Several years ago, I read “Radiating Like a Stone, Wichita Women and the 1970s Feminist Movement,” an anthology of essays about local women who fought hard to make life better for all of us. From reading the book, I realized that much of the same issues that held women back then, are still holding us back today. Frustrated by this, I thought, “How can this happen? How do we keep the momentum going?” I started to think about how I could accomplish this on my own and how I could lead others to this idea.
In 2014, I was reminded of that realization when I read “Playing Big,” a book by Tara Mohr about how women hold themselves back in business. I’ve seen this dilemma in action in my consulting practice, Creative Solutions, which I started in 1998. This book helped me realize that it’s up to every one of us to make changes, starting with ourselves.
Telling others about my dream to help women own their power, my friends encouraged me to pursue the project. I started planning the Finishing School for Modern Women the summer of 2015 and put together an advisory panel of 80 women. I held several focus groups, getting advice on what to charge, what classes sounded interesting and how to make it fun. The first class on September 19, 2015, Keep Moving Forward, at Harvester Arts was a big success with 25 attending!
I continued to give classes at Harvester Arts, the Wichita Art Museum and Watermark Books and Café for the rest of 2015, using that time as a test period to see if there was enough interest and demand to continue. Thanks to the people who attended and co taught classes those first couple of months, I discovered that there a need for the kind of classes we offer and that I had found my mission in life. Deciding to go all in, I opened a storefront at 340 S. Main in March 2016.
When I started thinking about this, I liked the juxtaposition between what Finishing Schools once were, compared to what women really need now; not because we need finishing, but because we’re never finished. We offer a wide variety of classes, based on feminine perspectives, all with a creative twist. While the classes are designed for women, all genders are welcome at the Finishing School for Modern Women.
Our co teachers are experts in their field, and include therapists, career counselors, organizational specialists and other professionals. To keep things fun and interesting, classes are interactive and discussion based, using adult learning techniques to make the experience more meaningful. Each class has an icon, we make into collectable “badges,” and award during a graduation ceremony at the end of class.
These are not your grandmother’s etiquette classes. My goal in the Finishing School for Modern Women is to empower women of all ages to come together to learn from each other through open, candid conversations. To pass on the skills women need to claim their power to live a happier and more successful life. To help women realize more confidence through knowledge that comes from community and shared experiences. For Modern Women to find their authentic selves and never finish the search for self-realization.
Thank you for helping make this dream come true,