GEN in Houston: An Interview with Shenequa Animashaun

Contributed by: Shenequa Animashaun, We Are Girls Houston Host Committee Member, and Elena Carey


Shenequa Animashaun is an incredible GEN advocate. She served on the 2017 We Are Girls Houston Host Committee and helped fundraise for the We Are Girls Houston scholarship campaign. We recently had the chance to interview her about her experience being a part of We Are Girls Houston and why she’s passionate about GEN.


How did you find out about Girls Empowerment Network (GEN)?
I was introduced to GEN by Sara Speer Selber [fellow We Are Girls Houston Host Committee member].


What made you want to get involved with GEN?
I got involved with GEN because I realized very early on the importance of what they do for adolescent girls and understand the need for their services.


What was your experience like serving on the Houston Host Committee?
My experience was awesome! I’ve met so many impactful women on the rise and have been motivated by their stories and the work that they’re doing in our communities.


What made you want to fundraise to send girls to We Are Girls Houston? Why do you think it’s important to provide scholarships for girls who attend?
It was important for me to fundraise because that was the only way that I could volunteer for the Conference. My daughter and I weren’t able to attend due to a scheduling conflict. It’s important to provide scholarships because often times, girls from low income communities are exposed to so many things that affect their lives negatively, so it was important to me to raise as much money as possible to help as many girls as possible experience the awesomeness of GEN for one day in hopes that the lessons learned will stay with them until the next conference and beyond.


What was your favorite part of We Are Girls Houston?
I loved the positive energy that I’ve seen through video and all of the girls seemed to be so happy in that moment. The smiles, I will not forget them.


What are your hopes for We Are Girls Houston in the future? How would you like to see it grow?
My hopes are that WAG Houston will continue to grow year after year and that more corporations will get behind the effort.


What do you think is one of the biggest issues facing girls today? Are there any issues you think are specific to Houston-area girls?
I think one of the biggest issues affecting girls today is the pressure to be perfect. The examples of women that we see on TV, the internet, and in print media are misleading. We should be setting examples that it’s okay to not look perfect and that perfection is a goal that’s unattainable and focus more on tangible successes such as education, service, and being good stewards in the world.


What is one of the most important things you want girls to know? Are there any messages you’d like to send to Houston area girls in particular?
As Michelle Obama said “We are smart. We as women don’t pat ourselves on the back…we’re always deferring. Live out loud and understand that what’s in your brain is really useful. Do not hide it, don’t dumb it down, don’t apologize for it. Just put it on the table and let people deal with it.”

Felicia Gonzalez