That’s What She Said panel to share stories of female empowerment

She Said, a company created by Champaign residents Kerry Rossow, Jill Youse and Casey Wakefield, will present “That’s What She Said: 7 Women Who Will Blow You Away,” on Saturday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

The show will feature a panel of female speakers, including two of She Said’s founders, who are ages 20 to 85. The speakers will share their experiences of how they’ve come to accept their identity, which follows She Said’s mission of empowering women.

They will share their stories in seven minutes, covering topics important to women, including body image.

“So many young girls try to look a certain way or act a certain way, and, even as women, you just want to blend in and you don’t want to stand out,” Wakefield said. “But whenever we’re at our best, it’s whenever we’re truly who we are.”

To ensure the show and company stayed true to this message, the process of selecting speakers took much thought and care, Youse said.

“There are tons of people we could’ve picked to be our speakers,” Youse said. “But we wanted people whose stories we haven’t heard. Because if you put the spotlight on someone, you see a different side of them you normally don’t get to see.”

Ranging from writer and comedian Erin Donovan — winner of People’s Choice Award in Humor in 2012 — to former University student Peyton Stewart, who now attends the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the set of speakers reflect stories from the “whole spectrum of being a woman,” Rossow said. 

“There is a lot to benefit from hearing stories,” Rossow said. “It should be like a mirror – you should see something that is reflective of your own life. Yet it should also be like a window, where you see women that are not like you and (hear) stories that you would’ve never thought you’d hear before.”

In presenting a variety of personalities, thoughts, stories and life experiences, the goal to is to bring value to spoken word and to present a “common thread of connection from woman to woman,” Rossow said.

“From woman to woman, sister to sister, or mom to mom … women can find a connection with each other. You just got to find it,” she said.

The message of women empowerment continues even after the performance. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to local women’s charities.

Student tickets are $15 and general admission is $25, and tickets can be purchased at

Stephanie can be reached at [email protected]

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Peyton Stewart was an art student at the University. The article should have stated that she is a School of the Art Institute of Chicago student and is a former University student.