My Sister’s Keeper Success Institute to host its annual Young Women’s Leadership Conference

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My Sister’s Keeper Success Institute’s first young women’s leadership conference in January 2019. Valley News/Courtesy photo

Success will be the word of the day at the Empower Her: Mentoring Rising Stars Young Women’s Leadership Conference Saturday, Dec. 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presented by My Sister’s Keeper Success Institute, a nonprofit organization, the event will feature keynote speaker Avis Brown-Riley, who is an author, golf champion and mentor.

“Our annual conference is a time of inspiration and excellence, celebrating the success of our mentees and recognizing our supporters,” Kristen Newsome, founder and executive director of My Sister’s Keeper Success Institute, said.

The Temecula-based nonprofit was established in 2017 and began offering programs in 2018. Its first conference was launched in January 2019, and MSKSI has hosted three more since then with more than 150 participants.

“I founded this organization with a vision of mentoring young women in communities of color to become the next innovators who cure diseases, explore space, heal our environment, start and run innovative businesses and create technology that changes the world. Our work shifts narratives about what is possible for young women of color as we invest in helping them to see their best future selves through the power of mentoring,” Newsome said.

Newsome, a Murrieta resident since 2004, said the annual conferences aim to engage champions in various industries and walks of life as keynote mentors to help young women of color believe differently about what is possible for their future and connect them to mentoring programs that will increase the odds of them reaching their goals. This year’s theme is “Developing the Champion Within You” and will engage interactive activities around presentation skills, communicating strengths and a panel discussion on “The Power of a Champion’s Story.”

“We will discuss the creative force of our own lives and the impact of how we interpret events that happen to us,” Newsome said. “Young women who have attended past events have gained insight into their leadership style, discovered tools for mindfulness, confidence, visualized ways that they can change the world through careers in STEM and business and have been mentored to create an actionable plan to accomplish their goals.”

She said keynote speakers have included women leading in industries such as engineering, chemistry, psychology and business. This year’s keynote is one of the first African American female Junior Golf Champions in the U.S., Avis Brown-Riley.

Newsome said many of the girls who attended past conferences have continued to participate in MSKSI mentoring and personal development programs that continue the leadership and personal development focus of the conference year-round.

“Girls who attend have reported that they are encouraged to know they are capable of leading and finding success in ways they had perhaps never imagined and that they are inspired by the women that look like them who stand before them as living examples of their own potential,” she said.

STEAM and STEM mentoring and personal development programs are offered throughout the year at MSKSI. In 2022, they will be conducting the second part of a Math Mentoring Program, launching an Engineering Academy and giving girls the opportunity to participate in a virtual life-sciences summer program offered by CHOC and University Lab Partners: the Medical Innovation, Research and Entrepreneurship Program.

“We will also host our girls’ personal development monthly mentoring sessions and a summer day camp program at a local high school in early June,” Newsome said. “Parent information sessions and training will also be scheduled throughout the year to support parents as they support their students over the school year.”

Newsome has more than 20 years’ experience in career coaching, personal and professional development. She was a Senior Advisor for the Career & Personal Readiness Program for Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and assisted military members and their families in transitioning to civilian life and careers. She also had a strong career as a business coach “helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses that create raving fans and repeat clients.”

“It has been my experience in life that mentors make a difference,” Newsome said. “Challenges can seem overwhelming, and mentors can make challenges seem achievable. For me, mentoring was not always intentional, as in a program I participated in. I watched and emulated the examples of women in my community whom I respected, and I admired their commitment to elevate everything they touched and to leave the world better than they found it.”

Founded for the purpose of targeting education equity, Newsome said not enough young people of color are developing the fundamental skills needed to succeed in STEM careers, yet this is rapidly growing as the highest-demand industry of the 21st century. “Young women of color, African Americans, Latinas and Native Americans are the least represented in STEM careers and higher education,” she said. “We are focused on changing that narrative and creating a seat at the table for young women to lead important and groundbreaking change that will impact not only their communities, but the world.”

Newsome knows that not every girl has the benefit of being in direct relationships with people who inspire their dreams, and these are the connections she hopes to make for the girls within her organization.

“You will find Kristen to be one dynamic lady who is on a mission to help our female youth,” Murrieta entrepreneur Rebecca Owens, founder and CEO of Swellter Inc., said.

“As many of the parents who have daughters in our program say, having a supportive mentoring community of women could have been a difference-maker in their lives as young women, and they love the fact that it is available for their girls,” Newsome said. “It is very important for young women to have exposure to the diverse and exciting possibilities that exist for their futures and to have the support to pursue them. With representation, it becomes easier to imagine yourself solving different types of problems in the world and to understand it is within your reach.”

She said the nonprofit is always seeking volunteer mentors and corporate sponsors to participate in and support its work. “We are also seeking referrals to potential mentees that want to discover how they can help change the world for the better,” Newsome said. “We are accepting registration for our interest list for 2022 mentoring programs. We welcome everyone to support our mission through donations; no gift is too great or too small.”

Newsome said the conference is one that every girl from age 10-17 should attend “whether confident or shy, STEM princesses or girls who may not see themselves as math, engineering or science girls.”

Tickets for this year’s conference in Murrieta are available at https://linktr.ee/msksi and only available in advance. The ticket price for adults is $35 and includes lunch. Girls ages 10-17 are free but must register and attend with a responsible adult. The deadline to register is Nov. 30 but seating is limited so early ticket purchases are encouraged.

For more information, visit http://www.msksi.com or email info@msk-successinstitute.org.