We want girls to own their experiences, understand their purpose, so when they get up in the morning, they can be leaders in their own lives. They need to express themselves and find their own leadership voices.
When Antoinette Klatzky '08 helped found the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute in 2010, she led a seven-day program for a dozen teenage girls in Westchester County, N.Y. Six years later, about 120 participants learned leadership skills over seven weeks. Programs in Washington, D.C., and Seattle will launch this year.
Now Klatzky is moving beyond the United States to empower young women. In January, she spent three weeks in India and Japan expanding her work. In India, she helped strengthen leadership capacity among handloom weavers in a program developed by the Eileen Fisher Community Foundation, named for the CEO of the women's clothing company.
In Japan, she laid the foundation for expansion of her work with young women and leadership, in an initiative funded by the U.S.-Japan Foundation and the Eileen Fisher program.
"We want girls to own their experiences, understand their purpose, so when they get up in the morning, they can be leaders in their own lives," says Klatzky, of Tarrytown, N.Y. "They need to express themselves and find their own leadership voices."
Heading the institute is the latest stop in Klatzky's career in community leadership. Her efforts began in high school with the YWCA, then gained traction at Bucknell, where she worked with other students to develop a series of forums about diversity on campus. After graduating with a degree in geography, she organized a nonprofit organization for the White Plains YWCA, then worked at Sarah Lawrence College's office of community partnerships, helping to develop service-learning programs for undergraduates.
She also joined the board of the Westchester Women's Agenda, a coalition of suburban nonprofits that focuses on raising public funds for organizations that serve women and children.
"Those women on the board with me have become role models," she says. "It's helped me recognize the importance of community — that no one person can do it alone."