Every "girl mom" should know a mentor like Kath Keen.
I have known Kath as colleague, collaborator, and friend. But years into our friendship, I am still blown away by her passion for teens, and her wisdom when it comes to building confidence in our daughters.
Kath recently left our beloved Fountain Valley School to head up to Denver, where she runs Wide Awake Teens, a life coaching program especially for teen girls and women. I asked Kath to be a part of my "Girl Power October" features, and was just blown away by the insight she shared with her answers. I found myself taking notes while reading them, knowing that as a mom with a teen daughter, the tips and resources Kath shared would be GREAT for my girl.
See for yourself!
Allow me to introduce you to Kath Keen, confidence builder and girl empowerer!
1. Share your story with us. How did you arrive at Wide Awake Teens and your Life Coaching journey?
First, the story of the name for my business - Wide Awake comes from a line in a song we sing at the summer camp I went to - and I also love the idea of being "wide awake" and present in our lives. My path has been a little circuitous, but there are a few things that have always been a part of it - teenagers and female mentorship! I was fortunate, and attended both an all girls school and an all girls summer camp growing up (all girls all the time!) and that is where I developed my deep belief in the power of female relationships and mentorship. I spent a long time in education in many roles and always found that the one-on-one "life" conversations I had with students were my favorite, which is how I ended up in school counseling for many years.
My current role as teen life coach at Wide Awake is similar to counseling with a more future oriented, client empowering focus, and more commitment from the client and family. My coaching business has also allowed me to focus on teen girls and young women, which is the best! I believe every teen girl can use someone who is not a parent to work through some of life's challenges and I love when I have the opportunity to be that person for a young woman. I wasn't sure how I was going to target this population until I found Teen Wisdom, Inc - an amazing training program I did that is just for coaches who want to work with teen girls and young women! Now I focus on coaching individual teen girls and also do group work on any of the top issues teen girls face - i.e. identity, friendships, academic challenges, social media overload. It is fun and challenging work and I feel like I have an opportunity to make a great impact on a lot of young women.
2. What would you say is your mission in your business (and maybe in life)?
My primary mission is to help teen girls and young women be more confident from the inside out, without always worrying about what everyone else thinks. Girls' confidence peaks around 5th grade and then starts declining - a trend I want to help shift! All of the work I do centers around empowering girls to know themselves, understand their purpose and honor the person they are so they can align their beliefs with their actions and lead amazing lives! I hope to be a model for teen girls by always working on myself and showing them it's okay to be playful...even when you are old! The other mission I have is to help build bridges between parents and their teen daughters. I love seeing how my work with a teen girl can open doors for more communication with her parents.
3. What do you think is one important KEY to empowering our daughters, in particular teen and tween girls?
Help your daughter find ways to be herself and take risks. Taking risks (healthy ones!) builds confidence. Failing and facing challenges are a great way for your daughter to become more resilient and boost her self-esteem - such important qualities as she goes out into the real world. Let her know you are always there - because everyone needs a safety net.
4. Might you have ONE TIP that you could share with moms out there who want to empower and build up their teen daughters?
Really try and understand your daughter and the unique person she is. Honor that person and help her understand her strengths and develop them. Listen listen listen. Usually teen girls want to try and solve problems on their own, but they want to process things with a trusted adult. Encourage her to figure out how to handle situations on her own and ask her good questions...but not too many....and not right when she gets home from school!
5. Could you share A FAVORITE RESOURCE with our girl moms? (a favorite book, podcast, speaker, camp, program...)
So many good resources out there!!
BOOK: Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood by Lisa Damour.
SPEAKER/ORGANIZATION: Rachel or Simone from Girls Leadership. They do a great presentation called "Raising Resilient Girls" and also have other programs and workshops.
SUMMER CAMP: I think an all girls camp is one of the best experiences you can give a girl these days - anything to get a break from the social media! There are a lot of great ones - the one I went to (Camp Onaway) is a 7-week very traditional camp in NH. Clearly biased, but I think it's the best!
Didn't I tell you? Isn't she just fantastic? Seriously, this woman lives to serve other women, and I am so lucky to know her!
And now, so are you!
You can find Kath over at Wide Awake Teens, where she serves as a life coach for teen girls and women. Or you can comment below to connect further with her.
Thank you, Kath, for being part of Girl Power October!
And for you, my friends, come back next Monday. I have another great lady to introduce you to- this time I'll have a former student, who has now become teacher to girls everywhere- including me!