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Female & Fearless 2023: Confidence Workshop

What does it mean to be confident? In the second edition of Female and Fearless’ confidence workshop YWLC and students from Woodgrove Secondary School, Edgefield Secondary School, and Broadrick Secondary School attempted to answer the question with this year’s theme “Find Your Voice, Own Your Power”. 

Female and Fearless (F&F) is one of YWLC’s flagship outreach programs which aims to build confidence, leadership, and digital skills in secondary school girls. The program consists of a series of two workshops: a confidence workshop and a digital skills workshop. For the second year running, On October 28th 2023 YWLC partnered with Sephora to run the confidence workshop, located at UOB’s 28BQ Employee Clubhouse. 

This year’s theme for F&F of “Find Your Voice, Own Your Power” carried with it a superhero motif, to encourage the girls to be their own superheroes – to own their own voice and lead themselves and their communities, with confidence. With an attendance of 56 secondary school girls, the workshop kicked off with a candid keynote speech by Vanessa Iloste, Vice President of Human Resources, Asia, Sephora. Her poem, “This Girl is Just Like You” set the tone for the rest of the workshop, sharing how one can leverage confidence, body positivity, and leadership as tools to manage our emotions and insecurities. 

“Body positivity” was the first topic of discussion for the day. Interactive sessions like “Reel or Real”, where the girls were quizzed on celebrities’ photoshopped content, challenged social media’s role in spotlighting harmful standards of beauty. The segment, as a whole, focused on beauty standards, where girls broke down its influence by social media, acknowledged the diversity of beauty standards, and celebrated each other’s unique beauty. 

The second-workshop transitioned into an exploration of topics around “self-identity”. “What makes you, you?” was the thesis of the breakout sessions for this segment. From circling traits that compose their identity to learning how to reframe negative self-talk, a few takeaways were how our identities are constantly evolving and the importance of the relationship with ourselves through that journey. 

In the third segment, the girls learn about “self-leadership”, and how they can hone their potential to accomplish their goals. To switch things up the girls got hands on with this topic; the different breakout groups raced against each other to build the tallest tower using spaghetti sticks and marshmallows. Besides learning that ten minutes is not nearly enough time to build a stable tower made out of spaghetti and marshmallows, the girls learnt the importance of communication when it comes to leading themselves and others. This segment came to a close with facilitated discussions around the diversity of leadership traits – to recognize that there is no stipulated portrait for what a leader looks like.  

The event was wrapped up with a panel discussion on the topic of the journey to “Discovering and Owning Your Superpowers”.  The panelists included Vanessa Iloste (Vice President, Human Resources, Asia, Sephora), Yan Li Chiang (Senior Manager, Strategy Group, Prime Minister’s Office), and Jiayun Fang (Senior Vice President, Group Corporate Sustainability Office, UOB). Through a series of questions, the panelists spoke about the influence of our relationships with our communities, the power of authenticity, and how characteristics that might be regarded as our weaknesses have the potential to be our superpowers. Anchoring on our self-identity plays through the journey of discovering and owning your superpowers drew the undertones for the discussion. 

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