Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rachel Simmons: Be Assertive! Get Your Message Across!

Rachel Simmons has dedicated her life to helping girls find their voice and become successful individuals. She is the author of the New York Times best sellers Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. Simmons is the cofounder and program director of the Girls Leadership Institute and a consultant for the Center for Work and Life at Smith College. She will be leading an upcoming workshop entitled Say What You Mean, Be Who You Are. It will be held on the Omega Women's Leadership Center campus in Rhinebeck, New York on the weekend of July 26 - 28, 2013. This fun and powerful workshop gives young women ages 18 to 29 an opportunity to develop their own authentic voices by practicing assertive communication skills, risk taking, and conflict resolution. Below is testimony by Jocelyn S., a former participant.

I would jump at any opportunity to participate in another workshop with Rachel Simmons, who is someone I’ve admired since her first book, Odd Girl Out, came out back in 2002. I got the opportunity to be a part of one of Rachel’s workshops during my time at the Omega Institute. I participated in the Say What You Mean, Be Who You Are workshop, which Rachel managed to cram with a ton of valuable lessons. Taking any workshop at Omega is incredible — it’s a truly magnificent place where people from all over can reflect and learn in a peaceful and nurturing environment that feeds the mind, body, and soul in more ways than you could imagine — but I especially loved the engaging ways Rachel taught us to advocate for ourselves in our relationships.

I remember writing several letters after the workshop ended because I was so eager to practice the tools Rachel gave us to effectively communicate in challenging relationships. I recall her engaging exercise which taught us to express joy and silliness and to let go of the need to look polished and collected. It was during her workshop that I realized how rarely I express my sheer excitement for life, even when there’s a party of adrenaline racing through me just ready to burst. Thanks to Rachel, I can now do this. The opportunity to role play and connect with other young women going through similar struggles was a gift to all of us. Rachel, like many of Omega’s incredible teachers, reminds us not just how to embrace ourselves, but also how to connect who we are with our values and ambitions.

The impact her workshop had on me reminds me of the Gandhi quote: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” I left the weekend with a clear vision of myself and my future. My vision includes loving myself and seeing myself as other people see me and focusing on all I did accomplish today instead of all the things I did not. I wish to embrace the uncertainty of this stage of my life. I want to work to promote empowerment, teach teenagers about the importance of setting boundaries, communication, positive body image, support trauma survivors, teach self-expression, and like Rachel, teach others to listen and find their inner voice.

I just want to give a big shout out to Rachel Simmons and Omega Women’s Leadership Center (OWLC) for the incredible opportunity, and encourage others to learn more about this amazing program (especially scholarships that are now available)!

A note from Sarah K, part of the OWLC Team: Rachel’s 2013 workshop at Omega will take place on July 26-28. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is June 14. Please contact owlcscholarships@eomega.org with any questions or to submit your application. We hope that you will join us!

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