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BC Women's Summit Will Feature Keynote Speaker Ayanna Pressley

The Boston College Women’s Summit planning committee has announced Ayanna Pressley as the keynote speaker for this fall's upcoming summit.

Pressley became the first woman of color to hold a position in the Boston City Council on November 3, 2009. She founded and chairs the City Council’s Committee on Healthy Women, Families, and Communities, and is credited with leading the charge to reform the city's liquor licensing system, amongst her other achievements.

According to her website, Pressley is determined to “advance a political agenda focused on women and girls, building healthy communities, and breaking cycles of poverty, violence, and trauma.”

This fall’s summit, which will be the sixth to take place at BC, is set for October 21st. The event, previously known as “Own It,” involves panels, speakers, and workshops meant to create “a space in which to have meaningful conversations and share game-changing ideas,” according to the summit website.

Previous keynote speakers include The Global Good Fund co-founder and CEO Carrie Rich, former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine Kate White, CEO of Nasty Gal clothing and author of NYT bestseller #GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso, and Digital Media and Communications Strategist at the Muslim Public Affairs Council Riham Osman.

Many of the summit’s founders graduated in the spring, leaving a mostly new planning board. The Gavel spoke with planning team member Mary Pat Ross, LSOE ‘19, to talk about the keynote speaker decision and what the upcoming summit will be like.

“It was our primary goal to gather a group of noteworthy presenters that could represent and connect with the wide range of women within the Boston College community,” said Ross. “It’s extremely important that all women at BC feel like this summit captures a part of their experience as a student here.”

“Given our goal of putting together a versatile and impressive group of speakers, Ayanna Pressley seemed like a natural fit for our summit,” Ross continued. “Her groundbreaking career has been rooted in a political agenda largely focused on the advancement of all women and girls. Pressley will provide students with a striking perspective on advocacy and the political process at large.”

On April 27th, the planners reached out to student leaders and organizations for a “collaborative discussion” meant to develop ways to accurately represent the voices and experiences of all women at BC.

According to Ross, “from the event, the team gathered really valuable information about ways we can improve our marketing platforms and timelines, the overall flow of the day, and how we can help attendees stay connected after the summit.”

Ross and the other planners hope that these sessions will help achieve the summit’s various goals.

“It is exceedingly important to create spaces for women at BC to have conversations surrounding gender inequality and career aspirations,” Ross said.

“The primary goal of the women’s summit is to empower women of all backgrounds—the summit encourages all attendees to explore new and challenging perspectives. In bringing women together, the summit becomes a launching pad for future action; women who work in tandem can enact great, high-impact change.”

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