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.
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.
I have to start by saying that I never thought I would actually feel the changes I have experienced so tangibly. I do feel like I have grown mentally on this past 5 weeks.
I have always thought of myself as someone weak, without a real trait or personality.
I have gotten used to being the “Eeyore” I learned to love, but during this past weeks, I have learned that I have what it takes to succeed, that I am stronger than I thought and that when I really want to, I can do anything; If set my mind into it.
And after what it feels a lifetime, I can say, (and actually believe it when I hear myself saying it), that I am proud of myself.
I don’t ever remember feeling that way, ever. And I don’t know how it happened, but in a way, now; I don’t feel so embarrassed of the job I had for so long, because that job didn’t define me, If anything, It helped me build the person I became.
I chose WEN a long time ago when I was trying to get help, to find myself. The resume and mock interview classes are what primarily caught my attention, but the name:
“Women Employment Network” somehow told me, I was going to be able to find what I was seeking and didn’t even know I needed. I was blessed to end up in the place where I wanted to be and had forgotten about. I do believe in destiny. Back in 2016, I read about it and I knew that was the place I had to be in, I just had to be patient.
Since we started the program; I feel stronger, more confident and even happier.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend all the workshops I wanted, but I do appreciate greatly the ones I did. What I am most grateful for and I pray I can take from here has to be, my NEW FRIENDS and all the people I can count on.
Also, being able to sit down face to face with someone that will probably intimidate me, and that now I can talk to feeling more secure of myself, like my reviews said, that I portrayed myself as being confident. I have NEVER been called that in my life, and that meant a lot to me. I think I can safely say, It did change my life because now I know, I have it in me; I just have to let it out and smile. There is nothing a smile can’t fix. And I love that.
I am going to work very hard to achieve all my goals and dreams. One of them being; finding a job where I will be able to grow, advance and stay for a long time, one where I’ll be able to help other people that, like at one point myself, feel lost … also with luck a job that will allow me to have my nights off, so I can spend it with my kids.
I will get into any training, school and/or program that I have to, in order to achieve said goals. Because now I know, only I can stop myself, and I am not planning to.
No more sabotaging myself. The sky is the limit and I have so much to look forward too.
The time you have invested in me is not wasted and I will make you ladies proud... PINKY PROMISE!
Congratulations to Women's Employment Network graduate, Renee, on her new position at Company Kitchen!
Renee got an interview with Company Kitchen on the spot while attending our KC Job Fair on May 3rd. On Thursday, May 17th, Renee stopped by WEN to show her gratitude with some beautiful balloons and cake!
Renee shared her journey with us at Class #294's graduation on May 4th:
I chose WEN because of the thought process put into assisting a diverse group of women no matter what phase of life they’re in when it comes to employment. Both of you are passionate about what you do, the volunteers are highly qualified, and together you’re extremely effective. My decision was not a disappointment, I’ve learned a lot about myself and what’s key when it comes to finding the right job. I feel fortunate to have been accepted into the program.
The 'aha' moment for me is that I learned I have a natural gift and it’s not just “the way things are.” In addition, I have no clue how to focus on myself which at this point brings me to tears. I’ve spent my entire life living and thinking about others I almost have no clue how to reach deep down inside and make a change. Being successful with this will make or break me because what I’ve learned is “going forward” it starts with me. Remembering or journaling the details will be helpful when having to recall people, places, and things.
My goal is to finish the program taking advantage of everything that’s left to offer. I need to learn how to stop getting hung up on “steps,” go with the flow and be comfortable with going out of order. I understand that although I was blessed with a natural gift I have to do my part in the areas that I wasn’t so blessed in. I have to stop thinking that there are no companies that want a person with my skill set because I know there’s plenty, I just have to find them. No one said it would be easy.
I assure you that even though I’m a little high maintenance when it comes to needing your coaching, development, and guidance I’m very much different on the job. Once I understand my entire realm of responsibilities, have all my questions answered, and know where I fit in with the team I’m good. Please know that I will not let myself or you down. I treasure the time spent as it takes me back to where it all started and reminds me of those that developed me in the past. You’re now a part of that group and I thank you for it.
I’ve achieved so many goals in this program already because all successes have to be celebrated, even the small ones. My end goal is to find a job that’s happiness driven. It seems like a simple concept considering the minimal amount obstacles I have to overcome but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to tackle. I appreciate you and I appreciate WEN.
Edythe heard about WEN from Kaleeah Euler, the Executive Director of another Kansas City nonprofit organization, Family Promise Northland. Edythe and her family were homeless because of a series of life challenges - a medical crisis with her son, car problems and the loss of her job. The family got behind in paying bills and unable to pay rent, so they were evicted. Kaleeah knew WEN was exactly what Edythe needed to help get refocused and get her confidence back.
Edythe came to WEN unsure of what to expect and almost certain that WEN would not be able to help her. When she came to orientation she let it be known that coming to WEN was going to be a challenge because of medical appointments for her son and other commitments. During her individual assessment with each staff member, she was assured that staff would work with her. WEN staff reviewed her appointment schedule and discovered that there were few conflicts and showed Edythe how with a little pre-planning she could be available for the appointments and make it through the WEN Signature program.
During her assessment with Tonia, Director of Employment and Client Services, Edythe shared that she had an Associate in Medical Assisting and that she wanted to be a phlebotomist. Tonia suggested that she contact the Community Blood Center to see if they had any openings. The next week after completing a career exploration profile Edythe shared with the women in her class that she wanted to be a phlebotomist. This time she was told by Lynnette, who was facilitating the session, that she should look at the Community Blood Center website.
By then she decided since she had heard it twice she should follow through. Over Thanksgiving weekend Edythe applied to the Community Blood Center and got a response immediately. When she came to WEN on Monday she proudly announced to the class that she was going to an interview at the Community Blood Center. At the interview, she confidently talked about her skills and the importance of helping people feel at ease in medical settings and procedures. The next day she talked about how successful she was in the interview. The most exciting part was that as she headed home, she received a call offering her the position. Edythe accepted the position and started work as a phlebotomist the week after she completed the training.
When asked what was her most important takeaway she said gaining her self-esteem and self-confidence and knowing how to properly search for, apply and interview for employment. From her WEN experience, she appreciates all the knowledge, strength and wisdom that was shared by the great staff and volunteers.
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