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This year’s Youth Advisory Board meetings look much different than years before. The Board members logged onto a Zoom call for their very first board meeting on Saturday, September 19. At first, it was quiet and difficult to have a meaningful conversation with people you have never actually met before. But with help from our wonderful Co-Chairs and moderators Will Forbes, Amelia Marcum, Betsy Sklar, and Kelsie Byrd things started to flow and everyone settled in.
One thing that helped create a sense of normalcy was a guest speaker and Executive Board Member Stephanie Bendrick. Ms. Bendrick has worked at Empower Retirement for twenty-plus years and has had quite a career. She is now the Vice President of Transformation and Innovation for Empower. She works closely with the business, IT, and product organizations to advance and innovate for Empower. After providing the Board with a quick personal background, Mrs. Bendrick talked about the importance and value of the Youth Board. As a Member of the Young Americans Center Executive Board, she was very enthusiastic about our role.
One very interesting thing Ms. Bendrick suggested was to try and find motivation from different sources. For example, if you are interested in science or math, try an art or music class and vice versa. This has helped her find motivation on a day-to-day basis. As someone who uses math every day, Ms. Bendrick takes a break from her work by looking at books and classical art from painters such as Picasso and Van Gogh.
As someone who is very focused on STEM, I thought this was very interesting. I am currently seeking a creative outlet to motivate me to excel. Ms. Bendrick’s short presentation was very insightful for me and my fellow Board Members, and it helped kick off a great start to the year.