How To Glow-Up 2024! This Year’s Unlock Her Potential (UP) sUPosium Can Change Your Life

By   |   April 4, 2024   |   Lifestyle
sUPosium1 LEAD

As we continue our April Glow-Up 2024, contributor Shara Taylor reveals the Unlock Her Potential (UP) sUPosium and how you can get involved to elevate your career.

Boston-based Sasa Etienne hoped for direction in advancing her career in entertainment. “I’ve wanted to make strides in entertainment since graduating,” Etienne tells DivaGals. “I went to Howard University for TV and film, and I’ve always wanted to work in that field.”Determined to open doors, she found guidance through a program that offers free mentorship for women of color in the United States and their special annual workshop to uplift women.

Unlock Her Potential (UP) paired Etienne with a mentor who gave her feedback throughout the year. She also found inspiration through their symposium, where she met women with similar career ambitions

UP’s second annual sUPosium will return on April 6 in Brooklyn, New York. It’s designed to foster community, coalition, and citizenry and help guide and uplift women like Etienne.

“What’s really fun about sUPosium is that you actually meet other mentees, not even mentees, but volunteers or just other women who heard about the program and bought a ticket just to attend. You meet everyone from different walks of life,” she says.

“It’s a beautiful gathering of people who want to build community and believe in the power of community and who are incredibly supportive of each other,” says UP founder Sophia Chang.

“We just want to provide a comfortable, loving, warm welcoming space, which is more than enough because so many of us don’t actually ever get that as women of color, especially around other women of color.”

Chang will spearhead the workshop as she and her team discuss financial empowerment, effective pitching, personal brand building, overcoming imposter syndrome, and networking. According to last year’s event feedback, 95 percent of attendees were inspired to take a step towards something purposeful and 85 percent made a meaningful connection. More than 200 attendees were women of color.

This year’s event will feature new panelists from industries such as music, news and health as well as scientists, researchers and doctors. Speakers include hip-hop artist and actor Joey Bada$$; CNN News Central co-anchor Sara Sidner; ABC News Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang and more.

sUPosium, visit unlockherpotential.com.

“There are 200 multiracial, multiethnic, multigenerational, multifaith women of color in a room,” Chang says about last year’s event. I have never seen a room of women who are so deeply supportive of each other. It was nothing short of transformative.”

Chang, a screenwriter, author, career coach and past manager of hip-hop artists like RZA, GZA, ODB, D’Angelo, A Tribe Called Quest and more, attributed much of her growth to her own mentor. While working for Paul Simon, she became the mentee of entertainment veteran and musical artist Michael Ostin. She said Ostin opened the door for her, and she intends to keep it open for other women like her. Her program, UP, addresses career opportunity gaps for women of color with meaningful guidance from mentors who meet with mentees one hour per month.

Chang shares that the UP program is open to women of all ages.

“It was important for me that this did not have a ceiling on age,” Chang says. We need and deserve mentors at every age and stage of our careers.”

sUPosium focus is geared towards women of color, but the door is open to everyone and not just UP participants.

A friend recommended the UP program to Etienne, who graduated in 2021. She applied, requested director, actor and writer Cameron J. Ross as her mentor, and was accepted into the 2023 cohort.

“I was working on a script, and with him being a writer, it helped me prepare for me to resubmit again,” she said.

Ross shared his experience of being in Black Hollywood, which inspired Etienne. She later attended the sUPosium and enjoyed it so much that she plans to volunteer this year.

“It gave me more insight into how to move in the industry and a lot of encouragement to keep going on the path that I am on,” she says. “I have a beautiful network of other women in the same predicament as me, and we just kind of feed off each other.”

The event returns to the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU Tisch School of Arts in Brooklyn, N.Y. For more information about UP and details about sUPosium, visit unlockherpotential.com.

 

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