In the summer of 2022, I had the honor of working with Teresa Barton, Kentucky 20th State Senate District candidate, through the Distinguished Young Women of Frankfort Scholarship Program.

I was most fortunate to have her as my mentor as part of Empowering Tomorrow's Future and would like to share what I learned from her with other young women. She serves as a role model for all women through her grace, kindness and confidence, public speaking skills, collaborative problem-solving, community involvement and service to others. Not to mention her baking skills.

After my time spent with Teresa all I could say was “Wow! What a girl boss.” I would like to share my essay with the voters of the 20th district so when you vote for Teresa Barton for state Senate, you can cast your vote with confidence!

Some of the most notable words Teresa Barton, my mentor, shared with me were, “No matter what room you walk into, what meeting, what party, what event, wherever you are … you belong there. You belong there just like everyone else.” These are words I believe every young woman needs to hear. Barton is the epitome of a strong woman. She is running for state senate, but has many accomplishments: deputy secretary, executive director, Franklin County judge-executive, senior account executive … the list goes on.

With the many difficult challenges she's had thrown at her, she continues to stand tall and let her voice be heard. I have learned many things from our time together; how to accomplish goals I have set for myself, building resilience in the face of disappointment, and to be confident in my career choices. I asked Ms. Barton how to create and track progress on personal goals. She spoke about when setting goals for ourselves we need to take all steps necessary to complete them. She said, “That innate sense of determination and motivation, I don't know where that comes from, I don’t know how you instill that in someone, but they have to want it.”

I also learned from my interview with her that no matter what predicament I’m put in, I need to be able to adapt and make the most of the situation. Learning from disappointment is important to be happy and successful. We need to take the opportunity to grow and push ourselves to be our best.

The career I will pursue is interior design. Everything I have learned from this experience, I can apply to any obstacles I may face. Any young woman will need to set goals to be successful within their career path. It’s an important way to keep themselves motivated. Everyone experiences despondency in their lives; in school or in the work environment. Learning how to overcome these obstacles is part of growing up and transitioning into adulthood.

Please Vote for Teresa Barton, 20th State Senate District to Empower Tomorrow’s Future for Kentucky.

Piper Smith