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What does it mean to Live Fearless? Facing challenges bravely and confidently? Taking on a new adventure?  

There are many ways to Live Fearless and 40 girls were recently challenged by this concept at the LPGA Leadership Academy in Pine Needles, NC.

Leadership starts with mentorship 

The LPGA Leadership Academy presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina took place on July 24 and 25. Forty young females, ages 14-17, attended the academy and represented 15 counties in North Carolina.

The LPGA Leadership Academy uses golf to provide a framework for young women to develop their confidence, communication, and leadership skills. This action-oriented program helps girls discover their unique strengths and leadership style with group exercises, expert-led discussions, journaling and interaction with female executives and mentors.

When I think back on my life between the ages of 14-17, it was a time of growth, confusion, and the beginning of deciding what kind of woman I wanted to be. It is a time in life where you face insecurities and many temptations as the joys of your teenage years are thrown at you.

Teaching collaboration through teamwork 

Reflecting on these years, I realize the impact that sports had on my own confidence and leadership skills. It wasn’t about being the best at volleyball, golf, and softball in high school (I was Queen at getting awards like Most Improved or Coaches Award, not MVP). It was what I learned from working with a team, competing against others, and the skills that my coaches taught me. Watching these 40 girls at our Leadership Academy brought all of those memories back.

Two-time Olympic gold medalist, Women’s World Cup soccer champion and Blue Cross NC “Live Fearless” Brand Ambassador Mia Hamm, and twice LPGA Tour winner Laura Diaz.

One participant, Grace, shared insight into how golf has helped her leadership skills – “Golf has taught me so much about myself and has definitely helped me grow my confidence and leadership skills on and off the course. If I was to give advice to myself, I would say that if you believe in yourself, and you work hard, you can do anything you set your mind to. Always dream big, and never give up, even when you get frustrated or down at some points in your journey”.

The academy’s talented instructors, many who are golf professionals, gave their time to teach the girls about leadership and empowerment. An executive panel also shared their experiences with the girls. This “power panel” included Mia Hamm (two-time Women’s World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist) and Laura Diaz (two-time LPGA Tour winner). Mia shared, “You all have strength, beauty, and gifts – embrace that! Be proud of who you are and be okay being you.”

“I am beautiful, I am strong, I am fearless”

A participant named Sophie shared her sentiments about the panelists. “One the highlights of the academy were meeting a panel of incredibly successful women, including Laura Diaz and Mia Hamm. To hear valuable life lessons from them, such as being truly yourself and working through frustrations are things that I will remember for my entire life.”

It was an incredible two days watching the growth of the 40 girls. The first morning they were all quiet, unsure, and timid. By the end of the second day, you could feel the confidence and excitement in the room as the instructors sent the girls off to live confident and fearless lives.

I asked Sophie and Grace how they want to Live Fearless after this event – here is what they shared with me: 

LPGA Leadership Academy participant, Sophie, practices her putting.

Sophie said, “I want to Live Fearless by being completely who I am, without any fear of judgment or failure. Being around such strong successful women, even just for two days changed the way I look at myself for the better. I have started looking myself in the mirror every morning and instead of criticizing myself, I put my chin up and tell myself, I am beautiful, I am strong, I am fearless.” 

LPGA Leadership Academy participant, Grace, keeps her eye on the goal.

Grace said, “I would like to live fearless when I play golf, by not being afraid of executing shots that used to be difficult for me, but instead telling myself that I know I can do this, and I have what it takes to face hard situations. I also am going to live fearless by always taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to me, and not keeping myself from them with thoughts like ‘I am not good enough, smart enough, etc.’ I will instead be my own number one fan, and encourage myself to apply for that job, try that new skill, be a leader on my golf team, or in a school group project.”

We are proud to sponsor programs like the LPGA Leadership Academy that are challenging young North Carolinians to be leaders in their community. We look forward to seeing what these 40 young female leaders will achieve in their lifetime as they strive to Live Fearless.

For more information about the LPGA Leadership Academy, please click here.

 

Kristina Weatherly

About Kristina Weatherly

In May 2016, Kristina Weatherly came to BCBSNC’s Community Relations team after 7 seasons at the Carolina Hurricanes and 3 years at KaBOOM!. At BCBSNC, she helps engage employees in philanthropic activities throughout the state. She lives in Raleigh with her husband Chris. Fun fact, she has an identical twin named Molly – people are often disappointed Kristina’s name is not Holly for their rhyming entertainment.

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