Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown hosted her fifth Annual “Next Generation of Leaders: Rising Stars” event at City Hall on Wednesday in the Mayor’s Reception Room to a standing room only crowd. CBS3’s Erika von Tiehl served as mistress of ceremonies and recording artist Carol Riddick entertained the crowd with a performance of the song “A Better Me,” from her album “Moments Like This.”
Speakers included Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, whose keynote address focused on the “Power of Women” and challenged the audience to “Each one, reach one, teach one,” by seeking out young women to mentor, and to “be informed by history, but don’t be a slave to tradition” as they try to put their own stamp on the world.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter pledged to work with the Councilwoman Brown in finding opportunities to challenge gender inequality. “You are all change agents in your community,” said Nutter. “You will be the next CEOs, university presidents, school administrators and there will be a mayor — a female mayor — of the city of Philadelphia. (We) expect to do something about the complete lack of female, minority representation on corporate, private, non-profit boards, and the CEO suites of those perspective organizations. We are tremendously well-represented in the general population, and tremendously under-represented in the many, many organizations that employ thousands of people, make decisions on a daily basis that affect hundreds of thousands of people lives, and millions, if not billions, of dollars. If we are truly to be the fully integrated society that we’re striving to be here in America, then that must extend to the corporate suite and board rooms, and to those that are high-level decision makers throughout the public sector and the non-profit sector.”
Nutter’s director of communications and public relations, Desiree Peterkin Bell, gave the initial keynote address and told a chilling story of her post-911 career working for Mayors Michael Bloomberg in New York City and Corey Booker in Newark, N.J. She challenged awardees to “make themselves uncomfortable” as they climb the ladder. “Don’t spend major time with minor people,” advised Reynolds Brown, as she encouraged attendees to use Twitter to share their favorite moments and inspirational quotes from the evening. The list of “Next Generation of Leaders: Rising Stars” 2012 awardees are: Heather S. Blakeslee, Sabrina Brooks, Angela Giampolo, Esq., Rachel M. Keene, Esq., Melissa Kim, Yocasta Lora, Noel Roberts, Dana Rubenstein, Erin Trent and Tina Wells.