By Keely Savoie
For the second year in a row, Mount Holyoke College will sponsor MHC Shakti, an inspirational program for teenage girls in India that will feature leadership lessons from successful, professional Indian women. The program will encourage students to develop confidence, resilience and flexibility while introducing them to trailblazing women who have left their mark on the fields of media, sports, fashion, finance social services, politics and more.
The two-day event is Aug. 26 – 27 at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai. It is open to girls who will be in grade 11 or 12 at the time of the event. The deadline to apply is August 1.
The program, named for the Hindi word that evokes the feminine principle of divine power, will challenge attendees to recognize their own strengths. It will also help instill the leadership skills needed to thrive in spaces often dominated by men.
Through speaker sessions, panels and hands-on activities, the program explores a mix of quintessential questions about leadership: What are career possibilities outside traditional female roles? What are admirable leadership qualities? What are different ways to lead? What experiences can develop leadership potential? And, perhaps most importantly, how does one genuinely inspire other people to do positive things in the world?
“This year we are working with a number of speakers who will not only impart sound career and leadership advice, but who will serve as role models who embody the success that can come from following your own path,” said Amy Markham, associate dean and director of international admissions at Mount Holyoke.
Shakti participants will learn to evaluate and expand their professional outlook. They will have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with speakers, and to begin to develop their professional networks.
The program will include a number of hands-on activities, in addition to more traditional talks and workshops, that will emphasize developing confidence, defining one’s values, facing challenges, creating a personal script, pursuing excellence, and practicing resilience in the face of challenges.
“Shakti changed my entire take on college,” said Samyukta Jadeja, who attended Shakti in 2016. “It made me realize the plethora of opportunities that were available to me. Everyone has goals and ambitions but when one sees those who have already achieved something great, those dreams suddenly seem tangible.”
If last year’s pilot program is any guide, this year’s Shakti is bound for success. Of the participants who attended last year’s event — described by a student as “one of the best experiences of our lives” — four were accepted to Mount Holyoke as first-year students for fall 2017.