It is extraordinarily difficult to be a young woman in today’s world; a place where teenage years are filled with feelings of inadequacy, questions of self-worth, and an abundance of societal pressures. Mass media implies that a female’s true value lies in her appearance, not in her words or actions. The looming pressure to be perfect often lingers as young women exit their adolescence years and enter the workforce as professionals.
Limitless Ambition is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 2013 with the purpose of empowering young women through career coaching, academic assistance, and emotional guidance. “Dream, Believe, Achieve” isn’t just their motto; it’s the mindset that fuels Limitless Ambition’s Founder and Executive Director, Alicia Robinson. For as long as she can remember, Alicia has wanted to help young women become the best version of themselves. Despite many roadblocks standing in her way, Alicia has been able to build her career around this passion. Alicia is a two time graduate of Kent State University, and also works full-time at Kent State University as the Assistant Director of the Women’s Center. In this role, she is responsible for developing strategies and identifying resources for programs, services, and advocacy to secure equity of experience and resources for female identifying faculty, staff, and students on campus.
Growing up in Warren, Ohio, Alicia recalls the challenges she faced as a teenager, including low self-esteem, a series of unhealthy relationships, and witnessing the effects of drugs and gun violence on her family and community. At some point, Alicia realized she had to turn inward and find strength from within to overcome these hardships. “Somewhere along the line, I learned to use all of these things to make me a more ambitious me”, she recalls. Luckily, she did not have to face all of this alone. Alicia was fortunate enough to be a part of college preparatory programs, such as Upward Bound, that helped her overcome adversity and achieve academic success. As a result of her experiences, Alicia became passionate about helping adolescent girls and young women overcome obstacles that prevent them from pursuing the lives they desire.
Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, Limitless Ambition aims to preserve, protect, and promote the vision of young girls and women who may have been discouraged from pursuing their long-term goals. Through their Purposely Chosen Women leadership program, their Purposely Chosen Teens adolescent program, as well as a variety of group workshops, Limitless Ambition provides the resources and support women need to realize and maximize their potential.
Limitless Ambition facilitates their teen enrichment program, Purposely Chosen Teens, in economically deprived areas all across Northeast Ohio. This leadership program for female adolescents ages 13 to 18 provides participants with the tools they need to be their best self. Teen participants meet once or twice a month in a group setting with a panel of mentors to explore various topics such as: passion discovery; goal-setting; self-esteem; personal branding; career and academic goalsetting; and civic engagement. Participants are also partnered with a mentor to provide additional support throughout the course of the program. One of Limitless Ambition’s greatest accomplishments is that 100 percent of their Purposely Chosen Teens participants graduated from high school, and 90 percent enrolled in postsecondary education. This is a huge accomplishment, when considering that Ohio’s high school graduation rate hovers below the national average at approximately 80 percent.
During one of the sessions in the Purposely Chosen Teens program, participants are tasked with creating a personalized Legacy Statement, which serves as a reminder of their true value. A high school senior wrote the following as her Legacy Statement: “Don’t let the dramas and pain around you determine who you are destined to be! Instead, overcome and conquer those goals!” By providing these young women with a safe space to grow and realize their self-worth, Limitless Ambition can combat the societal pressures placed on adolescents and help them overcome barriers to their success and happiness.
In addition to Purposely Chosen Women and Purposely Chosen Teens, Limitless Ambition also offers customizable workshops and retreats, which are ideal for schools, churches and community organizations. These workshops typically span the length of an afternoon, but can be tailored as a partnering organization sees fit. Some adolescent workshops in the past have included topics such as: Passion Discovery and Goal-Setting; Self Love and Body Image; Self-Esteem and Confidence; and Academic and Career Goal-Setting. Women’s workshops focus on professional growth and development. Their past workshops have included: Pushing Past Pain to Pursue Passion (Women Empowerment); Vision Mapping: Bring your Vision to Life!; Entrepreneurial Goal-Setting; and Academic Coaching and Career Planning.
