We are overwhelmingly excited to share that StitchCharities’ Empowerment Workshops are a huge success! If you haven’t heard about all the amazing things we are doing, allow me to tell you more. We teamed up with Microsoft, and a host of dynamic women leaders in the St. Louis community, to present an innovative and interactive workshop series. The workshops are designed to empower high school girls and encourage them to embrace their own beauty and we couldn’t be prouder of the workshop participants!
No doubt you’ve read the interviews we’ve already done with our inspiring workshop leaders and the next woman is a fabulous addition to the group.
Starlet Felder works at Verizon Wireless in St. Louis. Starlet is a dynamic woman who not only leads an organization of 85+ employees, she is pursuing both an MBA and Masters in Psychology. Despite everything she is working on, she makes time to focus on impacting the lives of the women around her. Starlet chooses to pour lessons learned through her 15 years of leadership and her experience as a business owner into other women as a source of support and strength.
Starlet’s passion to build up and encourage women starts at home, of course, with her daughter. It expands beyond that, however, to the women in her organization and her community through programs such as Verizon’s Women of Wireless program and BRAVE – Black Resource Association of Verizon Employees, two programs that support diversity and inclusion. Starlet’s successes include being a leader in market results and customer service standards, but her rewards come from seeing those she mentors grow into themselves, both personally and professionally. She believes in establishing meaningful relationships with a diverse group of women and encouraging them to accomplish all and anything they desire.
We’re so happy to have teamed up Starlet. Let’s learn a little bit more about her.
Q: Starlet, what made you decide to be a part of this project?
A: It is important to me that I give back. I have been blessed to have wonderful mentors throughout my life and I would like to pour my successes and life lessons into others. I look at this project as an opportunity to inspire young girls to chase their dreams and know that regardless of gender, race, or environment they can achieve the impossible.
Q: What motivated you to enter a career in leadership?
A: My daughter has been my motivation for most of my life’s choices starting with my career choice. I was driven to have a career that would allow me to be a positive and influential role model for my daughter. I also wanted to inspire others to be the best version of themselves and to accomplish the unthinkable as well as help create the next generation of leaders.
Q: What were the biggest hurdles that you faced as a female leader?
A: Throughout my 15 years of leadership, I have had to overcome many biases as well as my own opportunities such as speaking up to make my presence and accomplishments known. Forcing people to see that although I may not be the loudest person in the room should not suggest that I am incompetent or that I don’t deserve to have a seat at the leadership table.
Q: Why do you think the glass ceiling is so tough to break through?
A: I believe it is contributed partially to limited thinking and old school values as well as leadership roles being dominated by men. Sometimes as women we allow the generational beliefs of the women and men in our family to limit our thinking. Breaking generational barriers has been one of my most satisfying accomplishments. Not only is it generational barriers that make it difficult, but also opening the eyes of the leaders around us to see that women are fierce and can handle obstacles at the same level as men. However, in order to be recognized us as women must speak up and stand in our successes.
Q: What was high school like for you?
A: High school was great for me. I was voted class favorite my freshmen year and I was surrounded by close friends with whom I am still close to. What I realized later in life is that high school is made up of individuals who are discovering who they are and what they want. It doesn’t matter how well someone may seem to have themselves together, they are walking through life in a constant state of discovery and, for many, confusion.
Q: What do you wish you’d known back then?
A: Slow down and take it all in. Failure is a set up for self-improvement. In high school, everything that happened to me was a “big deal.” Whether it was a break-up, a test grade, or my wardrobe, what seemed so detrimental was really only a moment in time. I wish I had known to absorb the wins and the failures equally as a motivation tool rather than a deterrent.
Q: At theStitch, we’re all about empowering women and girls to embrace their own beauty. How do you handle self-doubts and uncertainty?
A: I remind myself that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I try to focus on the things that I like about myself instead of the things that I don’t. Also, if there is something about myself that I don’t like that I can fix, I fix it. However, if it’s something outside of my control I accept it as God’s way of making me unique.
Q: Any advice for teen girls interested in starting their own business?
A: First, Research! Gather as much information about your business interest as possible. Find people who are already doing it and reach out to them for advice or mentorship. Secondly, create a vision board to help keep you inspired and motivated. Third but most importantly- Go For It! Everyday take action towards reaching your goals.
Q: What message do you want girls to take away from the EYOB workshops?
A: That the only limits are the ones you set for yourself. Obstacles no matter how challenging can be removed, eliminated, or overcome.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for young girls to have self-love, how have you been able to get that for yourself, and how has it helped you become the women you’ve become today?
A: Self-love is important because you have to love yourself first in order to truly embrace love from others and also to feel deserving of opportunities that present themselves. Self-love allows you to lead a more fulfilling life. I remind myself to live in the present and to enjoy every moment because it is a gift. Confidence and self-love has allowed me to raise a beautiful and confident daughter, embrace mentorship, the ability to start my own business, and to become an executive leader in less than 5 years for a fortune 100 company.
Thanks, Starlet, for sharing your thoughts with us today!
Photographs by Glennmade Studios
To find out how to be a part of theStitch EYOB Empowerment Workshops contact: StitchCharities.org
The workshops are held at the Microsoft Store located in the St. Louis Galleria Mall.
If you’d like to find out more about theStitch click here: theStitch.com