The Yale School of Management’s annual Young Women’s Leadership Launch conference is a one-day event that aims to inspire girls from across Connecticut to become future leaders in society. At this year’s event, more than 100 high-potential young female leaders convened for a day of learning, empowerment, and discovery of different career paths through a mix of virtual activities, keynote speeches, mentorship, and college prep. The event is completely free and is a great way for girls to build on the amazing skills they already have as well as get to know other young women pursuing the same.
I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and drive of the young women who attended our event this year. In order to attend, the girls were asked to write a short essay addressing why they would like to be considered. Many of these young women know much more about what they want to do next than I did at that age!
We were thrilled to host two great keynote speakers: Sheri West, CEO of LiveGirl, a Connecticut-based nonprofit focused on building confident and inclusive leaders, and Stephanie McCaffrey, former professional soccer player and member of the U.S. women’s national team.
In light of COVID-19, we had to shift the event online this year. But attendance did not wane. We had about 150 applicants, the same as in 2020. I would even argue that shifting the conference online may have increased access to the event in some ways—students did not have to find transportation to Evans Hall. I am definitely looking forward to an in-person event next year, but I am very happy with how the virtual event turned out. The attendees seemed very comfortable with Zoom logistics after spending the past school year online.
Emily Fung, our curriculum committee chair, put it well: “The conference was amazing! Like many of the students, I think one of the moments that struck me most was when Stephanie McCaffrey defined success: Success happens as long as you tried your best, even if you don’t get the outcome you want.”