Lifting As We Climb A Black Women’s Leadership Development Program

The Black Women’s Leadership Development Program will be a leadership development program for black women in their first or second year at the University of Virginia. It will occur in the spring semester each year. It will be a composed of a variety of sessions in which the young women all come together for sessions that will teach them leadership skills—including but not limited to: public speaking, networking, interview skills, basic knowledge about community organizing, and more. They will be divided into small groups based on interests. Each small group will have a third or fourth year black woman as group leader who serves as part of the planning committee as well. Each session will cover a variety of topics that are essential for black women to thrive in leadership roles. This will range from the expected leadership skills such as networking, interview tips & writing resumes, as well as more rare leadership skills such as the importance of self-care as a political tool, getting involved in activism, dealing with microagressions, among others. These sessions will be led by a combination of third and fourth year women on the committee as well as black women such as faculty, staff, and community members that want to be involved and have knowledge to share. Additionally, all committee members/small group leaders must commit to being mentors to their small groups. This includes not only serving them in whatever way they can, but also meeting with them outside of formal sessions. All mentors must commit to providing their personal information to the program and following up with opportunities they end up getting and where they go post-graduation. This will result in a community of black women supporting each other, and committing to lifting as they climb.

(Note: For clarification’s sake, any time I say “women,” trans women are always included in that. The word “women” also includes non-binary people who feel as though they are aligned with womanhood.)