Written By: Lee Anne Mathews, COCAbiz Program Assistant
“We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead.”
Did you know that research suggests that over 70% of women suffer from Imposter Syndrome? I am talking about intelligent, resilient, powerful, successful, compassionate, talented, extraordinary women. And still, we worry that we aren’t good enough. Argh! We have been conditioned to question our own abilities since cavemen were clubbing us over the head and dragging us into their caves. And as Beyoncé said—We need to step up and accept our super-awesome potential!
I know, I know, it is easier said than done. There are a lot of internal chatter-monkeys and societal expectations and fear-based excuses that often act as obstacles between the strong women we know we are and the little girl who is afraid to grab the microphone. What are the steps to inner empowerment?
Kathy and I started dreaming about a COCAbiz women’s leadership experience several years ago. We were hiking together in Castlewood State Park, talking about those pesky mind-monkeys, when we realized that so much of what the arts teach us has to do with quieting those negative voices, engaging the present moment, connecting to our deepest passions and values, and embracing our vulnerability to put ourselves out there. It’s scary to be an artist! But it is also scary to be a woman with a voice and ideas and ability. As we trudged up the Cedar Bluff Loop, we knew one thing: We wanted to help women. And we were pretty sure we could harness the joy and discipline of the arts to do it.
Now we are excited to launch this unique and sensational program—Leading Ladies! We are thrilled to be bringing in several accomplished teaching artists to join us as we lead women through experiences in music, art, theatre, design and more. The arts have the potential to set us free, let our imaginations take over, leave the doom-monkeys behind us, and create a new vision for ourselves.
And here’s the thing—yes, we are going to have a lot of fun, but we are also going to LEARN and APPLY these experiences to our professional and personal lives!
Also, did I mention the female bonding? The days of women competing and knocking each other down are so not cool anymore. We are going to offer a safe and supportive environment for self-expression, experimentation, reflection, and growth.
So, I hope you all will take a chance, step into the spotlight, and grab the mic away from that mean little monkey in your mind!
(No monkeys were harmed in the writing of this blog.)
COCA Teaching Artists Lee Anne Mathews and Kathryn Bentley have extraordinary careers as educators, facilitators, and theatre artists. They are both passionate about leveraging the arts to empower women to reach their full potential. For more than a decade, they have brought their expertise from the stage and classroom into the boardroom for COCAbiz.