Fifty BMCC students joined faculty, staff and guest speakers at a morning send-off event for the 14th Annual Student Women’s Leadership Conference and Retreat Weekend June 5.
Students and chaperones then traveled to the YMCA Fairview Lake Camp and Conference Center in Newton, NJ for a weekend of workshops, outdoor activities and recreational games such as Women’s Jeopardy from June 5 through June 7.
Developed and coordinated by the BMCC Sisterhood Society and Women’s Resource Center, the theme for this year’s three-day retreat was “Sista Warriors Wielding Power.”
Guest Speaker Sandra Altiné
Special guest speaker at this year’s send-off was Sandra Altiné, Managing Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Moody’s Corporation. Altiné has traveled the world implementing corporate initiatives that help women and people of color become senior leaders at Moody’s. Under Altiné’s leadership, Moody’s was recognized in 2013 and 2014 as one of Human Rights Campaign’s Best Companies for LGBT Equality.
“I am a woman of color, and I am the expert helping our CEO, head of HR and our managers understand what they need to do differently to attract and retain more women and people of color to Moody’s,” Altiné told the group.
Citing a quote from author Marianne Williamson’s, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, Altiné encouraged the women not to be afraid of their “inner light.”
“You need to shine your light,” she said.
Barriers still exist
BMCC Provost and Senior Vice President Karrin Wilks also spoke to the group stressing that the world needs more women leaders. Wilks shared statistics that show women are still underrepresented in the nation’s higher echelons of power and influence.
For example, although women make up more than 50 percent of the United States' population, among Fortune 500 companies in 2014, there were just 24 female CEOs.
“We have a long way to go, a long way to ensuring our collective voices and our collective wisdom are central to solving the complex problems of the day, are central to furthering social justice and equal opportunity and are central to making the world a better place,” said Wilks.
BMCC Student Affairs Vice President Marva Craig encouraged the women to bond together over the weekend.
“Sisters, I’m going to ask you to bond as warriors, and I’m going to ask you to find the powers within, and wield them appropriately and most of all, enjoy the experience,” said Craig.
Supporters of this year’s retreat weekend include: BMCC Student Government Association; Barnes and Noble Bookstores; CUNY Central Office Student Affairs; Early Childhood Center; Office of Student Affairs; Sisterhood Society Club; Vice President of Student Affairs; Women’s Resource Center and Moody’s Corporation.