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Launching Our Women in Leadership Series

Last week marked a significant milestone at Graham as we hosted the inaugural event in our Women in Leadership speaker series. This series spotlights women leaders who are making history through their personal and professional journeys. Our President and CEO, Kimberly Watson, moderated an engaging discussion with esteemed guests Portia Archer, COO of the NBA G League, and Karol Mason, President of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Reflecting on their past experiences, a common thread emerged among the panelists as each woman acknowledged how her initial career vision differed from her current role. The panelists emphasized the unforeseen impact of their college and postgraduate endeavors in shaping their current leadership roles, demonstrating the adaptability needed in the ever-changing landscape of their careers.

A pivotal moment during the event was the inclusion of pre-recorded questions from Graham SLAM students. These young people work with professional coaches as they pursue their educational and career goals. Their questions focused on advice for navigating career paths, finding opportunities, and ascending into leadership roles. Networking also emerged as a key theme, as the panelists discussed the importance of building meaningful relationships. Karol Mason encouraged Graham’s youth to “dream without restraint.”

The panel also delved into their experiences as women of color in leadership roles. In particular, Portia Archer spoke to young people of color with an important message about resilience: “It’s important to pack your patience.” Despite facing challenges, the panelists stressed the importance of determination in overcoming obstacles. Their experiences underscored the significance of breaking barriers and using their positions to inspire and advocate for change, contributing to a nuanced understanding of leadership in diverse fields.

Karol, Kimberly, and Portia’s powerful discussion will be the first entry in our digital Career Journey Library. This online resource provides insights and inspiration for Graham’s young people as they navigate their own career paths with courage, resilience, and determination. If you would like to share your professional journey with Graham’s youth, please sign up here.

The success of our first Women in Leadership panel has sparked excitement for the upcoming events in this transformative Graham series. The series is poised to become a cornerstone in building connections, sharing wisdom, and inspiring future leaders across various industries. As Graham looks ahead, we are committed to showcasing diverse perspectives and furthering dialogue on leadership and growth to empower the next generation.