Lynnette Williams, Director of Program Services, has become the "secret sauce" of Women's Employment Network (WEN), and if you ask any client, graduate, volunteer, Board or staff member, they will tell you why. Celebrating her 25th year at WEN, you can imagine the impact Lynnette has had on our program deliverables, her co-workers, our board of directors, our executive directors and of course the many WEN clients’ lives she has affected in her years of service. Lynnette has seen WEN through several locations, staff changes, and of course, impacted the lives of thousands of clients whom she has helped gain confidence and the tools they need to stand up on their own two feet.
"Lynnette has the most genuine way of addressing extremely difficult and painful circumstances of our clients lives,” said Sherry Turner, WEN President. "She was once where they are and found the tools and resources needed to start over."
In 1990, at a difficult time in her life, Lynnette was introduced to WEN as a client. After completing the WEN program and becoming attached to her mentor Evonne McCay, she secured employment with The Full Employment Council. Lynnette decided to then volunteer at WEN and deliver her personal testimony to clients. For the next year, she served our clients by paying it forward in a volunteer capacity. She was approached by WEN staff when the position of Job Readiness Instructor became available. What you really need to know is that at Lynnette's own client graduation from WEN, she actually told the instructor that she could do her job. And, so...the rest is history. We are so fortunate that Lynnette chose the Women's Employment Network.
Lynnette is now, and has been for many years, WEN’s "secret sauce". Referred to affectionately and with professionalism by our clients as....'Miss Lynnette'. Alumni of our WEN services at times will track her down for counsel or perhaps run her over with a grocery cart just to say Hi!
Lynnette has inspired thousands of women and conducted 209 graduation classes. She is inspirational and compassionate, she will challenge you to be your best self, and she never lets you say I can’t. She is a mentor, a leader and a friend.
A young woman, *Kate* (name changed), in her late twenties, came to WEN. She was determined to change her life, make improvements, and take steps that would lead her to success and opportunity. She had held jobs and done just fine, but the bulk of her work experiences had been at Wendy's and McDonalds. She thought this -- and that she herself -- was not good enough, "less than." This was faulty thinking, it was self-defeating, and it was wrong. The women at WEN helped her understand, appreciate and realize that she had experience with customer-service, money-handling, and most of all, she had proven herself to be a reliable, trustworthy, and honest employee. She was someone who could be counted on. To this young woman, this truth that seemed clear to others was news to her. And it felt good when she learned it - and even better when she believed it and owned it.
Part of WEN's 5-week Employment Preparation and Career Transition Training involves attending workshops on various personal and professional development topics. One such workshop offered is "Finding Your Inner-Super Woman." Kate attended. And, no joke, the next day, she came into class and the WEN receptionist truly did not recognize her. Kate sat down in the WEN classroom, and the Program Director had to do a double-take because she too "saw" someone totally different. It wasn't just that Kate had changed her haircut (yes, dramatically, she had gone from a long-haired brunette to a red-head with a shoulder-length style). But it was that she was shining from within. Kate told the class - and our Program Director - that she had been listening, taking in, and contemplating all that she had learned over the past 4 weeks, and that it all just "crystallized" during the SuperWoman workshop. She was going to let that SuperWoman, who had been hiding in herself for so long, fly free. She was going to make way for changes, for good things, for a future to open up and happen.
The Graduation ceremony just concluded. Kate was there, proud of herself, happy - Super Woman on display. And she is poised and ready to take her new attitude, new sense of self, new resume and interviewing skills into her job-search-process and find herself that next employment opportunity that she deserves, can ably handle, and will love.
Another WEN success story. Way to go, Kate.
The Wednesday's Women sessions will end in December 2010. Thank you for your support of this program which served women in career transition. Your donations helped such women as:
Marjorie* who was a small business owner that saw a dramatic drop in her income when the recession hit. She was not ready to close her business and so attended the Wednesday's Women to network and learns how to generate alternate sources of income to supplement her business.
Karen* who after 11 years in the same career suddenly found herself downsized. She was struggling with the interview process. Time after time, she would be told that she had been the second choice for a position. Karen learned valuable networking and interviewing skills. She volunteered a several area non-profits to keep her skills sharp during her job search.
During this past year, Wednesday's Women provided insight and hope for these and other women who struggled with job loss and layoffs during the deepest part of the recession.
Thank you again for your support and we hope that you will continue to support our Dimensions Program with its focus on assisting low-income women who are struggling to overcome poverty and achieve economic independence through sustained employment.
*names have been changed to protect privacy.
The Women's Employment Network now offers a way for women who have recently become unemployed to stay up-beat and engaged as they seek to transition into new careers and jobs.
Help sponsor a program that gives women a supportive environment that helps them remain focused and motivated. The women in Wednesday's Women learn new ways to market themselves, network in the community and with their peers. Wednesday's Women helps women to remain confident and relevant in today’s marketplace.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The program meets on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The last session on September 15, 2010 was facilitated by Kelly Pruneau a contracter for WENf.
The focus for this session: Referrals are the Key: It's All About Who You Know
Did you know that more than 85% of all positions are landed from referrals? While the normal rule of "six degrees of separation" applies to many cities - it's really only "three degrees of separation" for Kansas City. Join this lively discussion of "Give and Get" - who do you know and better yet, who do you WANT to know?
Lori Hansen is a new kind of client for the Women’s Employment Network. She is part of a group called Wednesday’s Women — women who have been displaced in the last 18 months and who have more than five years of recent experience in the work force. Hansen, 42, of Lenexa, has been attending the sessions since the group started. She lost her job as public affairs manager for a cable company in February 2009 when the national office mandated a work force reduction of 3 percent across the country. Hansen began a job search immediately and has done some short-term projects and a lot of nonprofit volunteer work while she continues to look. Besides learning from workshops that cover topics such as understanding the needs of a small-business owner, Hansen said she has gained from the camaraderie of “a small group of women who are all in the same boat.” “Being unemployed — taking so long to regain employment — you realize you are not alone,” Hansen said.
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