Raised by a single mother who immigrated to New York from Haiti, Ariel Laura Metayer has seen firsthand the struggles and strengths of women in the workplace. Now a rising senior at St John’s University, Ariel – a politics and government major with a 3.96 GPA – met a sisterhood of women while attending Forté’s Women of Color Conference who still support and encourage each other. Why is Forté’s mission important to you? My mother immigrated from Haiti and, in the absence of my father, I was raised by a village of women who contributed significantly to my growth. With diversity comes different perspectives, and at the two Forté programs I have participated in, I met women who, even though we come from different areas and cultures, have stories similar to mine. We shared a wealth of knowledge with each other, and Forté has given me a tribe of sisters who support me and want to help me. Do you think you will get an MBA? I have been thinking about it. In high school, I started a natural hair and body care line and participated in business competitions. I was sent to Taiwan to pitch to an international audience and won first place for the US and for New York, which was monumental for a triple minority: I am a woman, Latina, and Black. I want to become more well-rounded and refine my understanding of the business world because whatever you have darkness in has power over you. I want to have more understanding of finance, but I am also applying to law school. Meeting successful Black, latinx, and middle eastern women helped me connect with my two identities: gender and race. Tell me about your experience at the Women of Color Conference. What were your biggest take-aways? Meeting successful Black, Latinx, and Middle Eastern women helped me connect with my two identities: gender and race. It made me realize that other women have trailblazed a road for me and reinforced the idea that they did it, and I can, too. During the conference, I said at the mic during one of the sessions: “We are the thing that people need, and they don’t know it yet.” We create that space, we are the table, the meal, we are everything. Less than 20 years ago, this conference would not have happened. Seeing how women of color in c-suite positions view us [the women in the audience] as future leaders reinforced that when we come together, we can do so much. With the other women I met there, we have a group chat, we support each other, we check on each other, and we want to keep the network and sisterhood going. What are your summer plans? I was accepted into the BA/MA program in government and politics with a focus on international relations at St. John’s – this is a hybrid masters program for one year. As part of my scholarship at St. John’s, I am conducting research this summer on the diaspora of Caribbean peoples to New York.