Stephanie Chafee

What wisdom do you offer to young women as they seek to find their own strength, power and confidence in the world?

How do you find strength, confidence and power in a world bombarded with conflicting and confusing messaging about women and our role in society? The truth is there is no magic bullet, no easy way to arrive at a place where you both embrace your power and use your strength and confidence to improve your own life as well as those of others. There are tools, though, that one can use to help get us where we want to go as women in 2013.

Very few people in the world are born leaders who possess confidence, strength and power. The rest of us have had to work at it to get there. One of the keys to affirming these characteristics in ourselves is the choices we make. Choice is very powerful. One has a choice each and every day, even multiple times a day, to define ourselves. We have a choice to be kind or mean, we have a choice to learn something new or not, we have a choice whether we will go to work or school – or not.

And the decisions we make determines, to a great extent, where we will go in life and whether we will find that inner strength, that confidence and power we all so want to enjoy.

Power, I believe, comes in too many forms to define. However, I think everyone has the capability to obtain the power of their destiny, power over their life and power to affect the world in constructive ways. Knowledge is the most important form of power, so I believe it is imperative to make the choice to learn. And with knowledge, so comes confidence.

There is a secret ingredient that helps propel one forward in all of these respects, and that is passion. When one follows a passion, it is extraordinary to see the results. I think that when a person is motivated by genuine dreams, he or she will make the confident, smart choices. Thus, I always support individuals who have passions, because above all else, they will be happy doing what they love.

Stephanie Chafee

First Lady Stephanie Chafee earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Boston University, a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Rhode Island. She is a registered nurse and was one of the first nurses in Rhode Island to work exclusively with HIV/AIDS patients. She helped found the Rhode Island Free Clinic in South Providence, which provides healthcare to the uninsured, and was featured as one of the “25 Models of Promise” in Shirley Sagawa’s The American Way to Change. She is a co-founder of Women Ending Hunger and a community health care advocate for all Rhode Islanders, particularly the less fortunate.

photo by Agapao Productions