Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Latina empowerment and development (LEAD) conference at Harvard College

The fourth annual LEAD Conference unfolded without a hitch.  Neither the cold nor the icy conditions stopped participants from attending this past Saturday morning.  They came from as far as California and New York to get inspiration from successful Latinas, to learn outside the classroom, and to network with others who want to make a difference. 
LEAD 2011 committee.  Photo credit:  Vanessa Monterosa
The conference was organized by Latinas Unidas at Harvard College, a student group founded in 1991.    True to the acronym that defines their name, the committee worked with a graduate student advisor—a first for the group—to be strategic about the organization and implementation of the conference.  “My experience with these wonderful young ladies has been nothing but rewarding:  They are bright, intelligent, dependable, and proactive,” said Vanessa Monterosa, the graduate student advisor who is currently pursuing a degree in Technology in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Throughout the day, attendees enjoyed panel discussions and workshops ranging from resume, cover letter and interviewing tips to conversations about improving the number of Latinos attending and graduating from college.  Marcela Garcia, the editor from El Planeta newspaper, keynoted the event.
Two themes captured the essence of the 2011 LEAD Conference:
Perseverance.  In one form or another, panelists and workshop facilitators stressed the importance of being focused and staying the course.  “When you see an opportunity, grab it and stick with it,” advised Yvonne Garcia, Director of Segment Marketing at Liberty Mutual and National Vice President of ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting).
Pay it forward.  During the session Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders, Dr. Paz Olivérez, Founder and Director of Futuros, a California-based organization that promotes and improves college access for low income and immigrant students, reminded the audience of the responsibility of giving back.  “Having a college education is a privilege that not everyone has,” she added.  “And with privilege comes the responsibility to support the efforts of those who want to attend college but face obstacles.”

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Flip the script

Have you tried writing down your goals this year?


  1. It was such a great conference! Both students and presenters learned a lot from each other! You did a great job in your panel!

  2. Thanks, Mariela. I was so inspired by the students in the audience. They were so eager to learn and share their stories!