Colorful Conversations…
But for Reaching Back

Colorful Conversations Participants

How do you contribute to the success of others?

Bring people along.

Stay engaged.

Pay it forward.

Those were some of the words of advice given to the nearly 50 attendees of the second annual Colorful Conversations on March 25, 2015. The event, co-sponsored by the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Central Ohio Chapter and ODI’s Leadership Initiatives for Women of Color (LIWOC) and the Office of Advancement, featured a panel of three distinguished Ohio State alumnae: Kathy Espy, Director of Diversity and Community Initiatives at Mount Carmel College of Nursing; Stephanie Hightower, President and CEO of the Columbus Urban League and President and Chairman of the Board of USA Track & Field; and Lea Madry, an associate nonprofit consultant at Plenty in Chicago.

After words of welcome from LIWOC director Victoria Dunn, Valerie Lee, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, and Brenda Drake, First lady of The Ohio State University, and Linda Kanney, president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Central Ohio Chapter, moderator MarLita Barlett guided the panelists to talk about their experiences at Ohio State and beyond. Each recalled their favorite memory at the university: Kathy Espy remembered meeting her husband-to-be soon after arriving on campus; Stephanie Hightower talked about athletic study tables; and Lea Madry mentioned that as a student, she was a part of OURS, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Undergraduate Recruitment Society. Each then went on to offer advice to those who are following in their footsteps – the importance of mentors and not giving all your energy to your job; when presenting a problem, have a solution at hand; and being a leader means acting like one and being loyal to those who helped you in the past. The luncheon closed with questions from the audience about the challenges that Ohio State faces in the future and how to break down barriers so that progress can be made.

Colorful Conversations Participants

In addition to the Colorful Conversations Luncheon, LIWOC also hosts the annual Women of Color Retreat, and Mission STEM-Possible, which works to inform pre-collegiate students about careers in science.

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