In early November, Salem College’s Center for Women in Business hosted its third annual Women’s Conference: Developing Emerging Professions, geared to prepare young professionals for successful careers. Attended by students from Salem College, Winston-Salem State University, Elon, Wake Forest University, Forsyth Technical Community College, Appalachian State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the daylong conference included keynotes, breakout sessions, mini career prep sessions, and a career expo.
“With 243 years of preparing outstanding graduates for a variety of careers, Salem College knows that continuing professional development is critical to succeeding and thriving in any chosen profession,” said Dr. D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, president of Salem Academy and College, as she welcomed nearly 250 participants. “We want our students to learn, practice, and live ‘leadership’ in every aspect of their college experience,” she added. The Women’s Conference makes an effort to pair students with successful professionals, who can offer real-world experiences and advice.
Morning breakout sessions covered topics in branding your personal image, overcoming workplace setbacks, interviewing, and reading body language. Leaders from organizations, including CNN, Goodwill Industries, and the CIA guided these sessions, inviting participants to ask questions and providing students opportunities to network following their presentations.
Facilitated by leaders from Cone Hospital, Wildfire Advertising, Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System, PACE Communications, BB&T, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and other local organizations, an afternoon series of prep talks were organized for career exploration and discussion.
Keynoter Sarah Davanzo, Chief Cultural Strategist of sparks & honey, a New York-based advertising agency, challenged her audience to consider careers that will be developed out of social communities and technologies. Cheryl Lindsay, Director of Global Inclusion, Community Engagement, and Project Management at HanesBrands, Inc., focused on overcoming negative situations in life with the confidence to become stronger in one’s pursuits.
The Women’s Conference is made possible by a generous gift from Lawrence Kimbrough and Letitia Johnston Kimbrough, Salem College class of 1964. For the first time, following the closing keynote address, the conference recognized the work of its student leaders, as the Kimbroughs announced Outstanding Student Leadership award recipients. Alumna Heather McCracken was awarded for the 2012 conference, while members of the class of 2015, Nataly Mojica and Teresa Kennedy were awarded for their leadership during the 2013 and 2014 conferences, respectively.