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A Charitable Affair

Last Saturday I spent the day at the AOL offices in New York City for the Step Up Career Connections Conference. A day filled with events, learning, inspiration, and motivation would best describe it.

The women of Step Up were more than welcoming and the teens were kind, smart, and curious. I quickly remembered what it was like to be 16, and I give the girls I met big props for their openness and willingness to learn. When I was 16, I thought I knew everything. I sure didn’t, and I still don’t (even though sometimes I like to think I do.  

The morning started off with a meet and greet and then we were paired off with teens and women who are in the same career field or aspire to be in the same industry. I was in the fashion, arts, media, and creative group, and the woman figure for this group was Donna Karan (coincidentally I used to be the Brand Manager for DKNY Sleepwear, so I thought that was kind of fun!). The teens I worked with wanted to be designers, artists, writers, or entrepreneurs of some sort. One girl I worked with was very adamant about thinking outside of the box. I like that!

Through out the day we participated in and attended many interesting and interactive events. We learned how to prepare for a public speaking presentation. I never knew what it meant to breathe through my feet, but now I do, and it is definitely an exercise that helped me feel more grounded. This is a technique that will stick with me for life.

During lunch we listened to a panel of successful career driven women – a Heart Surgeon, a Lawyer, a Political Professional, and a Software Engineer. It was so inspiring to hear their stories and how they climbed the career ladder in their male dominated fields. They were both educational and inspirational, and they all have #girlboss attributes.

Helping the teens build their business cards and “elevator pitch” was my favorite part! Getting your point across in 30 seconds is no easy task. I was impressed with their ability to do so. This is something I still struggle with!

I also met many wonderful women with impressive careers. It was great to feel a part of something and like I’m not alone in my mission and values. At the end of the day we were asked to use one word to best describe how we were feeling. My word was motivated.

I can’t wait to participate in my next Step Up event!

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@2014 alexis mera.