We are proud to share that theStitch.com is teaming up with Microsoft–and a host of dynamic women leaders in the St. Louis community–to present an innovative and interactive workshop series designed to empower high school girls to embrace their own beauty while giving them the opportunity to dive further into the world of technology.
Each of the workshops will be held at the Microsoft Store located in the Galleria Mall. As a part of this new project, we’re showcasing interviews with several inspiring co-facilitators of the workshops. Next up, we spoke with Arika Parr, Community Development Specialist at Microsoft
In addition to Microsoft, Arika is a successful entrepreneur, having started a business focused on community engagement and outreach. As a part of theStitch, she wants to stand as a positive role model for the youth while investing in their future. For young entrepreneurs, she encourages dreamers to fight the fear of failing and pursue their passions. Parr also understands the value of self-love and, while it is an uphill battle, she continues to thrive in this world by changing her focus and being content with her best efforts.
“It’s important for girls to understand self-love because it protects them from all of the negativity that is thrown at them,” Parr says. “I got a lot of my self-love from the love my mother showed me and the confidence she gave me. She taught me to be proud of myself and to love myself.”
In the interview below, Parr talks about what it’s like to be a female working in technology, the challenges she’s faced, and how teenage girls can nurture their dreams and shoot for the stars.
Q: What made you decide to be a part of this project?
A: I am passionate about investing in youth. I want to be an example and resource to young people, to help them understand that we all have a journey; no one journey is better or worse than another, but it is ours to own.
Q: What were the biggest hurdles you faced as a female entrepreneur?
A: I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. As I grew my business, I had a big opportunity to soak it all in, lean in and figure out how to learn new tactics to succeed.
Q: What do you wish you’d known back then?
A: I wish that I didn’t worry so much. I was obsessed with being great at everything. I worried too much about failing and applied unnecessary pressure on myself.
Q: Any advice for teen girls interested in starting their own business?
A: Just try it! Don’t be afraid of failing. There are so many people who are willing to help. And consider this: failing is another opportunity to reinvent yourself into a better, more knowledgeable version of who you already are.
Q: What message do you want girls to take away from the EYOB workshops?
A: Confidence, compass/mission for where they are in life and the importance of making good choices.
Arika Parr, thank you for the interview. It’s going to be great working with you!
Photographs by Glennmade Studios
If you’d like to find out more about theStitch click here: theStitch.com
To find out how to be a part of theStitch EYOB Empowerment Workshops contact: StitchCharities.org