Women of Worth kicks off new support group for female students

Over 90 women attended the inaugural W.O.W. meeting.

Faculty advisors Joanitha Barnes, Chateeka Farris, Arnitria Taylor, LaMecia Freeman and Valetta Brinson established Women of Worth to uplift, empower and support female students.

More than 90 women attended a brunch in the Bert Bornblum Library Art Gallery on the Macon Campus last month to launch Southwest’s newest student organization—Women of Worth or WOW.  The attendees learned how they can get involved with the new peer group for women students at Southwest.

Interim Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services Department Chair Joanitha Barnes is the new group’s advisor and is excited about the launch. “The purpose of WOW is to uplift, empower and support female students at Southwest,” she said. “WOW is here to provide them resources and a layer of support they may not have elsewhere.”

Barnes says organizers spoke to several female faculty and staff who agreed that programs for women on campus are lacking. “The women we talked to felt our female students are somewhat neglected,” Barnes said. “There are organizations for the student male population, but there are not any directly related to female students.”

Dr. Dorothy Thomas, a behavioral health expert, author and motivational speaker, delivered the keynote address. She encouraged the women to think like a queen. “You are all queens,” Thomas said. “A queen is not afraid of taking risks and failing in order to achieve success. A queen is a woman of power, beauty, and internal and external wealth. She makes effective and critical decisions. When you understand that you are a queen, then you do not fool yourself.”

Thomas reminded the women they are intelligent and fearless, and urged them to never take no for an answer when it comes to their success. “Never take a back seat, ladies,” Thomas said. “You are doing this in a man’s world, in a man’s environment, doing a man’s thing. But guess what? You are women. You are powerful. You are sensitive. You are compassionate. No man should dictate anything to you.”

WOW advisors and members will serve as mentors and host seminars and workshops on topics such as entrepreneurship, financial literacy, domestic violence awareness, dressing for success, and healthy relationships. “We want to provide students with opportunities to gain the knowledge they need that will help them beyond their academic life at Southwest,” said Barnes.

Students who want to join WOW or learn more or faculty and staff who want to serve as mentors may email Barnes at wow@southwest.tn.edu.


Keynote speaker Dr. Dorothy Thomas addresses attendees at the W.O.W. kickoff.

Keynote speaker Dr. Dorothy Thomas

Faculty advisors Joanitha Barnes, Chateeka Farris, Arnitria Taylor, LaMecia Freeman, and Valetta Brinson established Women of Worth to uplift, empower and support female students.

More than 90 women attended the inaugural WOW luncheon.