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Finding inspiration at the JA Symposium

The girls at my table were (from left), Elichia Laugerman (Central York); Taylor Smallwood (York Suburban), Nayeli Garcia (York Catholic) and Caitlin Garrett (Susquehannock). I even had two of them say they were interested in journalism.
A couple months ago, business editor Cathy Hirko asked me if I wanted to join her at a Junior Achievement Symposium. I had heard of JA before but hadn’t been involved in any of their programs. And even though I was wary of an 8 a.m. start (I do work mostly nights), this event sounded intriguing.

I’m so glad I decided to go.

The message of the day was about inspiration and mentoring. Around 40 to 50 business and community leaders gathered at Heritage Hills to share their stories. All women. Talking to and guiding a room full of high school girls.

It was great.

The mentors in the room ranged from attorneys to pastors to business owners to horse trainers to industrial engineers to police officers to Mayor Bracey. What better way to introduce young girls — the next group of leaders — to a variety of career options?

All the speakers were fantastic and focused on the different paths they took to success.

Harriet Turk was particularly inspiring. In an age when many teen girls are worried about the thigh gap, Turk (called “that cheerleader woman”) is all about building self-esteem and self-worth. She had girls dancing on the stage by the end.

I hope all the girls who attended left with more than just a goodie bag. I know I did.