The Saint John Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN) amalgamated with the Learning Exchange in June 2021. The two organizations had long shared common values, in particular the commitment to advance women’s equality and support the needs of women in Saint John. The blending of WEN’s programming into the Learning Exchange’s operations created a women’s branch of services, which has led to improved services for women, better connections to community partners, and transformative outcomes in education and employment.
WEN (formerly known as the Urban Core Support Network), was formed in 1994 and focused on the systematic barriers that kept people from moving out of poverty, with particular interest in identifying barriers faced by women. The impact WEN has had on the lives of the women in Saint John has been significant. The organization was unique in Saint John, as it included the voices of people living in poverty around the table with representatives from the non-profit sector, business, and government.
The Honourable Brenda L. Murphy, New Brunswick’s 32nd Lieutenant Governor, was WEN’s Executive Director for more than twenty years. In this role, she grew the organization through the development of a signature empowerment program for low income women in Saint John. Power Up was created as a leadership and empowerment training program in 2007. Between 2008 and 2022 more than 530 women have graduated from the program through 60 cohorts.
Women’s empowerment programs at the Learning Exchange continue to model the vision of a community in which women are empowered, contributing fully, and leading sustainable lives. Closely aligned with community partners, we support women to develop skills and create connections that build their network and help them achieve their goals.