Poised and primed for success, a group of young women filled the Juniper Networks Aspiration Dome in Sunnyvale, eager to soak up advice from outstanding career women at the Young Women’s Summit hosted by Professional Business Women of California.
< p>Founded by Congresswoman Jackie Speier in 1989, the professional association is one of the largest women’s organizations in California, offering webinars, scholarships and networking opportunities designed to inspire confidence in women to fulfill their dreams.
With the theme – “Be Fearless. Be Confident. Be You” – Tuesday’s summit connected high school and college students with business women who talked about their successes, their disappointments and the lessons they learned in the pursuit of their careers.
Actor and filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom encouraged the young women to challenge the status quo as the next generation of leaders.
“The world is your oyster, and you are it’s pearl,” said Newsom.
A panel of women who work in media, engineering, and management gave advice that their young mentees could take with them.
“There is no such thing as failure. I feel like the only time you could fail yourself is when you give up,” said panelist Candase Chambers, an Oakland native and production assistant at E! Entertainment Television.
“Everything you do, do your best and you’ll learn at it. It will prepare you for the moment where you can step into that role [you dream of] and you can be great at it. You’ll be ready for that opportunity,” Chambers said.
“Do something every day that scares you,” said panelist Joanne Pasternack, director of the 49ers Foundation & Community Relations.
Inspired by their stories, students like Brittany Hicks-Howard, Khloe Heath and Sparkle Gibson took those words to heart.
“Its good to hear from people who are successful,” Heath said, a high school senior who plans to study chemical engineering.
Women’s association President Nicole Soluri hopes that the summit will help young women throughout their journey.
“Whatever we look like, whatever our passion in life, whatever our career objective, we are all women,” Soluri said, “We’re all a sisterhood that should help each other grow and deal with challenges and really achieve our dreams.”