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The Cowgirl Spirit

February 18, 2012 3 minute Read by Charity Wallace

On Wednesday night, the Women’s Initiative Fellows were introduced to a different type of female leader – the cowgirl.  At the National Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth, the Fellows had fun touring the museum and riding the mechanical bucking bronc, but most importantly they learned how the cowgirl spirit is as much a part of them as the women of Texas (and throughout America).  As Cowgirl Hall of Fame honoree Dale Evans said, “Cowgirl is an attitude, really.  A pioneer spirit, a special [American] brand of courage. The cowgirl faces life head on, lives by her own lights, and makes no excuses. Cowgirls take stands, they speak up. They defend things they hold dear.” The courageous Fellows truly possess the cowgirl spirit.  They are also living with the reality of another famous cowgirl motto, “saddle your own horse, because no one will do it for you”.  In other words, do not wait for someone else to help you succeed … you must do it yourself.  Through the programming of the Fellowship, the Fellows are learning to do just that. In Egypt, many women have had an opportunity to become educated or join the workforce, but it is not guaranteed that they will get the jobs or that their voice will be heard as strongly as their male counterparts.  The Fellowship Program is providing them with the tools to proactively and effectively lead change not only for themselves, but others around them. This week through courses at SMU, the women have learned to skillfully negotiate, lead and influence without authority, get their ideas heard, build effective teams, and create cultural change.  They plan to apply these tools to improve their personal and professional situations, but they also dream of making a significant contribution to their country. Egypt has a long and fascinating history, and the Fellows want the chance to help write this new chapter of Egyptian history. After spending the last five days with these remarkable women, I am certain they will get this chance. This post written by Charity Wallace, Director of the Women’s Initiative  at the George W. Bush Institute.   << Return to the Women’s Initiative Fellowship Program


Author

Charity Wallace
Charity Wallace

Charity N. Wallace serves as the Senior Advisor to the Women's Initiative at the George W. Bush Institute and is in an executive graduate program in pursuit of a Global Master of Arts degree in international relations from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Most recently, Ms. Wallace served as the Vice President of the Global Women’s Initiatives and Senior Advisor to Mrs. Laura Bush. In this role, Ms. Wallace was responsible for setting the vision and managing the policy engagement for the women’s initiatives, including Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon global health initiative, empowering women in the Middle East and working with First Ladies from around the world. The Women's Initiative aims to improve access to education, health care, and economic opportunity for women and children in Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.

From February 2009 through September 2010, Wallace served as the Chief of Staff to Mrs. Laura Bush.  Wallace oversaw Mrs. Bush’s initiatives - from her wide ranging policy agenda to her the publishing and promotion of Mrs. Bush’s bestselling book, Spoken from the Heart. Wallace served in the Bush Administration from January 2001 to January 2009.  During her tenure in the administration, she served as Deputy Chief of Protocol of the United States (2007-2009), Director of Advance for First Lady Laura Bush (2004-2007), and worked in public liaison positions in Presidential Advance, the U.S. Department of Education, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and USA Freedom Corps. During her tenure in the Bush Administration and in her current role, Wallace has traveled to 70 countries.

Ms. Wallace serves on the Board of Advisors for the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, the Advisory Board of ARZU Studio Hope, the Advisory Board of 4word Women and the Advisory Board of All In Together, an bi-partisan organization that promotes women’s engagement in political and civic life.  Ms. Wallace is an ex-officio member on the Human Freedom Advisory Council for the Bush Institute.  Ms. Wallace wrote the foreword for the book Work, Love, Pray, which was released in 2011. A native of California, Ms. Wallace graduated magna cum laude from Pepperdine University with a Bachelor of Arts in political science, with a focus in international relations. 

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