YWL inspires students to lead with purpose


H. Emerson

Current members of YWL gather from across the district to discuss women’s issues.

Caroline Sears, Editor in Chief

As Fossil Ridge High School returns to a full in-person schedule, many clubs and organizations are still working to return to a much-desired sense of normalcy.

Young Women in Leadership saw this as an opportunity to grow.

YWL is an organization created through Futures Lab that aims to encourage and educate young women throughout all of Poudre School District. Despite the setbacks that everyone faced last year, YWL still saw remarkable participation through virtual meetings and summits but is looking for more members as they return to in-person events.

Heather Emerson teaches Networking and Cybersecurity classes with PSD’s Futures Lab, and decided to start YWL in hopes of helping women with problems that she had experienced firsthand with sexism and misogyny. But it is more than just that, Emerson stated, “additionally, I see a need for young women to develop healthy boundaries around their time, their personal space, and their social relationships,”

Ultimately, YWL hopes to create a sense of solidarity for women in leadership roles. “Women need a community to know they are not alone and to learn how to overcome challenges together,” said Emerson.

Emerson does not remember having a safe space like this when she was in school, so she hopes to help young women to “develop their leadership skills and voice,” and to learn about women’s issues, many of which go undiscussed. 

“For example, one concern is the lack of female voices in top management positions. Only 7.4% of CEOS in the Fortune 500 are female. We still have a long way to go,” she stated.

Another goal for YWL is to inspire young women to go into careers they are passionate about, by hosting guest speakers from the community and around the world, the YWL Winter Summit last year was able to do just that. The virtual meeting hosted coders, television producers, pilots, and more women to discuss what they are passionate about and how they were able to achieve their career goals.

Raegan Mossel represents Fossil on the YWL leadership team. As a member of the leadership team, she ensures the events and meetings will be purposeful and is motivated by her gratitude to the community of strong women YWL has created.

This organization focuses on providing a safe space for young women to grow in their leadership skills. (http://www.youngwomeninleadership.com/)

Mossel thanks YWL for countless connections, both professionally and with peers. “I am grateful this organization is district-wide, otherwise I would not have met many of these amazing young women. The experience and knowledge I have gained is invaluable,” stated Mossel.

The organization is still finalizing the service projects they will commit to this year, but plan to work with organizations that help women in need, whether it be supporting women facing breast cancer, survivors of domestic violence, survivors of human trafficking, or sexual assault.

And when it comes to potential members, Mossel stated, “I can assure them they will be welcomed and of course have some fun,”.

“We encourage anyone to join who finds value in developing leadership skills, connecting with community leaders, learning about women’s issues, and hoping to meet students from the other high schools,” said Emerson. There are many ways to get involved, visit YWL’s website for more information.

Note: The writer is an active member of YWL.