“When the whole world is silent even one voice becomes powerful.” This was one of the many banners that filled the auditorium of Notre Dame of Maryland University, Baltimore, Maryland, on Wednesday, December 2, 2015, where Baltimore County Public Schools hosted a Leadership Summit for Young Women in High School. The day’s focus was on academic and career issues.
Young women representing every BCPS high school took part in this professional learning opportunity. More than 215 students were chosen by their principals to participate. After registration and breakfast, welcoming and introductory remarks were shared by Dr. Marylou Yam, President of Notre Dame of Maryland University, along with keynote remarks from BCPS superintendent, Dr. S. Dallas Dance, both who stressed the importance of women in leadership, as well as characteristics of a leader, throughout our state, country, and the world.
Mrs. Mary Ann Scully, the President and CEO of Howard Bank provided an inspiring message to those in attendance as well as a unique and special gift that every young women should have to accessorize their wardrobe. A lifelong banker with over thirty years of varied executive experiences in the Maryland marketplace, Mrs. Scully, communicated components of her transformational journey as she headed the organizing team for Howard Bank, in 2003. Mrs. Scully shared with the young women that as a woman in the workplace and/or a leadership role within, you don’t have to be traditional in your dress as you head for the school, office or a corporate board room. Mrs.Scully stated, “Women, do not have to wear the traditional blue, black, gray or brown attire, but can make a statement about who they are through their dress.” “Wearing bright colors, beautiful scarves and jewelry such as strands of pearls can convey your personality. Don’t be afraid of selecting colorful, professional clothing and accessories in the work place.” As those statements were being made, women from both Howard Bank and Baltimore County Public Schools, awarded each young lady in the audience with a shiny black box that was tied elegantly with a red bow. As boxes were opened, the young women’s faces lite up with excitement and delight, finding a strand of pearls within each box. This was a moment to remember and possibly the beginning to their professional wardrobe. The Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools, Inc., would personally like to thank Mrs. Mary Ann Scully and the Howard Bank for their generous donation to the young women of Baltimore County Public Schools.
Major General Linda L. Singh, the Adjutant General of Maryland, was the keynote speaker for the summit. The Adjutant General shared her life experiences with the young women, praising both her family, especially her grandmother, as well as the officer who recruited her into the National Guard Bureau when she was a young women. She credits other individuals who made an impact on her as she was growing up and shared and explained the characteristics that helped to support her as a women in a leadership role where the majority of her colleagues are men.
Following the many powerful messages during the opening of the summit, two workshops focusing on building skills in areas ranging from confronting racism, building self-esteem, leadership confidence, time management, and managing a digital footprint to college selection and effective interviewing, were selected and attended by each participant. The day ended with many collaborative conversations in the dining room where our young women made many new friends from various high schools. Students in attendance were those who exhibit leadership potential but were not playing a traditional leadership role from diverse grades, races, and achievement levels. After the summit, each young women packed up their materials in a colorful back sack donated by Office Depot and boarded the buses to return to their high school with newly gained knowledge and the voices of many powerful woman from the state of Maryland within their heads for reflection.
This year’s summit follows last year’s inaugural Leadership Summit for Young Men in High School. The summits provide a unique opportunity for students to engage in leadership development with students from around the county.
On behalf of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and staff, we extended a monumental thank you to our TEAM BCPS partners for your significant giving to the Leadership Summit for Young Women in High School.
Dr. Marylou Yam, President of Notre Dame University of Maryland
Mrs. Mary Ann Scully, President and CEO Howard Bank
Ms. Jennifer Miller, Instructional Lead Consultant – Education – Office Depot’s Mid-Atlantic Region – Education Division