An auditorium on a college campus may not be the first place you’d expect to find middle and high school girls at 9 a.m. on a Saturday.
That’s exactly where nearly 250 girls from across Wake County were on Saturday, March 30, 2019, when Meredith hosted the Wake County Public School System’s first Young Women’s Leadership Summit.
Participants heard keynote talks from women leaders in the Triangle, including Meredith President Jo Allen,’80, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, Raleigh City Councilwoman Nicole Stewart, and Superintendent of Wake County Public Schools Cathy Moore.
Allen spoke to attendees about the importance of learning to bounce back after a failure.
“The world needs your leadership, so we need you to build resilience,” Allen said.
Following the keynote addresses, attendees participated in breakout sessions designed around the conference’s theme, “Free to Be…Me”. Students also had the opportunity to tour Meredith.
Christina Cole Spears, ’13, ’14 (MAT), special assistant in the WCPSS’s Office of Equity Affairs and her colleague, Teresa Bunner, ‘18 (CIS), Office of Equity Affairs director of student engagement, had the idea for Meredith to serve as the host site.
Allen agreed, she said, because hosting events on campus that focus on empowering girls is one way Meredith fulfills its mission.
“Given the critical roles women play in families, the workforce, and in communities and the world, it’s imperative we develop our talents and strengths in building our leadership skills, our resilience in the face of setbacks and disappointments, and our confidence in knowing we can learn and grow in powerful ways,” Allen said. “Meredith welcomes the opportunity to spread this message among girls and women of all ages.”
The message of empowerment certainly seemed to resonate with the girls who attended. In the participant feedback, one attendee gave the event the highest possible praise. “Best day of my life!” she wrote.
Another participant was ready for more, asking, “Can I come back next year?!”