Jun 19, 2019

Paula's Journey Through WEN

Lynnette & Paula, Class #303's graduation on 6/14
Lynnette & Paula, Class #303's graduation on 6/14

I had been speaking with a Job Coach who works with another program in Kansas City. She had encouraged me to work on my resume and suggested that I attend an upcoming Job Fair that she had heard about. I had never been to a Job Fair before, so was unsure what to expect.  She gave me a little bit of information, telling me that I would not be interested in all the employers that would be there. She knew that I had already applied for jobs at KU Medical Center and St. Luke's Health System and she suggested that I take along copies of my resume and hand them to the persons at those stations, being ready to take a few minutes to "sell myself" to them. Not my forte, but I would comply to get a job.

Being a curious person, I was intrigued with the idea of a job fair, so along with KU Med & St. Luke's, I was checking out all the other employer's tables, just to see what types of positions were available. Because I knew that I was wanting to return to the healthcare field and hopefully work in a teaching institution again, but had not yet reinstated my Missouri RN license, I was scoping out all my options.

Lo and behold, at the end of the first line of tables was Ms. Lynnette, WEN's VP of Programming and Services. Standing there, straight and tall, with that warm smile and matter of fact style. I don't remember who spoke first, but I think I asked what Women's Employment Network did and she gave me a very brief explanation, then said (with her definitive and then sort of questioning manner): "You know we have an orientation starting next Monday and if you give me your email address and your information, I will email you a reminder and you can come check it out for yourself."

So, what I expected and what we received were two completely different things. What WEN does, cannot in simplicity be explained. I believe that instead of Women's Employment Network, this program should be called "Women's EMPOWERMENT Network." The changes I have seen in myself and my #303 Classmates is so powerful. I have grown in courage, confidence, self-awareness, and ability to recognize and articulate my own needs and passion. I think I better understand what is driving me and why.

It would be difficult to narrow down which particular workshop was most helpful. Each presenter and their presentation had at least some piece of very helpful information from learning about my temperament to structuring my resume. But, possibly the most important piece for me will be how to answer Behavioral Interview questions. I have always been able to weave a story. Answering behavioral questions in an interview is like telling your story, however, we, as women, don't like to "toot our own horns". I have learned that taking ownership of my story and telling it with conviction will "seal the deal" on my interview.

The skills I have learned in 'Conflict Management in the Workplace' and 'Problem Solving and Decision Making' will greatly impact the job that I do acquire. My employment goal has solidified into knowing that I want to work, not only as an RN, but have now attained my Basic Cardiac Life Support certification and know that I want to work in an Adult or Family Ambulatory Clinic where I will have the exposure to multiple types of diagnoses. I have researched and found that there is a 9 week RN refresher course through Johnson County Community College, my Alma Mater, which is highly respected in the healthcare arena. The next class starts this fall and the last day to register is July 1, 2019, so I am now examining the value and possibility of taking this course to ensure my long term career goal.

Short term, after learning how to set up myself on LinkedIn, I have several recruiters that have now seen my Profile on LinkedIn and have sent me invitations to have a "conversation". I can see this transforming at least into a temporary position where I can also have a chance to brush up on my skills in an appropriate environment.

I will be forever grateful for the empowerment I have acquired from WEN.


Mar 26, 2019

Class #300 - Kami's Journey through WEN


I chose WEN primarily because it was affordable (free) and I needed help finding employment. A Facebook post for WEN appeared in my thread briefly describing the Signature Program and what this program could do for women. The post also mentioned there would be no cost. I thought, “what’s the catch” and went to the WEN website to investigate the “catch”. The first thing that caught my attention was “Changing the Lives of Women” in bright blue lettering. At this point in my life, I needed a change as I felt deflated and my self-esteem was at an all-time low after continually getting passed over for jobs only to find out an employee was hired from within (understandable) or someone was hired because they had great connections. My final breaking point was when I was chosen to temporarily fill a position, being told I was doing a great job and then being passed over for someone who had a lengthy relationship with the hiring manager, but no experience using their software and very basic computer skills. What was worse was I was still filling the temporary position when she started, and I helped train her.


After reading about the Signature Program, I thought, “this is what I need”. However, after reading that WEN creates positive change in the lives of women who struggle with social, economic and educational barriers to employment, I felt sad thinking this program was meant for a different demographic. I closed the website, but WEN kept popping up on my Facebook thread and since I believe in signs, I made a call. The person on the other end had a kind and soothing voice. She let me know the program was for everyone, so I signed up. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.


