage on her own. She was living off of loans and social assistance. Elena was connected to Women's Employment Network through a referral from an emergency shelter for women and children.

Elena described the first week at WEN as a little bit awkward. Her class was such a mixture of different women with different backgrounds. One woman was trying to figure out how best to use her Master's degree and another woman was focused on finding a job while on probation. It was quite an experience for her. "It was like a mini America where you learn about different kinds of people and personalities and WEN taught us how to deal with it." She said.

At WEN Elena was able to move away from the travel and tourism field and work towards her goal of becoming an educator. She became employed as a substitute teacher as she began taking courses at University-Missouri Kansas City where she worked towards a teaching certification.

Elena's son, Max, is now eight years old and thriving. He will be going into third grade next school year and trying to learn Russian.

WEN left an excellent impression on Elena. She still looks through her old materials to make sure she is using the information she learned. To others that might be thinking about going to WEN Elena says, "I would recommend WEN if you have a big desire for change. You need to have an open mind."

Elena now holds her Master's in Arts of Teaching English as a Second Language and is teaching Science to English Language Learners at Northeast Middle School. "It feels really, really good to finally reach this goal. I am one of those people that can't settle down, so I will probably find another goal. Right now, I am looking forward to a break."

Elena graduating with her Master's of Education
Elena graduating with her Master's of Education

Links:

 
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