Yesterday was a ‘bucket list’ type of day. I was invited to be a speaker on The Difference “Difference” Makes– Double Minority Leadership panel at Yale’s 7th Annual Women in Leadership Conference. Yep, I spoke at Yale University!
The discussion was focused around issues of leadership and identity through the lens of gender and race. It’s ridiculous that still, in 2015 women continue to earn significantly less than men. In fact, it is estimated that white women earn 78 cents to every dollar earned by a white man. For African American women, it’s 64 cents, and for Hispanic women, it’s 56 cents. This disparity indicates that there is still a lot of work to be done before we see improvements in equality.
The Day I Spoke At Yale University
It was great to share a panel with Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin; Samhita Mukhopadhyay; and Jamia Wilson – three incredibly inspiring women. They each embody traits that all women should aim to embody: ambition, intelligence, confidence, poise and humility.
Key advice shared by the panelists:
- “Power is taken, it is never given.” Gloria Steinem, (American feminist, and social and political activist) once told me this. One must take control of their life and proactively seek/create the opportunities they want to see,” Jamia Wilson.
- “Create the highest, grandest vision possible for your life, because you become what you believe,” by Oprah Winfrey. All of my major achievements have started with a vision and this helps to give me clarity and focus amongst all the noise,” Marielle Legair.
- “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down,” Reid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn once said. I feel that in so many ways that this has been my career. It’s so important to fight fear, take risks and not be afraid to fail,” Samhita Mukhopadhya.
- “Remember that you are a commodity.” Always focus on your strengths and not your limitations. Constantly think about the skills that you can bring to the table,” Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin.
All in all – Yale’s Women’s Leadership Initiative was a highly inspiring and uplifting event to be a part of. I came away feeling encouraged that there are so many women out there working hard to help other women live their best lives.
Background on the panelists
Dr. Angelica Perez-Litwin is a practicing Clinical Psychologist. She was recognized as one of the “Top 50 Influential Latinos” in the United States by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2013. Angelica is a visionary leader devoted to advancing the careers and influence of Latinas in the United States and abroad. She’s the Founder & CEO of ELLA Institute and the Latinas Think Big™ platform and national tour, sponsored by Google.
Samhita Mukhopadhyay is a writer, speaker and technologist. She is a leader in the field of feminism, social entrepreneurship and creative content production dedicated to engaging people around social issues. She also likes to make people laugh. She is currently the Director of Strategic Engagement and Communications at the National Women’s Business Council – a federal advisory council to The White House, Congress and the SBA on issues of women and entrepreneurship.
Jamia Wilson is the Executive Director at Women, Action and the Media. Recognized as one of the “17 Face of the Future of Feminism” by Refinery29, Jamia is passionate about intergenerational partnerships, Jamia’s experiences from working with gender justice advocates including Gloria Steinem, Gloria Feldt, and Loretta Ross has informed her view and vision. A leading next-generation voice on generation voice on gender justice, her work and words have appeared in New York Magazine, Rookie Magazine, The Today Show, CNN, Ms.., The Washington Post and more.
Marielle Legair is an international public relations professional with over 10 years of experience working with senior leaders and brands to generate media coverage around the world. Her work has been published in top-tier media outlets including: Forbes, Bloomberg, BBC, Financial Times, USA Today and more. A keen supporter of the advancement of women, she is the Communications Director for ColorComm, a professional network and membership organization aimed at women working in the communication industries.