Bronx Alumnae Celebrates International Women’s Day

Submitted by Astere Yemmer-Brown

On March 9, the International Awareness & Involvement Committee of the Bronx Alumnae Chapter (BXAC), hosted its 4th annual International Women’s Day celebration. Over 100 members of the Bronx community came out to hear from dynamic women, embodying the 2024 International Women’s Day theme, “Inspire Inclusion!”

Panelists included Honorary Member & President of MSNBC, Rashida Jones; Chief External Affairs Officer (CXO) & Head of Brand for Vibrant Emotional Health, Lesleigh Irish Underwood; Inaugural President /CEO of the Bronx Community Foundation & Former Chancellor of NYC Public Schools, Meisha Ross Porter; and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Columbia Business School, Lisa Andujar.

Held at the Andrew Freedman Home in the South Bronx, guests were greeted in the Main Hall where they received “Inspire Inclusion” tote bags, special gifts from local women small business owners, and light refreshments. VIP ticket holders who arrived an hour before the main event, enjoyed hot hors d’oeuvres, a meet & greet with panelists, and a live performance in the historic Library Room. The afternoon opened with a mini concert from resident artists, Leah Hanley & Khristine Raymond. The ladies performance included selections on violin and cello. They shared the unique history of each piece highlighting the inspiration while providing background on the struggle of female musicians and their limited visibility in a male dominated industry.

Introductions and a video message from Denee Baptiste, Principal Dancer and choreographer followed. Denee sent a special message to BXAC, after being called in to go on tour, as she was preparing to participate in the celebration. Guests then took part in an awe inspiring conversation moderated by Dr. Sharon Ricks, Co-chair of the International Awareness & Involvement Committee. Bringing with them their expertise in navigating the nuances of passionate leadership within their fields of choice, each panelist shared past experiences, paths to their current positions, and a need to address the gap that currently exists within the workplace, not just for women, but specifically women of color. They put out a “call to action” for the women in the space to require more of themselves and those around them in all areas of leadership.

At the conclusion of the conversation, guests had the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists and the ladies provided action based solutions to audience members facing challenges in their own professional spaces. All were reminded of the work that Bronx Alumnae does year round and given an opportunity to support Delta’s Sustainability Fund in hopes of expanding the reach of the International Awareness & Involvement committee.

As was shared by Soror Lesleigh Irish-Underwood, “Don’t let people create things about you, without you!” We believe in this message, and attendees were asked to complete a short survey providing feedback for the committee’s review on how best to continue creating impactful programming in support of the Bronx community and its residents. Bronx Alumnae believes in the value that women bring to all spaces and we hope that as an organization & sisterhood, we continue to “Inspire Inclusion!” for years to come!

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