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Sisters Empowering
Sisters® (SES)

Annual Conference

Beginning in 2005, The Image Initiative, Inc.® created and launched an annual conference called Sisters Empowering Sisters® (SES); a two-day event developed for young women of color.

It features lively panel discussions on the organization’s core issues; healthy self-esteem, relationship violence awareness/prevention, STDs/HIV/AIDS awareness/prevention, and teen pregnancy prevention. The conference also provides workshops that focus on higher education and career choices.

For more information on the Sisters Empowering Sisters (SES) conference, contact Nicole Watkins. For more information on how your school can become involved, contact Nicole Watkins. To donate to the conference or to volunteer, please see our Donate and Volunteer pages.

2019

15 Year Anniversary!

We celebrated 15 years of impacting lives and striving to make a difference. The conference featured Zandra Cunningham, an 18-year-old entrepreneur and founder of Zandra Beauty, author, and philanthropist and Oronike Odeleye, Arts & Entertainment consultant and founder of the #MuteRKelly campaign who was featured in the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly and special guest Candice Norcott, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist at the University of Chicago in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, national consultant, and public speaker also featured in the Lifetime docu-series, “Surviving R. Kelly”. 

2018

The Image Initiative, Inc. celebrated our 14th year of the Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference on March 23-24, 2018, featuring Egypt Sherrod, realtor, author, and host of HGTV’s “Flipping Virgins” and “Property Virgins”, AzMarie Livingston, America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion fashion model, actress and singer, Charisse Mills, “pop” opera singer and songwriter, and special guest Lateasha Gbor, singer, manager and owner of Celebrity Closets. More than 175 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2017

The Image Initiative, Inc. celebrated our 13th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference on March 24-25, 2017, featuring Serena Nunn, Esq. Atlanta Circuit, Fulton County Public Defender’s Office, one of only a handful of African American women to receive a full pardon from President Barack Obama after spending 15 years in prison, and Jennifer Sanders, former multimedia journalist and current Morning News and Noon News anchor at NewsChannel 9 WSYR-TV, the ABC affiliate in Syracuse, New York. More than 170 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2016

The Image Initiative Inc. celebrated our 12th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference on March 24-25, 2016, featuring Michelle Williams, Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and member of internationally acclaimed female group Destiny’s Child, and Dr. Jennifer Ellis one of only a handful of female, board-certified Cardiothoracic Surgeons in the United States and expert in heart health matters along with special guest Jamar Rogers, Season 2 semi-finalist from “The Voice.” Close to 150 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2015

The Image Initiative Inc. celebrated our 11th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference on March 20-21, 2015, featuring Syracuse native and astronaut Dr. Jeanette J. Epps and veteran stage, film and TV actress Anna Maria Horsford, along with special guests Kendra C. Johnson and Andre Hall, from Tyler Perry’s sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor”. More than 150 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2014

The Image Initiative Inc. celebrated our 10-year Anniversary of the Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference on March 21-22, 2014, featuring nationally known HIV/AIDS activist Hydeia Broadbent. Actress Kendra C. Johnson, from Tyler Perry’s sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor” and actress Keshia Knight Pulliam, from “The Cosby Show.” More than 150 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2013

The 9th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference, held March 22-23, 2013, featured entrepreneur and domestic violence advocate Lauretta M. Pierce and actor, singer, writer, director Vanessa Williams. More than 125 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2012

The 8th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference, held March 23-24, 2012, featured WNBA All-Star Wendy Palmer and actress Bre’ly Evans. More than 125 girls were in attendace from the Syracuse City School District.

2011

The 7th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference, held March 25-26, 2011, featured Kim Hill (original member of the Black Eyed Peas) and actress Tasha Smith. More than 100 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2010

The 6th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference, held March 26-27, 2010 featured Sandy “Pepa” Denton and Cheryl “Salt” James of Salt-n-Pepa, and actress Rhyon Brown of TV show “Lincoln Heights”. More than 100 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2009

The 5th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference, held March 20-21st, 2009, featured two dynamic keynote speakers: Hydeia Broadbent (International HIV/AIDS Activist) and Bevy Smith (Contributing Editor, Latina Magazine, Dinner with Bevy). Bevy Smith graciously filled in for Mimi Valdes-Ryan, who was called out of the country. More than 100 girls were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2008

The 4th Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference took place on Friday, March 28-29, 2008 featuring actress Tracee Ellis Ross, star of “Girlfriends” and daughter of music icon Diana Ross, and Marie ‘Free’ Wright, of BET show 106th and Park. More than 100 young women were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2007

The 3rd Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference took place March 23-24, 2007 featuring Maria Davis, Marvelyn Brown, Francine Ward and the performance troupe Step Afrika. More than 100 young women were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2006

2006 marked the expansion of the Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference from a one to two-day event. It also marked the new signature timeframe for the conference: Women’s History Month. The 2nd Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference took place March 24-25, 2006 and featured Akua Goodrich. Close to 100 young women were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.

2005

The 1st Sisters Empowering Sisters Annual Conference was created by Nicole Watkins and took place on May 21, 2005 at Syracuse University with the assistance of Tiffany Rush, Jossette Burgos, Dr. Katina Stapleton, Vanessa Asforis and Dr. LaRhonda Ealey. The conference’s first keynote speaker was Michaela Angela Davis.

Speakers and panelists included: Monica Brown, Arethea Brown, Maria Davis, Michelle Lopez, Dr. Paula Johnson, Yasmin Shiraz and Shanterra McBride. Highlights included a historical presentation by Dr. Sheila Aird.

Close to 50 young women were in attendance from the Syracuse City School District.