EMPower (Economic Mobility Power) works in partnership with women who have experienced homelessness to set and reach goals across life domains including family, housing, health and wellbeing, finances, career and employment. It is a new approach to supporting women to recover from the impacts of trauma and build a strong, economically secure and thriving futures for themselves and their families.
Tessa Douglas is one of our two EMPower Coaches, who has been in the program since March of this year, working in partnership with nine women.
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hello, I’m Tessa! I’m a social worker and coach with a particular interest in supporting women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. I value working with people from a person-centred, intersectional feminist and trauma-informed approach that focuses on each person’s strengths and unique abilities in a really supportive and collaborative way. I believe relationship and authentic connection is at the heart of good practice, and I seek to create a safe, nourishing space with all the people I work alongside.
What makes you the most excited about the EMPower program?
For anyone, it can be hard to know where to start with big visions and goals. So working alongside people as they take one step at a time to reach their goals has been very inspiring. Seeing the women I work with be excited by their goals and dreams and then start to take steps to reach them is pretty amazing, especially knowing what they have gone through before and the many obstacles they’ve overcome to get to this point.
Reading through the research and results from the creators of this coaching approach – EMPath in Boston – has also been exciting. I’ve loved learning about different practices and ways of working with people seeking to build capacity and a strong mindset over the long term. A big part of the work is supporting people to develop a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. To achieve this, we focus on the importance of ongoing learning and stretching when setting goals, knowing that ongoing goal achievement over time helps to build greater confidence and self-belief. The research from EMPath on the power of setting big goals and holding high expectations reflects this idea.
What is unique about this coaching method is that it brings together a trauma-informed, socially conscious knowledge base alongside a deep belief in people’s capacity to grow and heal and specific tools and ways of working with people that support this transformation.
Coaching is such a great way to work with people, as it is forward-thinking in that it builds capacity and strengthens people’s belief in themselves whilst connecting them to networks that create greater social support as they make plans to reach their goals. It has been inspiring to work alongside women who have experienced homelessness, family violence, and various types of trauma and see them grow and heal whilst transforming aspects of their lives in such a short space of time.
Juno has just recruited an additional 15 participants, bringing the total number of women in EMPower to 24.
Our new coach, Shazia, and I are excited to meet the new group of women in EMPower and learn about their goals and dreams for themselves and their families. Over the last six months, the current group has achieved many different goals, from moving into safe, secure properties to obtaining full-time jobs, developing their small business ideas, and enrolling in various courses. It’s been so exciting to see these significant changes, alongside upgrades in their confidence and visions for their lives. They are all intelligent, kind women who I have no doubt will continue to achieve their goals. I’m looking forward to working alongside these women and welcoming the new group into the program as well.