Every year, the HERlead Fellowship, the result of groundbreaking partnership between Vital Voices Global Partnership and ANN INC., parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey, chooses 30 outstanding high-school women to mentor and invest in. These young leaders, empowered with skills and confidence, go on to create positive social change in their communities. This coming week, 20 past Fellows will return as Ambassadors for the 2nd Annual HERlead Ambassador Forum in Washington, DC. The Forum will run from Tuesday (4/3) to Friday (4/6). Throughout the week, Ambassadors will attend mentoring and goal-setting workshops with empowering global professionals, and executives from ANN INC. and Vital Voices. They will hear inspiring stories and get advice from speakers like Ann Shoket, Founder of Badass Babes, Author of The Big Life, and former Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen; Jennifer Morrison, Actress, Producer and Director; and Karla Ruiz Cofino, Founder of DIGITAL AWARENESS and Co-Founder of the digital agency MILKnCOOKIES. Additionally, the Ambassadors will be attending the 17th Annual Global Leadership Awards on Wednesday night, where five outstanding female leaders from around the world will be honored for the fearless social change they pursue in their day-to-day lives.
As the HERlead Fellowship intern at Vital Voices, I am incredibly excited to help Vital Voices and the Leadership & Global Activation team execute the events this coming week. Helping to plan the Ambassador Forum for the past few months has been a truly inspiring experience. The young women participating as Ambassadors are the same age as me (or younger!), and are already changing the world in creative and impactful ways that I could only dream of. One of my favorite moments of planning was discovering that one of this year’s Ambassadors was a former high school peer of mine who, whether she knows it or not, changed my life. She was two grades above me at our high school in Seattle, WA, and her leadership at school inspired me to join, and eventually lead, the Social Justice Committee. This decision became the first step in fueling my passion for empowerment and service to others that has led me to Vital Voices today. I am so excited to reunite with her this coming week!
Our 2018 HERlead Ambassadors give me remarkable hope for the future. Knowing that they are the leaders of the tomorrow that not only I, but my younger sister and brothers as well, will live in fills me with joy and gratitude. The opportunities that Vital Voices and the HERlead Fellowship give aspiring female leaders are truly unparalleled. Keep an eye out for these young revolutionaries (and be sure to follow this week’s events on Vital Voices’ social media) because they are going to change the world.
Kendall Matt, Vital Voices HERlead Intern