5 and Up: Meet the 5 Speakers Who Have Been at WAG for 5 Years or More – Vicki Parsons

Contributed by: Ashley Erickson


Just a friendly reminder, this is a part of the  “5 and Up” post series showcasing speakers at the We are Girls Austin Conference that will be shared throughout the week. These 5 presenters continue to help girls #findtheirpower through their incredible work and deserve some recognition for all that they do. Coming up, Vicki Parsons!


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I have been married to my husband Mark for 39 years. We have 3 grown children, so now enjoy daily life with our dog Bristol. Healthy living is important to me, and I enjoy the outdoors; running, hiking, and being on the water. I generally see the cup half full, or at least able to be re-filled. I love being a part of changing lives. One of my life passions is to see people grow into who they are; to be an inspiration, to encourage others to not give up. And I love my job!


What is your company’s name and what do you do?

Ballet Austin’s Butler Center for Dance & Fitness

I am the director of dance, fitness and Pilates programming for over 10,000 adults each year at Ballet Austin, I oversee wellness initiatives at Ballet Austin, and speak throughout the Austin community presenting Free BeWell Talks on a variety of health and wellness topics.


When did you hear about the Girls Empowerment Network?

I first heard about GEN when Ballet Austin Executive Director Cookie Ruiz and several Ballet Austin Board members served on the Board of Directors of GEN. I was quite impressed with the mission then, and even more so now.


How long have you been presenting at the We Are Girls Conference?

I first presented in 2010! This will be my 7th year to be a part of the We Are Girls Conference.


Why do you keep on coming back to WAG? What is your favorite part about WAG and why?

So many girls in one place with smiles on their faces and having fun, yet leaving at the end of the day empowered and challenged. Love that. But I personally cherish the opportunity to speak to parents and leaders who attend. If I can pass on even one truth or tip that can empower them, it makes me happy.


If you could tell your 12-year-old self anything, what would it be?

Well, my 12-year-old self was a long time ago, and life was rough for me at age 12. How great to have had a supportive network then! There are so many messages to pass on, such as “dreams matter”, and “take courage to be yourself”.  But I think if I had to say one thing I would say, “Be resilient. No matter what setback, disappointment, or very difficult time comes at you in life, be strong, bounce back. You’ve got this!”


What do you think is the biggest challenge facing girls, today?

Life has changed quite a bit for young women in the past few decades. Still a ways to go for girls, but so many more opportunities today. I think one of the biggest challenges for girls today is one that has been around for a long time; surviving the adolescent years with her self-esteem not just undamaged, but strong and healthy. With higher expectations and pressures from all areas of life, a strong and healthy self-esteem must be not only protected but cultivated.

Felicia Gonzalez