The Yale School of Management’s annual Young Women Leadership Launch (YWLL) is a one-day conference that aims to inspire high school women to achieve their greatest potential and reach for the highest levels of leadership. This year’s event hosted more than 80 young women from around the country who convened to discover, learn, and discuss different career paths with leaders from inside and outside the Yale community.
This year’s theme, “Reaching for the Stars: Thriving in the New ‘Normal,’” brought together two amazing speakers: Dr. Moiya McTier, an astrophysicist, folklorist, and science communicator; and Sophie Ascheim, co-founder of The Pad Project and executive producer of an Oscar-winning documentary short called Period. End of Sentence. These women’s stories highlighted the importance of pursuing your interests and passions and finding your own path. In the case of McTier, she was the first to combine science and mythology into a college major and profession. Meanwhile, Ascheim created her own nonprofit to advocate for menstrual equity at the age of 16. I found both speakers to be inspiring examples of how anyone at any age can create change and make a difference.
While this was the second year the event was hosted on Zoom due to COVID-19, I was impressed by how enthusiastic the young women were. Caitlin Piccirillo-Stosser, our logistics committee chair, summed it up well when she said, “YWLL was incredible. I loved seeing how engaged the students were: excited to participate in activities and ready with thought-provoking questions. I’m inspired by all of them and know that the future is bright since it will be in their hands.”
Of course, every great event also has a strong team. As this year’s co-lead, I am so grateful to all the women, especially those on the leadership team, who volunteered their time to organize and support the conference. As Helena Heckschen, our curriculum committee co-chair, said, “Being a part of YWLL has been one of the highlights of my time at SOM so far. I was inspired by our keynote speakers and impressed by the SOM student-led career and college sessions. Feeling the high energy of our participants throughout the day—despite it being a Saturday morning—was incredibly rewarding and makes me hope that the conference plays a small role in shaping the next generation of leaders.” I could not agree more, and I am excited to see how YWLL continues to leverage our community to inspire high school women in the years to come.