United Insurance is well known in Maine as a leading resource for protecting your family and property. But did you know we also play a significant role in community giving and development? In 2015 we helped to found what we hope will be an enduring program for young women in Maine, the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute. The organization’s mission is to elevate the confidence and aspirations of high school girls by helping them build the leadership, collaboration, and problem solving skills needed to become successful in their lives, families, careers, and communities. Studies reveal that between elementary and high school, a girl’s self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than boys. As early as middle school, girls are 25% less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead. With women comprising more than half of our population and workforce, every area of society benefits when women reach their full potential.

The Institute focuses on high school girls in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, and has designed a three-year program around the themes My Values, My Voice, and My Vision. Participants remain in the program for three years.

The program kicked off last year with seven girls selected from each of the seven high schools in Androscoggin County. The first meeting, a one day intensive, brought all the girls and advisors together with many incredible speakers. The advisors and girls meet monthly to further develop the curriculum. Carol Clark, Marketing Director and Office Manager of our Portland office, is an advisor to the seven girls at Poland High School and shares this responsibility with Kim Preble of the United Way Oxford County.

“I am in awe. The girls are so enthusiastic, open, and grateful. The advisors are women from leading companies and organizations throughout the state who have made a three-year commitment to share their strengths, talents, and networks to help these young women grow to their full potential. I can honestly say I get more then I give and I’m truly blessed to be part of the program and proud that United Insurance is a founder,” says Clark.

The institute’s namesake, Olympia Snowe, stated, “My hope is that the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute helps more young women find their voice and a path to reach their full potential. With guidance and encouragement from successful women leaders, I know we can help unlock the doors to the amazing futures that await them.”

This year, the program will grow to include additional counties and high schools throughout the state, opening up opportunities to more young women in Maine. As the flagship 10th grade class moves into its second year, new sophomores will take their place as the second class of inductees at the Institute. To learn more or to donate to the cause visit http://snoweleadershipinstitute.org/.


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