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Celebrating 50 Years of HEOP: Students Attend Inclusive Leadership Conference

February 20, 2019
  • Inclusive Leadership Conference 2019
  • Inclusive Leadership Conference
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) being part of New York State legislation, with programs now at over 50 private colleges across the state. To kick off a yearlong celebratory campaign at MMC, HEOP Director Harmony Cross and HEOP Counselor and Coordinator Keith Windsor accompanied students from MMC’s HEOP to Temple University in Philadelphia for the annual Inclusive Leadership Conference on Saturday, February 9.

The day-long conference is designed to give college students the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills through presentations, workshops, dialogues, and panel discussions on topics related to inclusive leadership and social change. 

Targeted for students in the Philadelphia region, MMC’s HEOP students received a special invitation to attend and were the only New York school to participate.

Students were treated to a keynote address from Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta. Additionally, Tiffany Tavares—originally from the Bronx, NY, and now the VP of Community Relations at Wells Fargo—met privately with MMC students for a discussion about the importance of putting forth a great effort during college to achieve academic excellence. 

This was the first of many events MMC HEOP students will be participating in and hosting throughout this 50th Anniversary year—be sure to check the HEOP events page for details on upcoming activities, and stay tuned for more information about our 50th Anniversary Celebration in fall 2019.


Read below for our students’ feedback on this engaging and enlightening day:

“Today’s conference was very eye opening and inspirational…[it showed] me that it does not matter how big or small the impact is; any positive action will create change. Even if it’s just one person at a time, as long as we all are supporting each other, together we can dismantle the unjust socioeconomic system. That way we can all have equity access to resources and what’s needed to help us advance within our society”.
–Eneida Hernandez ’19


“I am honored to have attended this year’s Inclusive Leadership Conference at Temple University…It definitely changed my perspective about finding my voice and [understanding] the power I have to speak up and advocate for what matters. I want to thank Harmony and Keith for this amazing opportunity that will forever remain with me through my path of success.”
–Carolin Diaz ’19


“Today was honestly a great experience! I always have leadership roles at work and at school and I’ve learned that there’s no way to be a perfect leader and that there’s always room to learn and improve…The Advocacy keynote was my favorite, getting to learn and understand that our voices are needed in order to create change…[for example,] something that I’m still working on is to get people to see why more Latinx actors deserve representation in TV and film; [the reason] no one is doing anything about it is because not enough people are speaking up on it.” 
–Adrian Alexander ’19


“Today I learned that in order for me to progress in the future in my career and in my life in general, I have to get out my comfort zone.This is something that I have heard my entire life but that I have ignored. I feel today was the final push I needed to start doing things outside my comfort zone.This is going to be a long and hard task, but for the first time in my life, I’m willing to change that”.
–Ken Duran ’19


“I’ve learned about new people’s perspectives and other ways of understanding things in respect to diversity that I probably would not have thought about before. Diversity is not simply about the color of our skin or our native language. It’s the variety of religions, cultures, mental, physical disabilities and everything that makes us both related and different from each other.”
–Catherine I. Shimabuku ’20
 

“In today’s conference, I learned that…we can use storytelling to connect with others who understand our personal struggles. Furthermore, we should pay attention to the issues that makes us angry and disgusted. Channel that anger and use that energy to do something about the issues that are currently happening in today’s society. This conference encouraged me and opened my eyes to the many tools and resources we can use to create communities we wish to see younger generation grow up in. We all have the potential to be leaders”.
–Jennifer Acevedo ’19


“The Inclusive Leadership Conference taught me to b
e aware of delivery and tone when sharing an opinion or speaking in public…I learned to step outside of my comfort zone…and to listen to learn about new ideas before throwing my own opinions and ideas in and to be open-minded to other people opinions.”
–Christine Mitchell ’20


“The conference allowed me to learn about the challenges of racism and inequality. We also spoke about ways to be leaders and solutions to overcome these challenges.”

–Edgar Tlapanco ’19


“The conference helped me figure out how to address certain situations in the workplace or in everyday life by controlling the tone of my voice. One may have good intentions, but it can be interpreted differently based on the tone of one’s voice…It made me realize that I can still approach situations accordingly, but in a cordial and calm manner so that nobody gets the wrong idea or gets hurt.”
–Kayleen Cabrera ’22