“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot
Connection, inspiration, and community for women -- it’s what EmpowHer LA is all about -- and what Michelle has been doing for years. I have known Michelle for over a decade, during a point in my life when I was making the decision to change careers. The options seemed endless and overwhelming, and she coached me to finally make some brave choices that were strongly questioned by those around me. I went from a career in business to a career in education, a choice that was truly the path for me. Michelle has since been part of my life’s journey in growth and transformation.
What EmpowHer LA stands for resonates with me deeply. I truly believe in the importance of women (of all ages!) supporting each other and building each other up, and that we can achieve anything when our most empowered self shines. I’m proud to be part of the EmpowHer Tribe, being an advocate in supporting the mission, values and community of EmpowHer LA. I’m excited to spread the word and share such a great resource as EmpowHer LA to my community and people around me.
When EmpowHer LA brought the RISE Mother-Daughter retreat to San Miguel de Allende, the Mexican city I teach in and call home, Michelle called on me to lead the Spanish immersion portion of the retreat for the daughters. These young women, ages 12 to 14, had to break through those uncomfortable first stages of trying out a new language “on the street” -- which is probably up there with skydiving as one of the most fear inducing experiences you can possibly have. Only in taking that risk of real-world experimentation was there real learning, real feedback, and a real self-assessment of their own skill level (not just an arbitrary grade from a teacher!).
Watching and guiding their experience brought up my own struggles, and those struggles that all women face, of being brave in the face of something that seems overwhelming or beyond what we think we are capable of doing. What was clear is how important it is to teach our girls at a young age how to take healthy risks, not just with learning a language, but with life itself. It is uncomfortable but essential to reach out, to connect, and to test what you think you know on a continual basis. This is what makes a life based on curiosity instead of fear, and in the reality of now instead of the imagined perceptions of the past.
I was proud to be asked by Michelle to be part of the EmpowHer Tribe, because this work with women is so important in our world today. If there was any time in history for us to stick together, to support each other, and to build each other up instead of tearing each other down, that time is now. Being a member of the EmpowHer Tribe, I am challenged to get over my fear, and do this in my own corner of the world (with a network of support from other tribe members across the globe) — invite more women to connect within my community, and inspire each other to be the best versions of ourselves.
I vow to bring the EmpowHer LA mission to San Miguel de Allende and I’m excited to continue the RISE Mother-Daughter Retreat next summer!
Ginger Bandoni is the founder of Soulway Academy, specializing in helping young people authentically align with their innate gifts and unique types of intelligences to create a fulfilling career. She holds an MBA and a California teaching credential, and hosts leadership workshops around the world.
Follow her on Instagram at @gingerbandoni for upcoming events.