The T.D. Jakes Foundation (TDJF) is a proud sponsor of the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’ 2021 Women of Distinction, which honors female leaders—from high schoolers to adults (including our own president and CEO Hattie Hill)—who have blazed a trail in their fields. In advance of the celebration, we’ve asked these extraordinary women and young women to share their experiences and offer advice for how to further advance equality in the workplace.
Katie Chang, Senior at Plano West High School
1. Why has it been important to you to give back to your school and community?
While being involved in Girls Scouts, I was able to mentor other girls and work as part of a team to solve problems effectively. Being involved in my community has also allowed me to do a lot of STEM-related projects, as well, which, as a woman, has been interesting. I also was able to mentor others, like younger girls, at our campout and kind of foster their growth.
2. What is the one thing that you want others in your generation to know about the value of giving back, helping others and supporting your community?
It’s important to give back to the community because it’s a community that fostered me, and I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for my teachers, my friends, and other community members. Giving back not only benefits others; it benefits you, as well.
3. Who has been the most important role model in your life?
I would say my biggest role model is my mom. She’s an immigrant, so she’s had to work really hard to get where she is, and she’s not afraid to take risks and make mistakes and learn from failure. She’s encouraged me to work for what I want.
4. How has your involvement in Girl Scouts shaped who you are today?
I was able to hone my leadership and organizational skills through my Gold Award by being able to let go of full control and delegate tasks to others. You can’t do everything yourself, so it’s important that you learn how to work with others and delegate tasks. I like to have full control over things that I’m running so, yeah, that was a little bit hard for me.
Also, my communication skills have improved. I had to stay connected with the Boys & Girls Club for a project I was working on. I had to keep in contact with the person helping me there, and she had a couple of issues with COVID. There was a while where I couldn’t get ahold of her, and I had to take control of communication with the family we were connected to, so I had to make sure everything was concise and our communication was clear.
5. What can business leaders do to be more supportive to young women as they prepare to move on to the next step in their educational or professional journeys?
Girl scouts has taught me leadership skills along with providing me the opportunity to be surrounded by a community of women who are there for each other. Other companies should put a focus on these specific areas as they prepare women in their next steps of their educational journey.
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