Youth Programs Are the Bridge to Leadership Roles

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By Lynnette Coverly, Founder and CEO of Coverly Professional Services, Inc.

I was 7 years old when my dad became disabled. Growing up with a father who was a kidney patient meant my brother and I spent most of our childhood in hospitals and dialysis centers. It was not an easy life, and yet my dad ensured that we had as normal a life as possible, which meant getting us involved at a very young age in community youth leadership programs. (For a time, my brother was enrolled in Boy Scouts and I in Blue Birds, the feeder program to Camp Fire Girls. Quickly, my father decided it would be best for our family to be engaged in one youth organization: 4-H.)    

Being involved in youth programs is integral to our formation as adults, especially for girls. I learned valuable life skills that helped mold me into a strong female leader and woman business owner. From the power of public speaking to holding officer positions — all before I was 15 years old — I gained confidence as a young girl in a male-dominated world. Reflecting on these experiences, I ensured that my daughter was enrolled in youth leadership programs, as well.   

"Growing up with a father who was a kidney patient meant my brother and I spent most of our childhood in hospitals and dialysis centers."

I have seen how valuable leadership skills and gaining confidence as a young girl has helped both my daughter and myself become strong successful women. My daughter is now a dentist and is quick to correct the inevitable conversations in which being a woman must mean she’s the dental hygienist. She’s breaking barriers.   

As I reflect on my own childhood, learning to be a leader at an early age gave me the confidence to start a business in 2010. Now, celebrating 10 years in business and facing one of the biggest challenges in our country, along with more than 11.6 million women business owners in the United States, it helps to lean into my memories as a child. Remembering that being creative, rarely taking “no” for an answer, and knowing when to gather my tribe of strong, diverse women through the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), is how I developed my leadership skills then — and which are useful for me today.     

As I plan for what’s next in 2021, I’ve hired a business coach, because we can’t do this alone. I’m investing in myself, because I can achieve the highest rate of return. I’m learning to be unafraid to take calculated risks, hiring a diverse and powerful workforce of young women, and rewarding myself for my successes. I feel 2021 will be the Year of the Woman as we welcome our first female vice president, and I am proud to be among the over 1.55 million women-owned businesses in California. Certainly, my dad, who passed away at 62 years old before I became a business owner and before my daughter became a dentist, would be proud of all that she and I, and the women in our world, are achieving.    


Lynnette Coverly, Founder and CEO of Coverly Professional Services Inc., is a consummate volunteer and involved member of her community, with a focus on youth outreach, helping to guide our next generation of female leaders and women business owners.

CircleAround is partnering with NAWBO (the National Association of Women Business Owners) in a series of posts exploring the following prompt: "What comes next?" Founded in 1975, NAWBO is the unified voice of over 10 million women-owned businesses in the United States.

Tags: NAWBO, Education

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National Association of Women Business Owners

Founded in 1975, the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) is the... See Full Bio

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