Limitless Ambition recognizes the advantages of establishing and fostering partnerships with other community organizations. They have recently formed a partnership with Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority to bring Purposely Chosen Women to female residents who desire economic self-sufficiency. They have previously partnered with Akron Public Schools, Warren City School District, and Cleveland Metropolitan School District to bring our Purposely Chosen Teen program to both middle schools and high schools in these districts. In addition, they have facilitated a wide variety of workshops with Kent State University. In addition to educational institutions, Limitless Ambition also has a history of collaborating with various community organizations such as Upward Bound, Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio, the YWCA of Summit County, and Akron Public Libraries.
Limitless Ambition is not supported by Alicia Robinson’s efforts alone; its board of directors, staff, and volunteers are focused on driving the organization’s mission while fueling their vision for the future. With combined backgrounds in budget management, event planning, community outreach, curriculum development, fundraising, donor relations and operations, their board members provide the stewardship needed to ensure that every step forward is strategic and meaningful. Limitless Ambition’s staff are highly proficient development specialists, and their volunteers are dedicated to serving teens and women of all ages from economically disadvantaged areas across Northeast Ohio.
What sets Limitless Ambition apart from other similar organizations is their unwavering commitment to serving the women and teenagers who are at risk of falling below the poverty line. By promoting career readiness and providing mentorship through adolescent programs, Limitless Ambition prepares these young women to become career-oriented leaders and role models for others. With Limitless Ambition’s commitment to serving both teens and adults with a holistic approach to career programming, the result is a comprehensive and unique service to the Akron community.
Alicia Robinson founded her inspirational organization to follow her own passion for helping others discover their professional potential and self-worth. Her path to success has led her to understand the value in this cause and the amazing potential Limitless Ambition has to benefit women of all ages. Alicia selflessly reflects that the work she does “is all about giving back” to the generations of women who come after her. To the adolescents and young women who question their own value and face barriers to success, Limitless Ambition is your answer. It is your community, network, and safe space.
To learn more about Limitless Ambition and how you can support their mission, please visit www.LimitlessAmbition.org.
Purposely Chosen Women, Limitless Ambition’s signature program, focuses on overcoming the pressure points that may block women from building positive networks, fulfilling their purpose, and solidifying their prosperity. Using experiential learning, organizational development, and group collaboration, Limitless Ambition helps women find ways to wield their current networks, resources, and tools to continue to pursue their passions. Participants receive one-on-one coaching, mentorship, and the skillset needed to set measurable goals, monitor progress, and achieve their desired outcome. As a recent program participant states, “This program has helped me to turn my thoughts and feelings into an action! This lets me know that my goal is something that I can achieve. Being around supportive women helps me to be open and establish trust.” A crucial component of Purposely Chosen Women is the participation in a group setting to build relationships that result in a vast professional network. As these relationships develop and trust is established, they blossom into a dynamic system of support and lifelong friendship.
Each Purposely Chosen Women program lasts for approximately 12 months, with participants meeting at least once a month. During each program session, participants hear from a guest speaker on a specific topic, participate in relevant discussions and activities, and network with other women in the program. Session topics vary based on the needs of participants, as program sessions are personalized as much as possible. Some examples of monthly topics include: personal branding leading to the creation of an online professional profile; creating and delivering presentations to gain traction on professional goals; and analyzing personal and professional finances with a wealth management professional to identify strategies to maintain and increase assets. Participants are provided with all relevant course materials and activities, and are also partnered with program mentors who check-in with them periodically in between monthly meet-ups. Purposely Chosen Women participants even have homework assignments they are required to complete for the next session in order to ensure they are applying the skills presented in program sessions to their professional lives.
The program goals of Purposely Chosen Women include: educating and spreading awareness on roadblocks that women face in today’s society; equipping women with tools and practices needed to evaluate root limitations to their success and identify methods to overcome them; and establishing a network of support and mentorship for women to continue growing professionally.