Andrea Coxby Andrea Cox
Community Collaborations Director

Over the course of 3 days in February, members of the Women’s Leadership Council (formerly Women’s Philanthropic Network (WPN)), worked with female Seniors at Cottonwood High School to identify and develop their unique strengths to help them be successful in their college and career goals. Based on the on the bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0, by Tom Rath, Dr. Susan Madsen of Utah Valley University created and facilitated a series of trainings for WLC members with the intention of having members present StrenghthsFinder workshops to female students in South Salt Lake and on college campuses. The workshops held at Cottonwood High School for female students in the AVID classes were WLC member’s first chance to convey what they’d learned in the hopes of encouraging young women to focus on their developing their strengths.

Day one of the workshop gave students a chance to take the StrengthsFinder assessment and identify their top 5 strengths or talent themes. Each student received their own book and Terri McCarthy, a WLC member, facilitated the session. After students recorded their top 5 strengths, Terri asked students why they thought it was important to identify those strengths, if there were any “surprises” in the results, and if they felt their results truly mirrored their personality. Students were excited and surprised at the accuracy of their results and looked forward to the next phase of the workshop scheduled for the following week. One girl even stated, “Did they follow me around and watch everything I do?!”


Over the next two sessions, WLC members, Jenniffer Nelson Clark and Laura Houston, interacted with students to help them understand how to apply their newly identified strengths. They lead group discussions about how their strengths could be developed to help them in college and career. One participant was asked if they felt that what they were learning with StrengthsFinder would help them succeed in college, she explained, “Yes! It is helpful to talk about how your personal strengths will be beneficial in college or a job later.” Another participant said, “It made me realize how I can help others in college as well as succeed myself.” The majority of the girls found the workshop very useful, “I think it was really good to be able to see and identify our strengths and then be able to share them with others.”

Thank you to Kim Watts, the AVID teacher at Cottonwood High School, for allowing Women’s Leadership Council to volunteer in this capacity with her students!