Panel at PHS encourages female students to be leaders

Panel encourages young women to be leaders
Panel encourages young women to be leaders(wtap)
Published: May. 23, 2022 at 11:53 PM EDT|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:10 PM EST
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - “They’ve got to think about their future and quite frankly they have to think about it now because they’re building bridges, they’re creating networks and quite frankly they’re establishing their reputations that they’re going to take with them throughout life,” said Dr. Rosemary Thomas, Executive Vice President of Davis and Elkins College.

WTAP News @ 5- Women in leadership panel encourages young women

That was the advice of Dr. Rosemary Thomas to the sophomores and juniors at Parkersburg High School. She is the Executive Vice President of Davis and Elkins College. She was the moderator of the women in leadership panel at PHS. Three successful women were on the panel: Jill Parsons, Kim Stephens, and Phyllis Smith.

Jill says her role as the CEO and President of the Mid-Ohio Valley Chamber of Commerce usually means she is the one who is moderating, so it was nice to be on the other side.

“I’m normally the one asking the questions so to be the one that’s sitting there being asked the questions, I’m just very honored to be seen as a female leader in our community and just something to aspire to and I take it very seriously,” said Parsons.

Another woman on the panel was Kim Stephens. She is an alumnus of Parkersburg South High School and the Head Coach of the Glenville State Women’s Basketball Team. They won the Division Two National Championship in March. She is also the D-II Women’s Basketball National Coach of the Year.

“It’s kind of crazy. It’s still very unbelievable sometimes you have to pinch yourself so just because you’re a good coach doesn’t mean you’re a great role model, so I try to be both and I hope I was today for the young women in the room,” said Stephens.

The women in leadership panel at PHS showed girls it takes just a little bit of extra initiative to open the door.

When Dr. Thomas asked us what can students can do to go from “good to great,” Phyllis’ advice was to be kind.

“I think being a kind person gives you an edge. I know you might think sometimes, “Oh, I might be able to get ahead if I go past this other person but I know people that have been passed over for promotions because people don’t want to work with them. If you are tough to work with, you will set yourself back. If you have a good attitude, and you are kind to other people. It’s not the most glamorous way to where you want to go, but I think in the end it will take you farther,” said Smith.

I talked to a junior after the panel discussion to see what she learned. Her name is Telina Boyles and she wants to go to Fairmont State and become a nurse.

“I pretty much learned that like yes the doors are technically open, it’s more like they’re unlocked, but you have to take the initiative and open the door yourself because it’s not always going to be waiting for you,” said Boyles.

Judy Parrish with the Parkersburg Women’s Club said it took about three to four weeks to put the panel together. She says she hopes they can do it every other year to help girls realize their potential and claim their power.

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