Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Day of INSPIRATION for Future Women Leaders

On a recent Saturday afternoon in Houston, 70 female students in grades 9th through 12th gathered to participate in the 2013 Future Leaders Forum for Young Women.

This annual event, sponsored by Capital One Bank, is designed to connect young women with their unique leadership abilities, while building mentor relationships and community engagement opportunities.

Young women interested in attending the event completed a registration process, including the submission of the written essay on "How I am a Leader". With limited space for participants, Academy of Choice students Rita Hernandez and Anecia Lewis Davis were fortunate to secure two spots at this year's event.

During the day's activities, Hernandez and Lewis Davis engaged in question and answer sessions featuring participants' essay submissions, followed by one-on-one mentoring opportunity with female executives. Congratulations to both women on their leadership!

According to Anecia, "My experience at the women’s leadership forum was good. I enjoyed myself. I felt that the mentors did a great job helping us understand things. I also felt that the individual sessions we attended taught us a lot. All the speakers did a good job answering the questions we had."

Says Rita, "I really don’t regret going to the Women’s Leadership Forum hosted by Capital One. Even though I had to sacrifice a Saturday morning to go there. I can honestly say it was worth it . At first, I felt like I didn't belong there, nervous and a bit shy. Later, when one of the speakers spoke, I learned that if you are going to be a leader you've got to act like one. So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and started speaking to others girls. The speech of mayor Annise Parker impacted me because she started as an ordinary girl who grew up in Spring Branch like me. She didn't think she would end up being someone important. Shows that hard work does pays off ."

Bio of Keynote: Rashida Jolley

Ms. Jolley is a renowned Singer/Harpist/Speaker, and a unique and truly gifted artist. She spent a year on a world tour with international mega star Lady Gaga. She also represented the District of Columbia at the Miss America Pageant and appeared on NBC’s hit show “America’s Got Talent,” where she quickly became a fan favorite receiving standing ovations for every performance.

In addition to her career as a recording artist, Rashida is a motivational speaker and travels across the country inspiring youth to follow their dreams no matter the odds. She has spoken and performed at juvenile detention centers, middle and high schools, universities, churches, national embassies, the US Congress and numerous community and health organizations to include the Congressional Black Caucus, Best Friends for Girls Foundation, and the Health and Human Services Administration of Children and Families.

Realizing the important of education, Rashida earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and was just three credits away from a second degree in music. She was honored as the youngest member to be appointed by the President of the United States to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. She also presided over the Howard University Advisory Board for Nursing.


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