Seventeen attendees of Forté’s Undergraduate Women of Color Leadership Symposium received more than tips about honing a personal brand and developing executive presence. They also received scholarships to be used for professional development opportunities, after writing essays about their treasured experiences from the event. The women – who identify as African American / Black, Latina/x, and Native American – wrote about the most impactful speakers, how the conference influenced their thinking, and what Forté’s mission, #MoreWomenLeading, means to them. Highlights from the scholarship recipients essays: When I left the symposium, I thought about the steps I could take to be where some of those women are, and the first thing that came to mind was grad school. After attending this conference, #MoreWomanLeading means to me sharing your knowledge and opening doors of opportunity for the younger generation of women. Kayla Alexander, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, Class of 2024 After hearing about the almost contrasting career paths of all the speakers, I was better able to understand the importance of embracing a non-linear career path when trying to establish what you want to do. Angelina Astillero, Scripps College, Class of 2023 As a black woman from an immigrant background, navigating professional spaces can feel isolating without the support of someone who has already crossed that bridge. (During) the last session titled “Leadership Development: Authenticity & Intentionality,” the speakers discussed how to embrace change in order to grow, and they touched upon the art of becoming and how it requires chasing what brings you joy. Alexia Ayuk, University of Maryland at College Park, Class of 2023 I expected this experience would be empowering, but I never imagined that it would be the first step toward a lifetime of living unapologetically. The panelists showed me that I must make space for myself at every table, in every room, and to do so while remaining true to my core values. Camilla Canty, Bryn Mawr College, Class of 2023 Every session and panel was everything I needed to hear and so much more because I walked away realizing what makes me different does not hinder me; it’s just a crossroad in my journey, and one day it will be a part of my brand. RiNyah Conley, New York University, Class of 2025 I did not only leave the symposium with a notebook filled with inspirational quotes, but I left thinking that I could do something, be something. Trinity Davis, Texas A & M University, Class of 2026 #MoreWomenLeading is an amazing opportunity for young minority women leaders to understand the sky's the limit for any dream they hope to achieve. Paris Hamilton, Howard University, Class of 2025 Traveling out-of-state for the first time as a first-gen college student, I am beyond grateful to Forté for making this experience possible. The conference removed all barriers and the narrative I imposed upon myself that I was not capable of succeeding in the business field. Stephanie Laynez, University of Texas at Austin, Class of 2024 As a college senior who is visibly Muslim, I had doubts on whether my most authentic self will be in accepted in corporate America. At Forté, I was glad to hear Angela Thornton-Young say, “I can’t be more than one person,” to drive home the importance of being yourself. Ayan Mohamud, Agnes Scott College, Class of 2023 Hearing from accomplished women who have overcome hardships similar to mine was extremely inspirational. "We have the most to learn, but we also have the most to teach," was said during the opening panel. Katrina Mrozowski, University of Florida, Class of 2025 The symposium organized the perfect space for black women like me to gain insight into what it means to navigate corporate America. In a world that is not so kind to women of color, rest assured I no longer have to seek validation at the hands of those who wish to keep a woman under; I can find my strength in communities like this that want to see me win. Kerna Numa, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook After attending the Women of Color Leadership Symposium, I now know that life after university will most likely be an uphill battle marked by obstacles and external assumptions over my life, but now I feel as though I possess the tools to achieve the life that I dreamed about as a young girl. Darria Oden, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, Class of 2023 The realization that I wasn’t alone and that joining this foundation meant that I would have a support network full of women who have countless similarities to me, and my journey felt like a breath of fresh air. Krisanta Ojo, State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, Class of 2024 My experience at the symposium was unlike any experience I’ve ever had in my life. Being surrounded by so many women that looked like me (black and brown-skinned), who simply oozed out success, beauty, determination, happiness, intelligence, and leadership…gave me the encouragement to stay positive about being in the “minority” and gave me the strength to think about my situation a bit differently at my white school. Kendrice Roc, Skidmore College, Class of 2023 As I climb the jungle gym that is the road to success, I will hold my ground while remaining grounded in my roots and my story. Forté’s mission is to see more women leading, and this event accomplished just that by placing me in the headquarters of Deloitte where I met brilliant young women I will be leading alongside in the next few years. Suleni Sabio-Arzu, Howard University, Class of 2026 Being surrounded by so many talented women of color was one of the most validating and inspiring things I have ever experienced. Looking around my table in that room filled to the brim with diverse female power … I saw a glimpse of what the future could look like, and I was filled with hope. Valerie Val, Vanderbilt University, Class of 2023 The symposium was an experience I will never forget. This conference has enhanced my perspective on having a vision and a purpose-driven mindset and building a character through authenticity. Jenica Walcott, Agnes Scott College, Class of 2023 Want to earn a $1,000 scholarship in 2023? Apply for the #MoreWomenLeading scholarship today with a 500 words or less essay about what More Women Leading means to you.