WeSpeak Empowers Young Women To Speak Out

March 1, 2024 | 1 Comment

WeSpeak Bermuda’s second Teen Boot Camp has “made a significant impact by empowering the island’s young women to find their voices, encouraging them to speak up to feel empowered,” the organizers said.

A spokesperson said, ”Held at the AXA XL headquarters in Hamilton, the event was a powerful full-day workshop led by a number of WeSpeak’s volunteer coaches, made up of high-ranking women executives. WeSpeak coach and influencer Patrina [Powergirl] O’Connor-Paynter emceed the day-long event, kicking off the day with a vibrant entrance, embellished with a fanfare from Beyonce’s “Who Run the World” track. Its purpose? To help the young women in the audience feel confident and empowered – and it was met with a round of rousing applause from the student boot campers.

The WeSpeak Teen Committee, featuring [from left]: Patrina O’Connor Paynter, Kirsten Beasley, Gemma Godfrey, Sarah Dunstan [Chair], Keisha Allen-Smith, Sandy DeSilva

WS-Teen Commiitte Bermuda Feb 29 2024

“The event also showcased a panel discussion from the winners of last year’s WeSpeak Teen Video competition, featuring Taylor Dean from Bermuda Institute, Eva O’Connor from Warwick Academy and Zarah Siddiqi from Somersfield Academy. These bright students offered insights and advice to their peers on how to remain calm and composed when speaking publicly, on being humble and accepting that you’ll sometimes make mistakes and remembering to always stay true to yourself. The audience was also treated to a song from musician and songstress Taylor Dean, who performed a song she wrote and composed especially for WeSpeak.

“The boot camp welcomed forty young participants, who were nominated by their schools, to dive into the art of public speaking. They engaged in activities designed to build confidence, such as adopting “power poses,” and practiced breathing and visualization techniques to mitigate the common fears associated with public presentations. The attendees also benefited from personalized coaching in breakout sessions, focusing on refining their public speaking abilities throughout the day. The workshop aimed to inspire these young women to articulate their thoughts and ideas with confidence and courage.

WeSpeak Teen Coach Keisha Allen-Smith leads students in an interactive visualisation exercise

WS-Activation Exercise Bermuda Feb 29 2024

Sarah Dunstan, Chair of the WeSpeak Teen Committee, expressed her enthusiasm for the workshop’s success. “We are thrilled with the outcome of our second Teen Boot Camp. It’s been amazing to see the transformation in these young women, from hesitant to more confident speakers in just a matter of hours. The positive atmosphere was palpable, and it’s just the beginning of their journey in public speaking. We are honored to have played a role in this pivotal step for them.”

“The Teen Workshop is an extension of WeSpeak’s successful Boot Camp series for adults, which has been running since the organization’s inception in 2019. The non-profit aims to boost women’s confidence in public speaking, enhancing their personal and professional lives.

“The workshop was attended by students aged 15 to 17 from eight local schools, including Bermuda High School for Girls, the Berkeley Institute, Bermuda Institute, Cedarbridge Academy, Mount Saint Agnes Academy, Saltus Grammar School, Somersfield Academy, and Warwick Academy.

Moderator Patrina [Powergirl] O’Connor-Paynter with teen panelists Zarah Siddiqi, Eva O’Connor and Taylor Dean

WS-Student Panel Discussion Bermuda Feb 29 2024

“To commemorate their participation, students received WeSpeak notepads, tote bags, Tuck Shop cookies and a certificate to commemorate their achievements. The event also featured ‘Under-the-Seat’ prizes from local businesses Glaze, Buzz, and Polished, provided by WeSpeak.

“The WeSpeak Teen Boot Camp was a fantastic platform for our high-school girls to grow their public-speaking skills,” remarked Sandy DeSilva, Executive Director at the Family Centre and WeSpeak Coach. “They practiced and developed the ’3Cs’ of public speaking: confidence, competence, and calm. These skills are invaluable and versatile, applicable in various settings. It was a joy to see the transformation in the participants from morning to afternoon and a great opportunity for the teen girls to come together with peers from other schools in a positive spirit of collaboration and support, rather than competition.”

“The event was supported by corporate sponsors including Athene Life Re Ltd. and Fidelity International, with AXA XL donating the venue. WeSpeak partners Appleby, Butterfield Bank, Chubb and EY Bermuda also contributed to the success of the workshop.”

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  1. Lion Paw says:

    Beautiful! Thank you ladies for having the insight to pass on such diverse perspectives.
    To the committee: Awesome initiative and congratulations

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