Giving Compass' Take:

• In this Americans for the Arts blog, the President and CEO of United Arts of Central Florida discusses the importance of female changemakers-of-the-future learning how to stop apologizing and start discovering empowerment from within.

• There is also an emphasis on mentorship in this piece. Which programs will help train women leaders from a young age to believe in themselves and push for gender equity?

• Many women leaders are on the rise in places you might not expect.

I enrolled in graduate school 10 years after college! I had been a double major in art and modern languages — which did not prepare me for the type of complex, business oriented work I ended up doing in my first job working for an LAA in Houston. I was accepted into a one-year intensive double Master’s Program in Business & Arts Administration at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. At the time, I had two toddlers under the age of 3. Imagine: Arts major, taking Managerial Accounting, Statistics, Economics, and Finance within the first 6 months of the program. It was the hardest thing I ever did, and the best thing I ever did.

Fast forward to a view from a women’s leadership perspective, and there are so many situations that continue to repeat themselves no matter how far we’ve come. I still find that women have difficulty being heard — the old story: a woman makes a key point in a group meeting, nobody reacts; a man follows with the same point and everyone thinks it’s a good idea. I’ve seen savvy women handle that one by circling back and thanking the man for reiterating her point. Women often get rolled over by men in discussions because they are bigger, louder, more aggressive where women tend to be more deferential ... The first step in women becoming leaders is empowering themselves to be leaders.

Read the full article about women leaders and empowerment by Flora Maria Garcia at Americans for the Arts.