2019 WIT: Women Inspiring Tomorrow Conference Welcomes Largest Number Of Attendees To Date

On Sunday, October 27, 2019, YPC welcomed over 160 choristers, alumnae, and a record number of WIT Pros to the 2019 WIT: Women Inspiring Tomorrow Conference, sponsored by Travelers. Since Elizabeth Núñez, YPC’s associate artistic director, created this vibrant mentoring program for YPC’s high school girls in 2014, she has brought hundreds of female singers and alumni together with WIT Pros—dynamic, and accomplished women from a broad range of careers—eager to inspire young women searching for their paths in life.

Quickly engaged by WIT veterans, the choristers were soon mixing and mingling:  taking part in lively conversations with WIT Pros and alumni, practicing their social skills, and exchanging ideas.

WIT Pros from our sponsor, Travelers, joined us to network with our choristers

At the seated lunch, Elizabeth welcomed everyone and spoke about the day’s theme: “Finding Your Voice.” She told the choristers that although they can create a beautiful product together, every member is an individual, who must find her own path.

To get the luncheon off to an electrifying start, Elizabeth introduced Aneesa Folds, an amazing young artist—and YPC alumna— currently debuting on Broadway, who performed an improvised rap using words collected from the audience. This was a sample of what Aneesa does eight times every week in Broadway’s Freestyle Love Supreme. Everyone wondered how she does it. “Easy,” Aneesa, said. “Don’t be scared. Just trust yourself.”

As the guests enjoyed a delicious lunch, Elizabeth introduced the four panelists all of whom were honored to be invited and happy to share their career experiences.

Caitlin Roper, the editorial director of NYT Labs at The New York Times, was asked how she became certain she was in the right career. Caitlin responded that she was STILL uncertain. She suggested that girls consider what motivates them and make the best choice. “But,” she said, “as life goes on, things can change.”

Erin Stanton, the founder Susie’s Senior Dogs, a national nonprofit devoted to the plight of homeless senior dogs, was asked, “What is it like to be on your own and to inspire others?” Erin said, that for people who want to have the freedom to pursue their own projects, it is necessary to be self-motivated. She believes that initially working in a job for someone else is good training to learn structure, time management, and to see if they feel comfortable figuring out how to make things happen on their own.

Mary Giuliani, a chef and the author of Tiny Hot Dogs: a Memoir in Small Bites, was asked, “How do you write a memoir?”  Mary said her memoir came together after she initially tried to create a one-woman show. When it didn’t pan out, she decided to turn her experiences—and recipes—into a memoir. She said this was an example of how each life experience can present a new opportunity.

Jazmine Hughes, an associate editor of The New York Times Magazine, was asked how to figure out what to do in life. Jazmine said that in school she was a dancer and interested in performance arts. But, one day she learned that one of her teachers considered her “one of the best writers he ever had.” Now at only 32 years old, she is an editor at The New York Times. Her advice for young girls is her belief that in figuring out what you want to do in life, “try out a bunch of things!”

As dessert was being served, Elizabeth brought Aneesa back to the stage to perform a “recap rap” of the entire afternoon. Afterwards, WIT Pros of varying professions—ranging from education, law, medicine, finance, psychology, marketing and entertainment—stayed to talk about their careers with YPC’s young women.

Thank you again to Travelers for sponsoring this incredible afternoon of networking and empowerment. 

Photos by Stephanie Berger