Since 2010, the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute has imbued young women with self-empowerment, agency, and a sense of community activism. And they have no plans of slowing down.
The Irvington-based American clothing designer paired up with Antoinette Klatzky, a Westchester community organizer who previously worked with the White Plains YWCA and Sarah Lawrence College, to provide a place where young women could develop their authentic voices. Initially a seven-day pilot program with 11 girls, the EFLI today works with roughly 800 individuals throughout the year.
As the women’s movement evolved, so did EFLI. “Things like the Women’s March have given a different sense of hope for young women and young people,” says Klatzky, EFLI’s executive director. “There are ways to voice your opinion and share your values.” However, the main focus of the program has endured — placing women at the center of its “Four C’s”: community, connection, creativity, and confidence.
Victoria Tarantino, a former participant in and current executive assistant of EFLI, says, “What I loved was the space that was created. There’s no real safe space in high school.”
The EFLI has expanded beyond summer programs. Klatzky and EFLI alumna Jado Morris are piloting a similar exercise in Japan, where Morris lives and works. Stateside, EFLI is introducing a spring-break program this month, focused on sustainable fashion in New York City. To learn more about the Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute, visit www.efli-life.org.