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On June 14, 2016, the 5th annual ANNpower Leadership Forum will kick off for the first time in New York City. This year’s ANNpower Leadership Forum invites 50 young women leaders from 24 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and Canada to participate in four days of leadership training and mentorship in the big apple.

A few ANNpower Fellows present a group project during the 2015 ANNPower Leadership Forum held in Washington, D.C.

The ANNpower Leadership Forum is part of the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative.  In 2011, Vital Voices and ANN INC. -which operates the Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey brands – forged an innovative partnership to empower young women with leadership skills encouraging them to initiate global progress by investing in their communities and becoming the next generation of leaders.

Since the first ANNpower Leadership Forum in 2012, 50 young women have been selected each year to serve as ANN-ower Fellows and join the ranks of other empowered women leaders in attending the annual ANNpower Leadership Forum.

Actress, director and ANNpower Advisory Council member Jennifer Morrison stands with last year’s class of fellows. Morrison encouraged ANNpower fellows to pursue their ideas for positive change, despite fear of failure. “You can’t be brave unless you’re afraid,” said Morrison.

At this year’s Forum, Fellows will attend a variety of events and engage in skill building seminars throughout New York City. Program events include visits to the ANN INC. offices, keynote speeches from Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, and No Ceilings CEO Terri McCullough, public speaking training from professional Kathleen Friery, and a Q&A with Marie Claire Editor-in-chief and ANNpowerANNpower Advisory Council member Anne Fulenwider.

In between events, Fellows are challenged to develop projects in working groups. The four-day forum concludes with each group presenting their projects. Beyond the leadership forum, Fellows are encouraged to also pursue individual leadership and service projects. Each fellow is eligible to receive grants of up to $2,500 and help from an individual mentor to implement projects benefitting their own communities. Vital Voices has estimated that more than 5,000 citizens are positively impacted each year from the projects of ANNpower Fellows.

The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative has sponsored past projects promoting youth literacy, tackling summer learning loss, expanding computer programming skills and fighting gender stereotypes. Past Fellows and project grantees Amanda, Chelsea, Elanie, Ellie and Karina will be on-hand at the leadership forum next week to discuss their own projects and experiences with this year’s class of Fellows. They represent just a few of the incredible young women leaders that make up the network of ANNpower Fellows.

At last year’s ANNpower Leadership forum, actress, director and ANNpower Advisory Council member Jennifer Morrison encouraged Fellows to take the action necessary to make their dreams for change a reality. “Don’t wish for your fairy tale, fight for your fairy tale,” said Morrison. Vital Voices and ANN INC. strive to support the work of Fellows seeking to initiate global progress and social change. We look forward to seeing how another class of ANNpower Fellows utilizes the trainings, lessons, and mentorship provided during the 2016 ANNpower Leadership Forum to be leaders of social change.