Girl’s career conference Jan. 23

High school girls have the opportunity to learn about career opportunities, meet professional role models, create achievable goals, and learn how to turn failure into success at the free “Dream It - Be It” conference, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m., Jan. 23, at the Oakhurst Community Center.

The conference targets high school girls and will prepare them to face obstacles they may encounter in the future. Sponsored by Soroptimist International of the Sierras, 50 freshman-through-senior students will have the opportunity to learn life skills and hear from successful professional women from the Mountain Area.

The speakers and topics include:

*  Susan Nobles (educator and professional speaker): Discovering Your Dreams and Exploring Careers.

*  Heather Sconce (Sierra Pines Church performing arts director and actress): Turning Failure into Success.

*  Linda Newton (empowerment educator): Rising Above Obstacles.

*  Candice McAleavey (Kaiser Permanente health educator): Balancing Your Stress.

*  Kaci Lutz (California Highway Patrol training and public information officer): Rising Above Obstacles.

*  Laura Zabicki (Award-winning baker and owner of Sweet Dreams Cakery): Will speak and give a cupcake decorating demonstration.

*  Vikki Piper (college economics professor): Putting Dreams into Action.

Co-chairs of the event are Soroptimist members Michele Shockley (Kaiser Permanente physical therapy assistant), and Nikki Van Velson (franchise development, Pizza Factory Inc.).

“We are looking forward to our first ‘Dream It - Be It’ conference, and are thrilled with the response we are getting from the community and the high school girls,” Shockley said. “Our wish is that they come away from this event with some new personal goals to work toward, with some newly-made friends, and with memories of a really fun day."

Van Velson said the program was developed by Soroptimist International of the Americas and is designed to help high school girls explore various career options, learn the importance of positive self esteem, and help them learn how to manage stress.

“The Soroptimist mission is to focus on improving the lives of women and girls, and we believe the ‘Dream It - Be It’ conference is an extension of that goal,” Van Velson said.

Soroptimist President Dannie Forbes said she is proud of Shockley, Van Velson and the entire club for embracing the conference to help young girls prepare for their future careers.

“The conference will help girls grow up to be strong, successful, happy adults,” Forbes said.

Attendees will be served breakfast and lunch at the event. Registration and breakfast will be held 8 - 8:45 a.m.

All attendees will receive a resource guide for continued guidance and mentorship at the end of the day.

Registration form and parental consent forms can be found at

Details: Nikki Van Velson (559) 760-1493, Michele Shockley (559) 658-1803.