Women immigrant LEADers

Written by Daria Kurdyukova


Daria Kurdyukova

On April 20, 8 women from 5 different countries completed the most recent installment of New Women New Yorkers’ LEAD program. Most of the women who participated in the program — myself included — came to the US only a few months ago. If you’ve ever moved to another country, you can imagine what challenges they are facing every day.

The first word that my group learned and memorized was “empowered.” Yes, we are newly empowered immigrant women in New York. Let me introduce you to myself and one of my fellow LEAD participants.

I’m from Russia and have lived in a few different countries, including Russia, France, the UK, and the US. I worked as a journalist in Russia before moving to Paris where I studied for three years. Then, I met my husband in Paris and we moved to London, where I worked as a French and Russian teacher and wrote articles for Russian newspapers.

After London, my husband got a job in New York City, so I followed him. I’d never been to the United States.

I love to read and one of the first places I visited was the New York Public Library. One day I noticed an announcement about the LEAD program and contacted Arielle, NWNY’s founder. I was accepted!

I didn’t miss a single workshop. I’m really grateful to the founders of this program because I found my first friends in this new country! I also got information about the workplace in the United States, learned how to write an American resume and how to present myself on LinkedIn — I even learned how to dress for an interview.

I especially enjoyed the workshop about teamwork and our last activity during the session: One of us was sitting on a chair, facing away from the group, and the other participants had to loudly say positive things about the person.

The public speaking workshop was very helpful for me as well because it tested my confidence. In another workshop, Arielle asked us to write our goals on a piece of paper. It helped me a lot to organize my thoughts and think about what I want to do here.

After eight different workshops I can say that I am more confident and prepared to enter New York’s workplace.


Stefania, a Mexican immigrant and participant in the LEAD program.

Stefania, a proud Mexican, also participated in the same installment of the LEAD program. Her love for human diversity has given her the privilege to see the world with different perspective. She graduated college with a Bachelor of Science and worked for a few years at a German company until she decided to move her life in a different direction to pursue new opportunities and challenges. She believes that everything can be improved. 

Stefania decided to join the LEAD program because she was looking for opportunities to develop herself, not only professionally, but also emotionally and mentally.

“[In the LEAD program] I have learned to present myself confidently and accurately,” says Stefania. “I also learned about proper resume writing and networking better. I really loved the “Elevator Pitch” and “Presentation” workshops. There is so much to learn in books or articles but I think what helps the most to reinforce the knowledge is the live practice. Most importantly, all the introspection activities have helped me to set a clearer vision of what I want and what do I need to achieve it.”

If you’re a new immigrant and active woman in New York who is ready to learn new skills, I invite you to join the LEAD program. Find out more about the program and sign up to participate here – A new summer series is starting soon!

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