More than 500 women from across various industries joined City Year Boston for the 9th annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast, presented by Fidelity Investments. The event convened diverse and powerful women to learn about and support City Year's service and see firsthand the impact a dedicated mentor can have in a young person's life. Our speakers showcased how mentors -- whether bosses, teachers, or City Year AmeriCorps members -- can help launch a career, offer support through a challenging time, or make space at the table for future leaders. Together, guests rallied behind this cause and raised over $320,000 for City Year Boston!
Check out event photos on our SmugMug.
The keynote of our powerhouse speaking program was Dr. Karla Estrada, Deputy Superintendent of Student Support Services with the Boston Public Schools. She shared her personal experience as the daughter of immigrants and her journey to obtaining her doctorate, eventually building a career rooted in creating more diverse and inclusive learning opportunities for all students. She called upon the women in the room to create more equitable spaces in Boston and to bring other women into them, referencing pioneering politician Shirley Chisholm's quote, "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." She emphasized the critical need for this in breaking down opportunity gaps for Boston's students. As Dr. Estrada shared:
"Throughout our students’ lives, we must support them in understanding that their voices and identities matter and can be a source of power and strength. And no matter how hard we work in Boston Public Schools, we cannot do this in isolation. It’s why partnerships like the one we have with City Year are so critical to closing opportunity gaps for our young people. Today 289 City Year Boston AmeriCorps members will spend their day helping students overcomes challenges in their lives and learn skills that will allow them to drive to their futures. I cannot overstate the impact this will have on our students."
Both Dr. Estrada and Geryel Osorio, our AmeriCorps speaker, highlighted the value of strong mentors and support systems who helped them to believe in themselves. Geryel, a Senior AmeriCorps member serving at the McKay K-8 School in East Boston, spoke to the importance of representation in education and seeing people of color in places of power and leadership. Geryel shared stories of two students whom she bonded deeply with over their shared identities as immigrants and Latinas. By taking time to get to know these young girls, Geryel empowered them to further engage in the classroom and pursue their passions.
Sangeeta Moorjani, Head of Workplace Investing Product, Marketing and Advice with Fidelity Investments, and Janelle Woods-McNish, City Year Boston Board member, both encouraged attendees to give their time and dollars to causes like City Year that nurture future leaders. Janelle highlighted the transformation she saw in her younger sister after serving with City Year and the skills she finds in City Year alumni, having hired several of them at her company, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare.
We extend our sincere gratitude to all of our speakers and guests for investing in City Year's work. We extend a special thanks to our sponsors: Fidelity Investments, EY, Nordstrom, MFS, American Tower, State Street Corporation, TIAA, The Urban Grape, Boston Business Journal, and Simmons College. If you missed the event or would like to support City Year, donate here; a gift of or above $1,000 offers membership to our Women's Leadership Network and a roster of social and service events throughout the year that build community and awareness for City Year's work in Boston Public Schools.