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Women Empowering Women Leadership Conference

On February 3, 2018, hundreds of women visited Yale Law School for the 10th annual Women Empowering Women Leadership Conference. This event featured tremendous keynote speeches, panels of successful women in nearly a dozen disciplines, and provided a space for encouragement and engagement.

I was admittedly nervous just entering the Yale Law School building – my immediate thought upon the start of the day was, “Will I even fit in with such accomplished women?” Nerves are common with any new experience, and especially as a woman, I find myself sometimes challenged by the relatively simple concept of showing up, speaking up, and allowing myself to take up space. At the end of the day, I could not have been happier that I did. I was greeted with smiles and kindness and I left the day with wisdom and inspiration.

Here are three takeaways from the event that will not leave me anytime soon:

1. “Celebration, preparation, inspiration.”

Our day began with introductory speeches from Yale undergraduate members of the Women’s Leadership Initiative; and they described these three elements as their group’s essential components. During times of insecurity, perhaps reflecting on the last time we celebrated, prepared for the future, or were inspired, can help us see where to focus our attention next.

2. “My daughter’s life will be easier because my parents’ lives were hard.” – Krishanti Vignarajah

Many would say Vignarajah, our morning keynote speaker, is doing the impossible: striving to become the first female governor of Maryland. She does not see it that way. She was thoughtful in her speech to thank her parents, who moved to the United States when she was an infant. Now, a mother herself, she has made the leap from active citizenship to political aspiration to make her daughter’s future as bright as her parents envisioned for their own child.

3. “I exist – therefore, I demand.” – Marlène Ramírez-Cancio

As my nerves at the start of the day indicated, sometimes we feel we must earn the space we exist in. Among sharing various bits of wisdom, Ramírez-Cancio challenges that. Perhaps we need not be pretty enough, skinny enough, liked enough, or accomplished enough to expect respect and courtesy. Perhaps we already are enough.

To say that the Women Empowering Women Conference was a positive day would be an understatement. It was one of my best days in Connecticut – and I cannot wait for next year’s conference. 

Ana Clara Blesso

By Ana Clara Blesso, CWEALF volunteer at 16 Feb 2018, 15:36 PM



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