Young students of Girard College had an opportunity to meet accomplished women who have made their mark in their chosen professions during the third Women of Distinction Career day held at the college on Wednesday.
According to materials released by the college, “the Career Day Workshop is held to expose 11th and 12th grade girls to women of various professions who shared their particular academic experience and offer to support to the girls on future career planning.”
This year, the girls were honored with a visit from Fox 29 News anchor Sheinelle Jones, attorney Zakiya T. Black and strategist Michelle P. Wilson, all of whom have made a name for themselves in their fields.
Asked about her involvement in the event, Jones credited Linnette Black, a close friend and coordinator of the event, who invited her to the event last year.
“I think the biggest thing is to get those wheels turning in their minds, and to start dreaming about what they want to do and to start dreaming big,” said Jones during an interview conducted at the event.
This, according to Jones, is the time for the students to start being proactive about their futures and suggested internships or getting jobs where they could be trained in their desired fields.
“I started out exactly where they are,” said Jones when asked how she began her career in broadcast journalism. “I was in 6th grade, a career day and someone came in and I said, ‘That would be cool.’”
Later, Jones began a series of internships, which she acknowledged as being key to her success.
“You hope that they leave here energized and recharged to get something started, if they haven’t already,” Jones said. “These girls are already so talented.”
Zakiya Black, an attorney at TE Connectivity was also a keynote speaker during the career day event, said that she wanted to help motivate the girls to reach for their dreams.
“It was a lot of fun, most importantly, and it was hard work - and I just had to have a lot of confidence in myself and a great support system,” said Black when asked about her career journey.
Black, who has a bachelor’s in communication and marketing from the University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, said she had plenty of help from people who believed in her.
“Listen to your inner voice and follow that voice and follow that dream,” she advised. “There might be setbacks and journeys on the road to reaching your goal, but as long as you are striving for your goal, you’ll get there.”
Michelle P. Wilson, a political communications strategist, is a senior advisor to newly elected state representative J.P. Miranda and is also an alumna of Girard College.
“When I started out, writing was always my dream; being an image consultant came later in college,” said Wilson who says that she became very involved in her community, eventually becoming a political consultant for elected officials.
“It’s amazing to see so many young ladies turn out here at Girard College,” Wilson said. “Girard College has a passion, and it goes straight to my heart as a graduate [of Girard College]. I’m just glad to be here.”
Ivory Ivuakn, 17, a senior at Girard College said she heard positive things about career day from other students who attended in the past.
Ivuakn, who wants to study neuroscience after graduation, said she was impressed by the event.
Dayzah Watkins, 17, also heard about the event from other students.
“I’m just looking for a great opportunity to meet role models, get internships and further my career,” she said.
The Women of Distinction event was sponsored by the Alpha Boule Mentoring Program as a part of their initiative to enhance the lives of young people and has hosted the program since 2007.