Kelsie Price encourages young women to be “amazing, regardless.”
When the Stern senior arrived at NYU in 2009, she joined Women of Excellence, Strength and Tenacity, a club focused on empowering women to become leaders in their communities at a moment’s notice. The Los Angeles native was eager to find a community in a new city.
Though only about 10 women attended her first meeting, Price immediately felt connected to the tight-knit group. She was struck by the way the group opened the meeting with an exercise called Amazing Regardless, in which each member shared something negative that happened that week, but assured themselves — and other WEST women — that they are amazing, regardless of any issue in school, at work or with family.
“I really liked the community idea of having a tight-knit group of women who supported each other,” Price said.
Since then, Price has worked to revitalize and expand the group to reach and empower more women on campus. Under her leadership, WEST promotes community building through service, leadership and scholarship, has become an all-square club, has seen tremendous growth in membership and has allowed young women to support each other to become influential voices and leaders in their communities.
Price was initially drawn to WEST because of her interest in minority groups.
“I’ve really tried to get involved with underrepresented minority groups at NYU. That’s what I’m interested in based on my own identities,” Price said. “Whether it’s black and Latino people or LGBTQ communities or women, there’s still a long way to go. There have been great strides, but there’s still a long way to go.”
When Price joined WEST as a freshman, few underclassmen were involved.
“[WEST] was not going to exist anymore,” Price said. “That made me sad because I really resonated with women’s empowerment and wanting to empower women to be leaders.”
Determined to spread WEST’s message to women around campus, Price convinced a few friends to join the executive board with her in the following year. She became vice president and began to bring major changes to the small group.
“[The old e-board] had a lot of great ideas, but they weren’t reaching a lot of people,” Price said. “There was nothing really enticing. It wasn’t being marketed.”
Price and her team began to build personal connections within WEST and spread the group’s message around campus. When she returned to NYU as a sophomore, Price successfully led the first meeting, attended by 50 young women.
Now, Price works with WEST’s members to help them realize their potentials as young women and develop leadership skills through discussions and workshops on topics that range from taking control over domestic violence to preparing for careers, as well as through community service activities. Price also encourages positivity through exercises like Throwing Away Negatives, where WEST members write negative things they feel about themselves on pieces of paper — and then tear them up.
Price’s drive to teach and inspire others comes from those who have inspired her, including her four older siblings and the many NYU administrators she has worked with.
“I understand all the ways other people have helped me and shaped me,” Price said. “It just fit naturally for me to want to help others in the same way I’ve been helped.”
Price also engages others through her continued involvement as co-chair of the Women’s HERstory Month planning committee and as a prominent leader in the Academic Achievement Program, the NYU Global Services Corps and the Alternative Breaks program, among other organizations.
Price further pursues her passion for helping others and strengthening minority communities through her studies in the Stern School of Business, where she is studying accounting and social entrepreneurship. She hopes to use these skills to empower minority groups with financial literacy.
“For me, even for my family, growing up [I saw] that there is a lack of that knowledge,” Price said. “I would love to help communities that don’t really have access to that information.”
As Price prepares to graduate, she is focused on passing the torch to new WEST leaders.
“All of the strides that I’ve [made] with my peers in terms of community building will mean nothing if it falls off next year,” Price said. “I always say that if people hear ‘WEST’ and think of me, that’s not good. People can’t associate me with the organization. They need to associate the organization with its goals.”
A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Dec. 13 print edition. Nicola Pring is features editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.