ST. GEORGE — Although the shoes may be hard to fill, the new director of St. George’s Women’s Influence Center said she will strive to provide consistency of vision and a passion to make a difference in helping Southern Utah women succeed.
Two years ago Amber Murray began her business See Your Strength, mirror decals for mental health. The genesis of the business arose during a moment of crisis.
According to her business website, about five years ago Murray was suicidal, having been a child of all forms of abuse and knowing what it felt like to feel worthless.
It was in her darkest time that she reached for a bar of soap and wrote “Step into your life” across her face in the bathroom mirror.
That moment changed her life forever.
“At that time I hadn’t been talking very nicely to myself,” Murray told St. George News. “Seeing nice words associated with my image helped me reframe how I felt about myself, which took me down a different trajectory.”
She continued writing messages on her mirror for years and learned the power of self-compassion through changing the language she used with herself daily.
Having worked in schools, she recognized that this valuable skill was not being taught. It was here she began a journey to produce decals that could be placed on mirrors and other surfaces in K-12 schools, universities and hospitals as an inspirational tool to teach self-compassion.
“I want people to see the good in themselves when they are looking in the mirror,” Murray said.
This is a mission Murray hopes to bring to her new role with the St. George Women’s Influence Center, taking over for outgoing director Pam Palermo. Murray said the center is more than just fostering the growth of women entrepreneurs in the area; the organization is about empowering all women to triumph in life.
“The center includes business endeavors, but it also includes community connections as well as support and resources for women who are going through issues during any phases of their lives,” Murray said. “It could involve training to have a more leadership position in their company or helping a stay-at-home mom who isn’t sure about becoming employed.”
It is not about productivity, Murray added, it’s about the woman as a whole.
Murray has been involved with the center since it opened in 2017. She said it’s a great honor to become the next woman taking over its leadership.
“Without this organization, I hadn’t had many friends in St. George,” Murray said. “Through the center, I was able to make connections and surround myself with the kind of women who were doing great things. It’s wonderful to have that tribe around you who are supporting you. You don’t realize that can change things for you.”
Murray added that it is some important for anyone, especially women, to know they are not alone on an island.
“I will actually get to talk to them and be part of this world in a different way than a co-worker or family member would have the chance,” Murray said. “There is something about the power of women coming together and really supporting each other.”
The center embraces women, holistically supporting and promoting women’s personal, professional and leadership development so that every woman can transition from where she is now to where she aspires to be.
As a nonprofit foundation under the umbrella of the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce, the center works collaboratively with local and state organizations to complement current efforts and fill gaps.
Home-grown programming, the chamber’s networking capacity and collaboration ensure relevant and timely information, training and resources are available to all women in Southern Utah and the companies and organizations that support them.
The center’s objective is to build a strong community of collaboration with local and state organizations that promote women regardless of race, color, creed, age, national origin, citizenship status, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, partnership status, family status or income.
“I am very passionate about women, but I also want my efforts not only to revolve around them but also include men in the conversation,” Murray said. “But for women, sometimes it’s hard to know where to get involved.”
Though someone might have many talents and ideas, she added, it is often hard to find the resources at a grassroots level to mature and grow those talents. And as a woman, this can be especially difficult given the tendency of some women to knock each other down, more critical of efforts than successes.
“We judge each other so harshly and in turn look at ourselves with such high expectations,” she said. “We tend to assign value systems to our lives, external things that we are doing, and as women, we beat ourselves over that.”
However, Murray said she wants to make sure the St. George Women’s Influence Center is place “where everyone is accepted.”
“It’s my hope the center will continue to be a place where it is not about (me) but a place where it is about people first.”
Her vision for 2020 is simple: growth.
“We will be doing a lot of community-based networking and outreach,” Murray said. “We want to continue to make the organization open to everyone. We are excited to focus on really opening it up and bring more people to see where we can go when we all come together.”
Currently, the center has four positions on its board open for applications from women and men. For more information call 435-628-1658.
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