By Katie Clelland ’21
What began as an idea by two Scripps College roommates has transformed into a widely successful organization for middle and high schools throughout California.
“Our mission is simple: to inspire young women to recognize the value in their individual and unique voices,” says Marie-Nicole Jeffroy-Meynard ’18, who along with Madeline Guyette ’18 co-founded the San Francisco-based organization Empower HerFuture.
At Scripps, both women were active leaders in their community. Jeffroy-Meynard, an art history and politics dual major, worked at Scripps’ Career Planning & Resources as a counselor and attended numerous Tech Treks hosted by the College. Guyette, an organizational studies major with a minor in media studies, helped manage Scripps’ social media platforms and worked off campus at an arts magazine in Los Angeles. Currently, these alumnae are still roommates in Northern California.
The genesis for their idea arose when these two students noticed the contrast between their experiences in an all-women classroom at Scripps and their previous educational backgrounds in co-ed, public schools. “In the Scripps classroom environment, I felt comfortable and empowered to speak up,” says Jeffroy-Meynard. “I wasn’t afraid to express my opinions and beliefs. I wanted all women to feel how I did in the Scripps classroom.”
They began by establishing a mission, building a website, and then networking with professionals in a wide array of fields. “We talked to CEOs, leaders at Scripps and back home, and even Scripps Admissions,” says Jeffroy-Meynard.
Now, as an established organization, Empower HerFuture hosts workshops that cover three main areas of development: leadership, public speaking, and networking for middle and high school students. Their public speaking workshop is the most popular: By breaking down the elements of a good speech, and focusing on practical strategies for delivering effective speeches, the workshop helps young women develop confidence in presenting their thoughts and ideas. In one exercise called the “Bucket Challenge,” students pick a card out of a hat and then go on stage to deliver a speech on the card’s term, pretending they are professionals with extensive knowledge on their subjects.
“These skill-based workshops are free. They’re aimed to foster important leadership and confidence skills in young women so they can thrive in the classroom and beyond—in job interviews, internship experiences, and even their personal lives,” says Jeffroy-Meynard.
Empower HerFuture continues to expand and grow. The organization has hosted workshops at the 2019 Future Women Leaders of America Conference and both Jeffroy-Meynard and Guyette have spoken at the Los Angeles Girls Empowerment Movement Festival in both 2018 and 2019. Leveraging the skills they honed at Scripps, these alumnae lead young women to discover the power of their own voices.