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From June 26th to June 29th, thirty of the US and Canada’s best and brightest high school sophomore and junior women will be traveling to New York City for the HERlead Leadership Forum. This annual gathering aims to inspire, empower and educate these emerging female leaders and send them home with the skills they need to generate positive change in their communities. Through Vital Voices Global Partnership and Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey, subsidiaries of ascena retail group, inc., our 2018 HERlead Fellows will be given unmatched opportunities to learn, grow and develop their goals and aspirations. Some of the highlights of the Forum include a session on public speaking led by Media Trainer, Kathleen Friery, notable speakers such as Gary Muto, President and CEO, ascena brands, Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising & Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal, and a social media training presented by Karla Ruiz Confino, Founder of the Program DIGITAL AWARENESS and Co-Founder of the Digital Agency MILKnCOOKIES. Additionally, Fellows will be paired with a distinguished mentor from the Vital Voices Leadership Network, and with the guidance from their mentors, Fellows will develop and pitch a community project to ANN Brands and ascena Executives. With all this and more, it is clear that this will be a week Fellows will never forget.

One of the key aspects of the Forum is an emphasis on influential women and female empowerment. Fellows are no strangers to the multitude of issues plaguing women across the globe and the challenges that come with being a powerful woman. With the guidance from all of the inspiring women who lead the Forum as speakers, trainers, organizers and mentors, our Fellows leave not only with confidence in their ability to lead but with confidence in their ability to lead as a woman. Fellows are shown the power of women in the professional world, and are given a plethora of exemplary women to look towards as role models and teachers. As a result, we are incredibly proud to say that 87% of HERlead Fellows report high or extremely high confidence as a woman leader after attending the HERlead Leadership Forum.

The HERlead Leadership Forum is truly a transformative experience for HERlead Fellows. Many of these young women enter with big dreams and ideas, but they lack the resources, skills, and direction to actualize these aspirations. However, every year the HERlead Fellowship gives its newest 30 Fellows the support and investment they need to truly thrive in their area of activism. Thus, the Forum has become a personal and professional launching point for these leading ladies. After the forum, 95% of Fellows have assumed leadership positions and 61% have created their own community projects. Additionally, 84% of Fellows report high or extremely high confidence in their ability to achieve their professional goals and objectives after participating in the HERlead Fellowship. As we welcome each new cohort of Fellows into the HERlead network it has become increasingly clear that these young women are an unstoppable force and they are already changing the world.

Authored By:

Rachel Hyman, Vital Voices HERlead Intern