The girls who attended GfG’s Virtual Career Summit for Girls: Led by Visionary Women - Learning, Leading, Lifting! were exposed to a diverse range of careers, but the common factor between all of the 16 women who spoke was their definition of what it means to be a “visionary woman''. While the speakers represented some careers that are thought of as rigid, such as law, and others that may be assumed as more creative, like architecture, the speakers showed that planning for a future in a particular field doesn’t have to mean putting yourself into one box. Being “visionary” is all about planning for the future with a sense of curiosity about what individual capabilities and interests can lead to when they are applied to something that a child becomes passionate about.
Janice Comer was a panelist and breakout room speaker at the event, who spoke about where her degree in architecture has taken her since she graduated from Syracuse University in 2019. She was inspired to learn more about architecture by a character who pursued the field on the show, How I Met Your Mother. After Janice Comer expressed interest in the career to her father, he enrolled her in architecture programs for two summers in high school, one of which was at the college she would later enroll.
Janice told the girls at the Summit that she was sure of her love for being creative and pursuing design after graduating, but she didn’t know where to channel these passions. She used her sense of curiosity about what she could do with the skills she acquired in school to get a job at a visual and audio design firm, where she placed and sourced objects. Her first project as a lead designer was for the MLB store on 6th avenue, across from Radio City. Janice was proud to tell the girls that getting the store’s sound to travel from the speakers simultaneously with its lighting was a task, but that part of the project was, “all her”.
Janice currently works as a freelance architect for residential interiors, helping her bosses reach their clients’ goals for their dream homes. She gets to touch on the project management skills and interior design skills she learned in her previous job, while using her love of product design that grew while she was in school. Part of Janice’s current position is rigid, since she gets “red marks” and her job is to make clean-cut drawings for the licensed architects she works for. Her time spent drawing is also hard work spent learning, since Janice is currently working towards becoming a licensed architect. Janice’s discovery of designing interiors has led her to develop a passion that incorporates her interest and minor in art history. “With interiors, everyone has different tastes,” she told the girls, “and being able to understand where the inspiration comes from that makes someone’s dream space a reality is absolutely fantastic!”
Jamila Moore was inspired to pursue a career in law after her seventh grade teacher created an interactive activity that allowed her to argue for something she was passionate about - so Jamila did the same for her groups at the Summit. Jamila enthusiastically volunteered to try out, as she said, “representing and advocating for an idea, a person, or a company for the first time,” when her teacher put a student on trial to decide what the consequences would be for disrupting the class’ learning. Jamila realized that she could pursue a career in law after her teacher called her home after the mock trial and said that she should consider becoming an attorney.
While Jamila had a passion for the job early on, she didn’t decide to go to law school directly after graduating from Hampton University. Jamila informed the girls about the hard work that was required of her while working during the day and taking night classes to become a transactional attorney. She gave the girls in her breakout rooms a taste of the kind of drive that is required in her profession by calling on each of them to use their creativity to advocate for themselves. Career Summit attendees Gabbi, Alisha, and Lailah were brought together into the dance group G.A.B. and asked to present their arguments about whether they would or would not participate in the last five performances of their tour with Beyonce, after having a disagreement. With that prompt, three smiling girls un-muted themselves and took their chance at trying a new career by thinking on their feet to use reason and passion to make their case.
We asked all of the girls who participated in the event to fill out a feedback form in order to know what they got out of the event and who GfG can follow-up with on any interests or questions they shared. Five of the girls wrote that law is a career that was more interesting to learn about than they thought it would be, and two of the girls said that they want to learn more about pursuing law as a career. Five girls also shared that architecture is a career that they want to learn more about pursuing. Learning, Leading, and Lifting are all part of the hard work that will come with the pursuit of finding a career - and GfG is here to remind girls that these are also benefits of developing your passion.