The Impact Of The Empowerment Project On Their Young Mentees:Huge!

Rhonda Stovall

Let me start off by introducing myself, my name is Rhonda Stovall, and I am 21 years old. Next year in May I will be graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Cinema Art & Science at Columbia College Chicago. My plan is to move to LA, in hopes of becoming a Film/TV producer. I first heard about “The Empowerment Project” through a friend that worked with Sarah in the past. She sent me over information that they were looking for market interns and description on the project. I was instantly on broad with this project when I read these words on the computer screen: “ALL FEMALE FILM CREW!”

I didn’t know who these women were just yet (Sarah and Dana), but I knew they had to be something special to want an all female crew! Promoting for the project began in late March and ended on May 27th. Those few months of promoting and fundraising for “The Empowerment Project” were the highlight of my life! The internship was all the time you wanted to invest into it. All Sarah asked, that you would take 1 hour out of your day to search, talk, email etc. to people that you thought would have interest in the project. Last, you would report back to her at the end of the week on what you did. I found myself spending up to 3 hours if not more just searching for different blogs so Sarah could reach out to them.

I couldn’t believe all the different blogs I stumbled upon. They all dealt with women empowerment and different call of actions to uplift women. I felt empowered just by reading and searching their pages. The most exciting part was watching the number of donations rise day by day! It was such achievement and thrill to see when “The Empowerment Project” reached its end goal! I never felt so accomplished in my life then I did the day that happened! I was apart of something that is going to be phenomenal and shine a light on women in different careers not just my own; it’s a great feeling! A big part of me never wanted it to end because I loved it so much, but all good things have to come to an end right?

Now let’s get to the part when I was a mentee for the day! The crew came to my beautiful homeland Chicago aka the Windy City! I couldn’t wait to join them on set and finally meet the other 3 girls Ashley, Vanessa & Alana! Being on set with the Heartfelt ladies was an awesome experience. The project was finally coming to life, and I was here helping in on the action. Dana and Ashley talked to me about the art of interviewing someone and making them feel relaxed, which worked out nicely in Katherine Darnstadt’s interview. Great job Dana! I could have stayed on set all day, just learning, watching, and helping them.

The crew brings class, positivity, and heart to the project. All three of these things a dedicated woman should have when pursuing her dreams. I am one of the few lucky girls that got a chance of a lifetime to help an incredible movement being formed that is “The Empowerment Project!” My dream for this project is that it will inspire girls/women to journey on and pursue theirs dreams without self-doubt, even if it is male dominated field. Like my mentor Sarah Moshman said, “Say you’re dreams out aloud.”

Thank You Heartfelt for inspiring and allowing me to be apart of your journey it was an honor! Sending love and complete success to Sarah, Dana, Alana, Ashley & Vanessa….Xoxo!

You can connect with Rhonda on Facebook, or Twitter: @Rhonda154


Rachel Outen

I almost didn’t make it to the Empowerment Project shoot in Charlotte, but I’m glad I did. That’s the curse of having a crappy car and living far away from the city I suppose. After a nail biting drive with my sputtering car, I was greeted in the parking lot of the set location by five beautiful young women. I thought: “Wow, for being on the road for a month they sure do look great!” After a few hiccups (hey, it’s film) we arrived at our new location to shoot an interview with the lovely Molly Barker. I wasn’t quite sure what I should do at first, but gradually started becoming more comfortable with the environment and the familiar pace of being on set.

However, something was different. I felt comfortable around everyone there, like I was a part of this group I had met 30mins ago. Then it hit me, I had never been on set with only females. I never realized how much more relaxing it was, after all, we ALL had something in common.

After all the equipment was set up and ready to go the interview started. I did not expect to relate a lot with Molly, after all she started a foundation that involves physical exercise(not exactly my thing). I had yet to realize what the Empowerment Project was really about until I heard this interview. This was not a story about what she does, it was about who she is. In fact, it’s about what every women has the potential to be; something awesome. As I listened to Sarah interview Molly, and saw everyone else’s reactions, I could not help but wonder if they realized how great each and every one of them are. This isn’t just a crazy road trip interviewing ladies across the country, this is something special. This is something that most people wouldn’t push themselves to actually do, but rather let it fester in their mind as this “great idea I once had”.

I after the interview was over I tagged along with the girls for lunch. It was nice to hear about their road trip adventures and get to know a little more about them. However, one of the best things is that all of them seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. They asked me questions, gave me advice, and even offered their help. This was a pleasant and welcome change to the usual “every man for himself” attitude I see in a lot of people.

They all made me believe that I can do this and be a successful woman in this industry. I see now that nothing is out of my reach and that even though I am a girl in a male dominated world, that should be my asset, not my flaw.

That day was full of inspiration. It’s easy to get discouraged at times, and it’s wonderful to have something to inspire you to keep pushing yourself. Thank you to all the girls on the Heartfelt Productions team for letting be a part of this.

Rachel Outen is a 22 year old filmmaker from Charlotte NC. She has earned her BFA from the Art Institute of Charlotte. She has a love for the natural world and documentary style film making.


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