Harmonee Fowler/Contributing Writer
The Women’s Center hosted the 10th Annual Women Who Lead Conference on Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23 in the WUC Ballroom at BBC and the GC Ballroom at MMC.
The purpose of this conference was to connect students to the female leaders in the community. It constructed a plan of bringing these women together through mentorship, letting them know that they are indeed qualified in guiding.
According to Meredith Morgan, coordinator at the Women’s Center at the BBC Campus, this conference is a step forward, “With the networking and opportunities displayed through this conference,” Morgan said, “leadership may have the prospect of developing,”
In a world where our lives are mapped out for us, this conference lets women know that they still have a choice in what they do and a voice in their society.
“I feel encouraged,” student Ariana Gamazo said.” I want to get out and do something – encourage other women.”
However, with these thoughts of renewed hope, there are setbacks that need to be addressed.
“Women need to be assertive,” Ariana said. “Negotiate your pay. Learn to ask for help. Seek out mentors. You want to be heard, then raise your voice. Amplify yourself. Talk to someone. You can be shy and still stand up for yourself, but confidence is always the key. It’s all baby steps.”
Throughout these discussions, there have surfaced individual stories of what women had to go through, emotional trials that each woman shared.
According to Women’s Conference ambassador Shenica Tulloch, she said the conference surrounds attendees with something different. What the world says is not what any person have to be. Women can, in fact, be leaders. There are women who are bold. There are women of color who beat the odds stereotypes place on them without mercy.
And for these women of color, a program called the Black Girls CODE was presented at the conference. This program is a sliver of hope for young black girls from underrepresented communities.
According to www.blackgirlscode.com, the program “has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow.” Programmers the world will need in the future.
Just as Black Girls CODE is a safe haven for young girls, this conference, according to ambassador for the Women’s Conference, Natalia Gutierrez, is a community.
“There are women out there who will help you and push you,” Gutierrez said. “This program gives you the resources to make those plans happen.”
But she also acknowledges the fact that even with a determined mind comes obstacles.
“Things may be difficult now but that won’t change. There will always be challenges. But you can either rise above it or let it crush you. You can’t let it defeat you. In the end it’s all worth it,” she said.