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HerTomorrow offers tools for empowering women

HerTomorrow offers tools for empowering women

HerTomorrow challenges women to think about the ways they lead their lives

February 24th, 2018 by Philip Joens in Local News

Chelsea Davis, owner and operator of Root Cellar and area farmer, addresses a small audience at the HerTomorrow conference Friday at Capitol Plaza Hotel.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

A Mid-Missouri organization offered women tools to become empowered Friday morning.

Based in Columbia, the HerTomorrow speaker series challenges women to think about the ways they lead their lives and ways they can improve their place in the world. About 50 people showed up to hear from a series of Jefferson City area speakers who discussed topics ranging from conquering depression to building businesses.

Organizer Adonica Coleman said she wanted women with diverse backgrounds to talk about their own experiences and things they use in their daily lives.

"The goal is to empower women," Coleman said. "I think that's what's happening. That's great."

Women at the event talked about ways other parts of the world view time and the workplace. Others discussed working at the Missouri State Capitol and being prepared for a divorce.

Lisa Carel works as an interpreter for deaf students and told the crowd about her battles with anxiety, depression and illegal drugs. Women must work with other women to move mountains in the world, she said.

"It's time for all these women to align forces to empower each other," Carel said. "To give each other strength when you're down, to be each other's voice when you're feeling scared."

Dana Rademan Miller works as a deputy clerk for the Missouri House of Representatives. Men dominate representation in the state House. Of 163 members, just 36 members — 22 percent — are women. In Missouri's Senate, women fill just seven of 34 seats.

Rademan Miller said it can be challenging for women to work in male-dominated places.

"The numbers are growing, but we're still under-represented," she said of the General Assembly. "The ladies that work and serve as members are very dedicated and very hard-working."

Kolbi Ward, Jefferson City Country Club assistant director, said people must fail before they learn how to succeed.

"Failures and self-doubt are enemies of self-esteem, but so necessary," Ward said. "This is what is going to cause drive; it's going to cause you to learn and try harder."

Even when people fail, they should be happy with their work and use everything as a learning experience, Ward said.

To build better lives and relationships, people should make time for simple things, she added. Simply cooking meals at home and spending 30 minutes per day making and eating dinner leads to fewer divorces for people who do it, she said, and better home lives also lead to better job performance.

In 2015, Tina Casagrand founded "The New Territory," a quarterly magazine highlighting life in the lower Midwest. Casagrand said society expects women to be perfect but they should also fail at times.

"We are expected to be right and not work our way through it," Casagrand said. "But we're failing forward; we're failing at something worthwhile."

Casagrand said she had an epiphany while camping on an island in the Missouri River, which drove her to start the magazine that still drives her to show people elegant parts of nature and the Midwest.

She told the crowd it's important to recruit many diverse voices in their businesses.

"It's only going to make your business stronger," Casagrand said. "It just makes people happier."

In 2011, Chelsea Davis and her husband purchased Root Cellar at 1005 Park Ave. in Columbia. The store, which sells local and farm-fresh food, later expanded by adding a location at 306 E. High St. in Jefferson City.

Davis said she wants to educate people about where their food comes from.

"If you, like me, want to change the food system, make positive choices that impact the farmer and the marketplace," Davis said.

HerTomorrow held its first event last September in Columbia. After the Jefferson City event, the organization hopes to hold similar events in St. Louis, Chicago and Kansas City.