Empowering Voices Blog

2012 Annual Sisters Empowering Sisters Conference, March 23-24, 2012

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Welcome to the Empowering Voices Blog!

It’s truly humbling that the organization has evolved to now ‘having a blog’. A blog! First and foremost I want to say that before this whole blog situation, no one could have told me that I would have a non-profit organization that started from a college class! Really? I remember Prof. Tschirhart telling us we had a choice to either do the final exam or a marketing plan for a non-profit, okay, so while most of the class with one exception my friend Joy Mutare (who subsequently started her non-profit the same time I did) did the final exam, the birth of both of our organizations took shape in that class. Read more »


A Community of Sisterhood

This is a great organization for young women of color. It's an empowering program that allows these young women to embrace who they are and what they may aspire to be. Not only that, but it allows these women to inspire and motivate each other to become better individuals. This program helps them to create a sense of community among each other, and allows them to know that they all can get along despite the differences that may exist between them. Read more »


Imagine Me Achieving Great Expectations, this is what the IMAGE Initiative stands for and it is also the mantra, or thought-process that this organization aspires to promote among young women of color in Syracuse and beyond. I first connected with the IMAGE Initiative during the Sisters Empowering Sisters Conference in the spring of 2006 when a close friend of mine invited me to participate as a volunteer. Once I realized the power and potential of such a needed organization in Syracuse I instantly knew that I wanted to become an integral part of Nicole Jones’ vision. It has been 4 years since my first encounter with IMAGE and I am now a member of the Board of Directors as well as a core member of the CHOICES workshop series, which was started in the fall of 2006. Read more »

Shine on the World

Everyday a star is born, and every evening clouded in darkness, they still shine bright.

What a metaphor for recognizing your inner strength and resilience not only through brighter times and sunny days, but also throughout our toughest trials and tribulations.  It takes knowledge, wisdom, and experience to become a woman who recognizes and is comfortable being alone with her inner-being; is proud and all-knowing of her inner-being; but is also continuously daring her inner-being to evolve. Read more »

Letting Go

I have worked with The Sisters Empowering Sisters Conference for the last four years. This will be my fifth year working as a volunteer committee planning member. This non-profit organization allows teenage girls two days of being informed on topics that affect their lives now and will affect their lives in the future, such as academic management and entrepreneurship. I enjoy being a part of this organization because it gives inner city teenage girls a chance to let go. A chance to let go of everything that they might have been holding in. I have watched throughout the years many young ladies break down in tears and come together as one, forgiving each other for feuds that they did not know how they were started. This conference has given me a chance to share my own personal set backs with the young ladies; telling them my story of being a teenage mom and my difficulties in life. Allowing them to understand that even with difficulties they can still make it. Read more »

SES: Why I Come Back

Every year around June it creeps up on me. The email from president and founder of the Image Initiative, Nicole Jones Watkins, where she asks us to put a date on the books and prepare some ideas for a meeting to discuss next year’s conference. I often think, oh my goodness, we just finished this year’s conference! But needless to say, I kick into gear and am extremely encouraged when the west coast advisory board gathers together to kick around ideas and brainstorm the endless possibilities of guests and topics for the upcoming year--and then the work hits. It isn’t the fact that it’s a lot of work, because I honestly believe that ANYTHING worth having is worth working for. It’s more of a combination of other things that occur, like your job, family, hobbies, social outings, unanswered requests, denied sponsorships…life essentially. Life tends to get in the way of the things we try to accomplish. Read more »

The Power of the SES Conference

The Sisters Empowering Sisters Conference is a phenomenal two-day event that enlightens and empowers young women. After witnessing the array of sessions dealing with everything from self-esteem, preparing for college and awesome keynote speakers. I was truly inspired; I knew that this was a conference that I had to support and be apart of.

The conference breaks down the walls the young woman have placed in front of them and opens up their hearts and minds as they release and share their deepest feelings. The conference is so powerful, because it shows the girls that they all have a lot more in common then they think.

The building of a young woman’s confidence is essential to her development and maturation into a successful woman. Through the Sisters Empowering Sisters Conference they are equipped with the necessary tools and information needed to accomplish ultimate success in life. Read more »

Sisters Empowering Sisters

When I was introduced to the Sister Empowering Sisters conference I was amazed. I was amazed that all types of women were pulling together to create a conference that was all about uplifting young women. I new that it was something that I had to be apart of because I could see how the young women grew in just two days. I wish there was something like this when I was in high school to help me through some of those awkward years. This conference is about true sisterhood on every level imaginable. The variety of speakers that are brought to the conference are successful, talented, insightful and individuals who truly care about uplifting young women. And what’s even more amazing is the fact that the speakers, volunteers and chaperones etc. have all been through the same struggles, joys, pains and insecurities that every young women experiences. But what we try to do is bring some of these things to your attention and give you some solutions to help you navigate through them. Read more »

Making an Impact

Hello! My name is Nicole and I’m a member of the Advisory Board here at The Image Initiative, Inc. I’m one of the many organizers for the Sisters Empowering Sisters conference. I started participating with the organization in 2007 after visiting the conference and seeing, first hand, the girls’ excitement, what they truly received from the workshops, being surrounded by positive women of color and the conference as a whole. It was a beautiful, inspirational sight to see and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to experience it. I continue to volunteer with the organization for that same reason—to be a part of this beautiful experience and hope that I can help to make even the smallest impact on at least one girl’s life. I love how this organization works to bring real women of color together to discuss real issues that are important to them and all of us. Read more »

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