On Friday, March 24th, Wendy and I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Robert Morris University’s Seventh Annual Women and Transformational Leadership Symposium. It was an enlightening day filled with empowering student presentations, break-out sessions on women in leadership and the power of BIPOC and intersectional storytelling, and a passionate keynote from Dr. Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew.

We enjoyed this transformative day of learning and community-building and walked away with actionable takeaways to promote gender equity locally and globally. 

Each presentation in the student speaker series focused on Failure: How to Embrace It, Learn from It, and Leverage It for Personal Growth. We heard about perfectionism, how it impacts our happiness and the simple power of managing your time to make room for the important things in our lives. For example, focusing on the weekend means missing 72 percent of our time during the week. How can we find happiness and fulfillment in the moments of each day? 

Stephanie and her mentee Isabella Toto stand in front of a banner with balloons at the RMU Women's Leadership and Mentorship Symposium

Stephanie and her mentee Isabella Toto.

I had the opportunity to co-present with my mentee and RMU freshman, Isabella Toto. We spoke about our experience building our partnership from a freshman’s perspective and a woman in the latter part of her career. How did we find commonality? How did we learn what we had in common, and how could we build shared goals together? 

Hearing the next generation’s take on these issues was refreshing and uplifting since Wendy and I coach our clients on these topics.

What we learned from the break-out sessions and Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew’s Keynote address ties back to the book we are currently reading in our book club: “Shared Sisterhood.” We heard about the importance of finding intersectionality in storytelling, ensuring we understand others’ perspectives and experiences before speaking about or telling their stories in the sessions. We learned that it is important to have representation when storytelling, collaborating, and creating a shared experience. 

Dr. Larkins-Pettigrew also highlighted the health challenges women of color face in Pittsburgh. She stressed that we should all be a part of the solution – improving health outcomes for women of color. If a black woman left Pittsburgh to go anywhere else in the country, her life expectancy would go up, her income would go up, her educational opportunities for her children would go up, and her employment (income) would go up.  

Read more about this in the supporting article: Pittsburgh: A ‘Most Livable’ City, but Not for Black Women. 

All of the stories shared by women of all ages and races were about how we can lift one another up, support, advocate and collaborate with women from all backgrounds – sharing our sisterhood to help one another.

Wendy and I are in the midst of building new programs and opportunities for women to connect authentically, learn from one another and build amazing impact organizations. We were inspired by all the women at the symposium and walked away with new ideas to bring us all together. 

Join us to continue the conversation about “Shared Sisterhood” this Friday at 9 AM in the NPSK Online Community! 

Here’s the link to purchase the book if you’d like to in advance.