The program has helped me gain self-confidence and I started believing in myself again. I am cognizant to be “nice” to myself and reign in self-doubt. I felt an almost instant connection to all the women in the class despite our varied backgrounds. This connection really allowed me to be myself and open up. I am usually the person in the back of the room that you may never know existed, but in this program, I am present and wanting to do whatever is needed to heal and find my self-worth. I feel like I hold my head up high as opposed to my head hanging low when I’m walking.


My take-away is that healing takes time and something that has been drilled into our heads from Day 1 is that WEN never closes a file. It has been great seeing people from the most recent class to classes from years ago because truly we will be welcomed back should the need arise. The help I have received with resumes, interviews, self-help, self-care, the information from workshops and financial coaching have had a significant impact in my life. As the program ends and I go back to review what I have learned, it will continue to impact my life.


My goal is to eventually find full-time employment with a company that “fits” and doing a job I love. This may mean taking many temporary positions. I am okay with this because it will get me closer to figuring out exactly what I’m looking for. Thank you for crafting this program to help women like me heal from the inside out and determine our self-worth.


Dec 28, 2018

Allie's Journey Through WEN

Lynnette & Allie on graduation day (12/7/2018)
Lynnette & Allie on graduation day (12/7/2018)

All my life, I always knew what I wanted to do when I transitioned out of my little girl phase. I’ve always wanted to become a nurse in the United States military. My dad’s side of the family is very military-oriented, so I was into that as I was what they call a “daddy’s girl.” So, when I reached my high school career, I was in a program called Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (MCJROTC). I absolutely loved it. This program taught me to become a leader, not just a follower. I made an extended family within this amazing program. Because I loved this program so much, it got me more ecstatic and intrigued on joining the real thing after high school. When senior year rolled around the corner, I got myself together and went up to the Coast Guard recruitment office to finish up the process to become a strong, vigorous Coastie. June 12th was the final date set for my enlistment. As the date got closer and closer and time was going and going, I became more enthusiastic about shipping off. I didn’t realize, however, how different it would be compared to what I was used to. Man, was I in for a rollercoaster ride. Being away from family while on the other side of the United States was very hard for me. I ended up injuring myself and not completing the remainder of boot camp, and I was very hard on myself for it. I was putting myself down, calling myself a failure, and overall just bullying myself for it. I slipped into a big depression, one I haven’t felt in 2 years. I just didn’t know what to do anymore.

A couple of weeks after I returned home from boot camp, I set an appointment up with a therapist within my doctor’s office. Her name is Kerry McCrae; I saw her a few times before getting up the courage to flat out tell her I have no plans on what I want to do with my life. I was unemployed, I had just moved and I didn’t even have anyone to talk to outside of family. Kerry then informed me about a free, nonprofit program known as the Women’s Employment Network. I felt I could give it a shot because what else was I going to do? I knew I made the right decision when I stepped through the door with a warm, welcoming smile from Ms. Audrey Williams. From that moment on, everybody at WEN made me feel like I was part of the family.

During the past 5 weeks working with everyone at WEN, I definitely saw a confidence rise. Before entering the program, I didn’t know how to feel and I was very introverted. After getting comfortable with everyone, my extrovert took over. Being able to communicate with not only the staff but all the other members of the program really brought me out of my shell since high school.

We did a numerous amount of workshops during the 5 weeks, including but not limited to Budgeting, Four Temperaments, Credit: On Purpose, Workplace Etiquette, Time Management and Goal Setting, Conflict in the Workplace, etc. I would say the most effective workshop I attended was the Four Temperaments workshop. Ms. LaToya Woods portrayed the information quite well and I definitely learned a lot about myself that I never knew before. I learned about Sanguine, Choleric, Melancholy, and Phlegmatic personalities. I learned that I am Sanguine-Choleric myself. Four Temperaments was definitely my favorite workshop I attended.

My experience here at Women’s Employment Network was outstanding and very helpful. Before the 5 week phase, I did not know what I’d be getting myself into; if this program would be a scam or not. I realized it was more than just “get back on your feet and go.” WEN actually helps you, even after you’ve graduated from the program and the ladies here are willing to help however long you need. With that being said, I plan on taking all the information about resume building, networking and financial stability with me, along with the help from the staff. I’ve built such great relationships with everybody in the program, and I believe that staying connected with everyone would be great and motivating for me.

My long-term career goals are simple. I would like to go back to school and go a different route in the military, major in Psychology, and pursue a career in Criminal Justice. With the help of everybody at WEN, I know I can reach my goal.

To wrap things up, I never knew I needed this program until it was almost too late. I am HIGHLY appreciative of the opportunity I was given to attend WEN and meet the women here. I will always consider WEN part of my extended family. Thank you, everyone, for giving me the opportunity to not only better myself but also better my future.


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