BET's Leading Women Defined Conference Gives Back

Summit focuses on leveraging the strength of Black women to make an impact.

Posted: 03/15/2011 11:30 PM EDT
Leading Women Defined, Debra Lee, BET Networks

BET Networks continues its tradition of honoring Black women by holding its second annual women-only conference, Leading Women Defined. This year's theme, Power, Presence and Possibility, is all about leveraging the strength of Black women to make an impact.

“How do we stop complaining and start acting?” That was the question BET Networks Chairman and Chief Executive Debra Lee wanted to answer when designing the conference to bring together the world's leading women of color to address issues they are facing during these trying times. Lee recognized that while pinpointing the problem is the first step in the journey for change, developing real solutions is equally as important.

As part of that initiative, Leading Women Defined will hold discussions on activism, education reform, mental health and the portrayal of women and girls. Leading Women Defined kicked off the conference this morning with a “speed mentoring” session, much like the one that First Lady Michelle Obama instituted during her first year in the White House, which Lee participated in.

Giving back to the Black community has always been important to Lee, and she’s made it her mission to institute this into BET’s philosophy and charity. While all the panels present an opportunity to learn from successful women, one in particular empowers conference attendees: "Black Girls Rock!: Positively."

“We’re going to bring in young girls from Washington, D.C., and they’ll be able to sit at a table with three very successful women. Just giving that interaction and allowing girls to see accomplished women will sit with them for the rest of their lives.”

Susan Taylor, founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, will be honored at the Dr. Dorothy Height luncheon today. Actress Tatyana Ali, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and Star Jones are just a few of the many speakers at the conference. The invitation-only event participants are leading business executives, entertainers, educators and public officials.

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