This past week, a group of our Upper School girls traveled to Hawaii to attend the Women’s Leadership Summit. This year’s group included Emily Collins ’20, Victoria Moullin ’20, Linh Nga Nguyen ’21, Tusani Nhleko ’21, Maddi Politoski ’20, Shenaé Reid ’20, Emma Sawicki ’20, and Abby Walker ’20.
The Women’s Leadership Summit was founded by Rex Bates, Director of Development at Annie Wright Schools, who graduated from Shattuck School in 1970 and wanted to help young women build skills that will let them be successful leaders later on in life. He kept SSM students in mind when creating the first conference in 2018, and it is through his generosity that students are able to continue to go, along with students from two other schools.
The conference took place in Kohala on the Big Island, and included rigorous academic work, organized by Sally Deck of the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington-Tacoma. Speakers included Joel and Michelle Levey on mindfulness, who have worked with organizations like NASA and British Parliament, as well as Dee Ann Lee and Frelynn Kahalehili, two small-business owners who came to share their experiences and perspectives. The students also visited the Hawaii Wildlife Center run by women, so as to learn about how those women rose to their positions and how to put splints on injured animals.
Throughout the week, the girls were also able to learn a great deal about Hawaiian culture from local elders, like making leis, traditional chants, hula dancing, and ancient navigation practices, as well as the political issues that Hawaiians are currently facing. One of the students, Abby Walker, wrote, “Everyone is very grateful for all of the resources that nature has provided and aim to preserve it so it can flourish for years to come…Nature is also treated as an equal and thanked.”
On top of everything else, all the girls said that the sunsets were incomparable. Victoria Moullin said it best with, “I am so grateful for this unforgettable trip and all that I was able to learn surrounded by such inspiring people.”
Thank you to Rex Bates, Sally Deck, Kitty Gorman, and everyone else who helped contribute to providing our students with such an amazing opportunity.