I would like to introduce you to one of my new financial literacy friends, Sheena Williams. Sheena is the young woman behind SheWill, Inc., an organization dedicated to preparing young girls for "successful, career oriented futures free from debt and irresponsible financial decisions." I originally met Sheena on Twitter, but since she is in the Atlanta area, we have met for breakfast several times and have become good friends. Sheena is truly passionate about teaching financial literacy to young girls and this passion shines through in her work.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background? My name is Sheena Williams. I graduated with a MBA from Keller Graduate School of Management in 2010. My professional experience began in Accounting 9 years ago as I excel in Mathematics and Finances. My personal life revolves around spirituality, family, friends, and inevitable greatness.
What is SheWill, Inc.? SheWill, Inc. is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization dedicated to educating young girls, ages 8-17, on the importance of financial literacy and career empowerment. We use research-based literature in our interactive sessions to teach both fundamental and in-depth financial responsibilities. We have programs that teach saving, giving, budgeting, credit, credit reports, comparison shopping, investing, workforce readiness and career preparedness skills, as well as a plethora of other necessary life skills.
What inspired you to start SheWill, Inc.? I was personally affected by the economic recession. Being laid-off from 3 jobs in 2 years really places a strong emphasis on the importance of financial management skills. I realized I had not been educated on taking the proper precautions when dealing with drastic changes in your finances. Statistics show 2 out of 3 women ages 18-35 feel they do not have enough financial education. I wanted to change this statistic and help young girls avoid some of the financial mistakes I made. Irresponsible financial decisions could potentially paralyze a young girl’s future. If they receive the necessary education early on, they will fully equipped to take on financial responsibilities.
What successes have you seen with the girls that have been through the SheWill program? Just the satisfaction in knowing they are interested and eager to learn. The material we created is fun and interactive so they are excited to participate. Being able to deliver life changing programs that excite our audience is one of our greatest accomplishments. The look on a girls face when she is able to explain to her parents why budgeting and preparing for income changes affects the entire family is nothing shy of amazing. I’m honored and proud because I know our programs are effective.
How did your parents teach you about financial management? My father practices excellent financial management skills. He’s an extreme saver and leads by demonstration. Since I was a young girl my Dad always emphasized the importance of money management. It impacted my life and I learned, through error, how important it is. My mother lives a life of philanthropy and service. Often times, people don’t understand the importance of philanthropic work and the impact it has on our futures. I learned that “giving” is a lifestyle and ultimately plays a part in my purpose of sheer existence.
What financial skills do you think are lacking in today’s youth? I am a firm believer in delayed gratification. Young girls are enticed by glamour and trends. If they understood the benefits of comparison shopping and budgeting they will be less susceptible to spending on fads and making unnecessary purchases.
Where do you see She Will in five years? 20 years? In five years we will have exposure to young girls nationwide. Our programs will be implemented in public and private schools throughout the United States. In 20 years we want to be a household name like Girls Scouts and Pepsi. The government, education systems, and general public will make provisions for the implementation of financial education for everyone in hopes of empowering the future generation to become financially responsible.
How can readers get more information about SheWill? Our website www.shewill.org, follow us on twitter @SheWill_Inc , like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/shewillinc