The Blueprint

Empowered grads give tips to success

Reporter 2014

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Despite historical progression in women’s roles in society, various challenges continue obstructing women from reaching their full potential. Nevertheless, many female Chatard graduates have been empowered to do great things after high school.

One of these women is Beth Reed, ’06 graduate, who has taken on a life of leadership after graduation. Reed graduated from the Naval Academy in 2010 and is currently a Surface Warfare Naval Officer stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She is the Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer and boarding officer on the USS Chung-Hoon.
Reed cites role models such as parents and coaches as helping empower her to reach this goal and become a role model herself. “A positive role model in a coach can bring out a passion or a determination in a young athlete that can change the way he or she acts for the better,” she said.

Another leading alumna is Janet Sahm, ’06 graduate and co-founder of Verily magazine. Early in her career, Sahm recognized a problem with women’s magazines. “I’ve always been interested in fashion as something really wonderful and beautiful and good for women, but I didn’t really see that happening in the culture and in the media,” she said.
So, three years ago she came up with the idea for Verily magazine with the intent of leaving women “feeling empowered and uplifted in the truest sense” after reading it. The magazine has fashion, relationship, lifestyle and culture sections, similar to other women’s magazines, but uses various model sizes, does not alter images and avoids degrading women with its pieces.

Just as Sahm uses her talents to try to improve the lives of others, Natalie Lorenzano, ’10 graduate and biology major at Indiana University, focuses on putting others first in her life. Lorenzano displayed her passion for helping others by winning the Miss Greek IU philanthropic pageant in March.

Emphasizing that the pageant was not a beauty pageant, Lorenzano said, winning the competition was a combination of “just working hard and being myself…and just having an actual drive for philanthropy.”

Pageant contestants won points based on fundraising, interview and competition components of the competition. The event raised over $40,000 for more than 20 organizations including The V Foundation for Cancer Research and Lorenzano individually raised over $2,000.

Like Reed, Lorenzano pointed to role models as her inspiration, particularly her Delta Phi sorority sisters who had previously competed in the competition. “Seeing how these women made such a big impact on their philanthropies was just amazing,” she said.

Taking on such large leadership roles requires empowerment. For women, Lorenzano said that being empowered means “knowing that we (women) can do anything we want, anything we set our minds to. If there is something that you want to do…you can absolutely do it.” Following graduation, Lorenzano will attend IU Dental School.

Sahm said that finding empowerment in today’s society can be difficult because so many expectations are placed upon women to be the best – in the mirror, in the workplace, in relationships and more. She said, “If we equate our worth with how we look or how we’re climbing a career ladder, that’ll never be enough, so it’s just a perpetual cycle of insecurity.”

Instead of looking for acceptance and approval from others, Sahm suggests looking to friends and faith to remain focused on real goals and to discover one’s true value. “No one’s perfect,” she said. “But if you can help each other in fighting for the good or fighting for your true passions and desires, that makes all the difference.”

Lorenzano summed up the potential of all women in today’s society. “Every single woman can be a leader, every single woman has confidence. We all have our different strengths and different passions, and if you rock them, then you are empowering to other women.” by Erin Crone

Other empowered grads (mentioned by Bishop Chatard faculty):

Dr. Mary Wagner Fuhs (’02) – Professor, University of Dayton

Theresa Krier (’01) – Entrepreneur, founder of Big T NYC Couture Teas

Kim Tyler (’07) – PhD candidate in chemistry

Dr. Betsy Groves-Egan, (’96) –  Ophthalmologist, and travels annually to third world countries to provide free cataracts surgery.
Julie (Sullivan) Schnieders, (’75) – in charge of the St. Vincent’s Women’s Center in Carmel and the spokesperson for St. Vincent’s 4Her hotline.

Know of other empowered graduates? Please contact Tracy Luke, publications adviser, at t[email protected]