First Annual Women Forum empowers

Cindy Rays// Contributing Writer


With Hillary Clinton being close to obtaining the Democratic Party’s nomination for presidency, there has never been a better time for women across the nation to feel like their dreams can become a reality.

The first Annual Women Empowerment Forum, presented by the Caribbean Student Association, empowered female students to reach for their highest dreams and believe that they are possible.

“What do you think when you hear the word ‘woman’?” asked Melanie Timothy, secretary of CSA, as an opening question of the forum and almost in unison the audience said “Strong.”

CSA invited three women to participate in the forum as guest speakers. Yvette Harris, owner and founder of Harris Public relations, Tiayan Boykin-Dennison, co-owner of TyTy’s Kitchen, and Alexis Inniss, stylist and founder of The L Experience Foundation, gave students their knowledge as successful entrepreneurs and shared what it means to be a woman in power.

Harrison shared how crucial it is to support other women and stand in sisterhood together. “It’s important to be able to nurture and help women who are coming up in my industry and my role. I am always thankful for those who encouraged me when I was opening my company.”

The guest speakers shared the personal struggles they overcame in achieving their dreams, and what it means to be a woman in a male-dominated business world. They touched upon the double standards of male CEOs and women CEOs.

“I am not bossy. I try to stay away from that word. I am assertive and I know what I want and what is best for my business,” said Harrison.

21-year-old Alexis Inniss was the youngest of the guest speakers. She was diagnosed with Lupus at the tender age of 11.

When referring to her grandmother and mother in attendance at the event, Inniss said “they are the women who empower me.” She thanked them for being there for her when she wasn’t healthy enough to take care of her 3-year-old child.

“My biggest accomplishment is my foundation. It aims to bring awareness and let others like me know that you are not alone, ” said Inniss. “I’m not stagnate. I always keep going.”

When giving advice to empower students, Boykin-Denison said “I put my faith in God and I put my faith in myself, everything is going well and in the right direction and it is all because I wasn’t afraid to follow what’s in my heart.”

When referring her now successful culinary business, she says “you can do whatever you want to do, go in the direction of your dreams.”

For more information on #EmpowerHER please contact Gilna Nelson, president of CSA, at



Pictures by Cindy Rays

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