Empress In Training I

A huge part of my rebranding includes a vow to service. In my freshman year of college I joined a mentorship program where I was working with predominately black high school girls. I immediately fell in love. I saw me in them and was reminded of all the people who have contributed to my success.

Session I Empresses In Training with me and my line sisters. photo credit: phillip parker.

I am a strong believer that as you climb to the top, you should be reaching back and pulling others up with you. Therefore I introduce my new series of posts, "Empress In Training." This series will highlight the stories of the young ladies in my new mentoring group and also provide them with tools they can use in between our retreats.

I hosted an empowering first retreat more than a week ago with five girls in attendance. Assisting me throughout were my dedicated line sisters. This first one did not have a theme, but the conversation centered on healthy lifestyle choices. This blog post will take you through a recap of our enlightening discussions!


ICEBREAKERS

Since many people in the room didn't know each other, I decided to break the ice with a couple of questions to get the conversations popping. What does every young girl love to talk about? Boys! We went around and told our celebrity crushes with answers ranging from Bryson Tiller to August Alsina. It was weird to see the age gap between my line sisters and the empresses in training. They were saying completely different answers like Morris Chestnut and Boris Kodjoe!

To refocus their attention, I posed the question of who their favorite black woman was. Checkout the video in the section to see what their answers were. It was refreshing to hear that they did look up to black women, but it was interesting to hear mostly black women entertainers.

LEADERSHIP. EDUCATION. SELF-KNOWLEDGE.

Before we delved into the session I had the empresses in training take the Myers Briggs personality test. These tests truly helped me pinpoint what my leadership style was and how to apply it in the best ways. We ended up with a wide range of results, but interestingly enough each girl was labeled an extrovert. We proceeded to talk about how they can use these results to grow. 

Personality talk led into a discussion about leadership styles and in what ways the girls led in their personal lives. Some identified as being outspoken while others identified as energetic. After talking about my experiences with leadership and how it has developed, the girls each wrote in their journals a lesson (something they should work on) and a blessing (something they are already great at) for the leadership portion. A key lesson I heard was to be more aware of others. A key blessing I heard was the ability to think before speaking.

The next part of the session focused on the importance of education. My line sisters became very integral during this part. They gave wonderful study tips and split up with girls that had similar career interests as them. They talked to the empresses in training about what clubs to join and the types of programs to be looking out for such as the school newspaper and the National Junior Honors Society.

Breakout discussion about Law and Politics. Photo Credit: Sydney Parker.

Breakout discussion about animal medicine. Photo Credit: Sydney Parker.

Breakout discussion about sports journalism. Photo credit: Sydney Parker.

Finally, we ended the retreat with a talk about self-knowledge and how to boost ones image in their own mind. It was imperative for me to get across that before you can indulge in the beauty of others, you must find that beauty within yourself. Many of the empresses in training took the words out of my mouth, telling me that beauty is believing in yourself and not caring what others say about you. Some lessons I heard in this area were working on believing in oneself and increasing self-esteem. Still, these lessons were coupled with blessings such as not caring about the nasty things enemies may say and being kind and sensitive to others.


UNTIL NEXT TIME...

This was far from the end. I plan on hosting these retreats twice a year with different themes each time. I want this to grow. There were many good things about this first run, but there is definitely room for improvement. In the mean time, I will be featuring their writing here. Stay tuned for more to come from these incredible empresses In training!

---MS. PARKER---