Empowering Women One Speaker At a Time

Photo courtesy of NOVA

NOVA will host the 2019 VISION conference on International Women’s Day


In celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD), the Alexandria Campus of Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), will be hosting the VISION 2019 event, which will feature motivational speeches from four guest speakers, including an individual from the Dominican Republic. The event, which will be held on March 8 at 10 a.m. in room AA 196 of the Donald L. Bisdorf Building, is organized by an international student from the Dominican Republic, Marlin Estevez.

Even though the conference is planned as a celebration of IWD, everyone is encouraged to attend. The speakers will share their knowledge and tips about business, professional skills and college success through real-life stories and examples. The event is free but spots are limited, so registration is required through Eventbrite.

The conference’s first speaker, Taylor Simpson, will be presenting about “Embodying Your Ideal Self To Create Abundance.” Simpson is the founder of The Confidence Academy as well as a motivational speaker and social media influencer, whose mission is to “help women uncover hidden beliefs, discover blind/spots and dissolve labels that have been holding them back for way too long,” according to the conference’s website. She has coached and supported thousands of people and businesses in her career, and will be sharing with the attendees tips for financial success and overcoming limiting attitudes.

Erika Coddington, the student engagement coordinator at NOVA, has been working in student success for over a decade. According to the conference website, Coddington’s experience includes working as Success Coach for NOVA’s Extended Learning Institute, helping to launch the Early Alert system for academically at-risk students and creating several success webinars for students. She is currently serving as chair of NOVA’s Career Working Group, and will speak about college and career success in “Pitching Yourself & Your Skills To Prospective Employers” at the conference.

Judith Cury is a civil engineer with a master’s degree in marketing and postgraduate studies in business administration. According to the same website she is the “first person in the Dominican Republic to create an advertising agency designed to cater exclusively to women.” Cury is also the founder of the Prosperanza Foundation, which ties into her presentation, “Prosperanza: Building a Better Future For Women In the Dominican Republic.” Cury’s foundation focuses on empowering women to be active members of the economy and the community.

Evelyn Arredondo, a specialist in Community Engagement at the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute, will be the event’s final speaker. According to the conference website, she is a third-year American studies student at the Columbian College of Arts and a Reach Higher Peer Near Fellow for Michelle Obama’s Better Make Room campaign.

Arredondo is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and was born in Bakersfield, California before going to D.C to work for Michelle Obama, a change that she will focus on in her presentation, “From Bakersfield, CA to Working for Michelle Obama in DC.” Arredondo has wide experience as a social justice advocate, including jobs and fellowships with organizations like Young People For and the Labor Council for the Latin American Advancement, and currently works as a museum teacher at the Dumbarton House.

Conferences like this are being held more and more often at the different campuses of NOVA Community College. In the past week, Manassas Campus hosted the Social Justice Conference: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges, which featured speakers like Mohammed Bilal with “12 Steps to Appreciating Diversity.” It also included the presentation “Say What!? A Microaggression Workshop,” and many other guests from different universities and institutions. More information on these and other upcoming events of interest can be found at NOVA Student Life offices on any campus, as well as on their related social media profiles.