MCN's Successful 3rd Annual Women's Conference in Austin!
Last weekend, Migrant Clinicians Network and our partner the Consulate General of Mexico celebrated a very successful third annual Women’s Conference, titled “Strengthening Women’s Entrepreneurship and Community Connections.”
More than 150 women participated in the conference this year -- the biggest attendance yet -- at the new modern facilities of the Austin Consulate. As the lead agency for the coordinating committee organizing the conference, we have a notable sense of pride at how the conference turned out, despite the unpredictable political climate we currently face. Participants were engaged and empowered -- as was immediately evident upon their arrival, when participants enjoyed our photo booth with enthusiasm. Past the photo booth, they were greeted by fifteen local vendors providing information at their tables about their nonprofits and own businesses.
Consul Carlos González Gutiérrez’s welcomed participants with a warm reminder about what it is to be an ally to women. His opening remarks were followed by 45-minute sessions that offered practical tools to invigorate women who go strong day in and out. The spirit of ‘Sí se puede” filled the main hall several times during the opening address by Aideé Granados of Rosa es Rojo. As a survivor of breast cancer, she encouraged the audience to walk arm in arm with daily challenges as a way to understand that which must be defeated. It was a moving sight seeing so many heads in the room nodding in agreement as Granados hit points of familiarity.
The participants were then granted more inspirational words by Texas House Representative Gina Hinojosa, who encouraged not only active citizenry via governmental institutions, but also on entrepreneurial fronts. A brimming and motivated crowd enjoyed lunch while listening to the personal life story of the charismatic local television reporter Leslie Montoya, whose birthday it happened to be!
Simultaneous workshops -- one dealing with finances and the other on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and teenagers -- put participants back into note taking mode. Instantaneous partnerships were created so that notes could be shared by those who chose one workshop over another.
This high level of cooperation among participants laid the groundwork for the closing activity: an interactive panel on collaboration among organizations and groups. MCN’s own Deliana Garcia moderated leaders from Transformando Ideas Lab; Latino Arts, Culture and Education; Amhiga Hispana, The Hispanic Alliance; and Más Mujer Austin.
Parting gifts, printed photo cards, and lovely weather wrapped up our busy Saturday. Not too long after, participants received a handy thank you email with links to resources shared throughout the day in informationals like Anne Dunkleberg’s Affordable Care Act presentation and from her colleague Yohaa Saucedo’s talk on legal rights. And, excitingly, our participants continue to be engaged after the event -- the suggestions by a galvanized community of women just keep coming in for next year!
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