Young Women's Leadership Conference 2023

Young Women's Leadership Conference 2023

On Thursday, March 30, Burroughs hosted the St. Louis Young Women's Leadership Conference featuring keynote speaker Amanda Nguyen, a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee, a 2022 TIME Woman of the Year, and an internationally recognized social entrepreneur and civil rights activist who has made significant contributions to codify the rights of survivors of sexual assault. 

Nguyen also addressed students in morning assembly on Friday, March 31, during which she shared her personal journey following her assault and how her experience inspired her to write legislation to better support other survivors through Rise, a nongovernmental civil rights organization of which she is founder and CEO. She also spoke about her ongoing astronaut training at NASA. Students were previously introduced to Amanda’s advocacy efforts by Madeline Buchowski '23, who met Nguyen as the recipient of the Newman Prize.

"There are a lot of different ways to combine the things that you are and that you love, because we are all multitudes," Nguyen said of her journey. "If I think about myself when I was your age, I felt like there was a lot of pressure to choose what school I wanted to go to, to figure out what my major was going to be, to fit neatly into a label, and that's just not the human condition. 

"We can dream to be one thing and then have side quests that are really important, and then come back to it. We can love astrophysics and also love fashion. We are multitudes."

After Friday's assembly, Nguyen remained in Haertter Hall during 1st and 2nd periods to chat further with students interested in hearing more about her work.

The Young Women's Leadership Conference was a powerful and inspiring experience for all involved and provided a valuable opportunity for attendees to come together and learn from successful female leaders in various fields including fashion, education, and entrepreneurship. 

  • Entrepreneur and fashion designer Daphne Benzaquen, M.B.A. (John Burroughs School, Class of 2008)
  • Educator and leader Robyn Viloria Wiens, Ed.D. (Ladue Horton Watkins H.S., Class of 1996)
  • Female futurist and serial entrepreneur Danielle Kayembe, M.A. (Whitfield School, Class of 1995)

Thank you to Madeline Buchowski '23 (co-chair), Ayomide Ajakaiye '25 (co-chair), Priyanka Antony '25, Lucy Collier '26, Olivia Hindle '26, Story Kummer '26, Ella Merritt '24, Maddie Williams '26, and Monet Witherspoon '24, for their hard work and dedication to make this event a success. Additional support was provided by the Burroughs Alumni Association and the Community & Equity Partnership.

You can watch excerpts from this year's Young Women's Leadership Conference below.


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