The Her Summit Dropped Gems & Gave Hope to Teen Girls

Leah Ollie had a “fireside chat” with Obama Foundation President Valerie Jarrett about her impressive career and life.

Yesterday, July 15th, I had the opportunity to meet with some of the most amazing women I’ve met in my life. We convened for the HER Virtual Empowerment Summit: SHE is YOU, hosted by CPS Academic Competitions on Zoom from 8:30 in the morning to almost 3:00 in the afternoon. Each woman was ready and willing to share her story, her goals, her ambitions, and we were all made better for it. From public speakers and policy makers to dermatologists, trafficking survivors to counselors, each woman brought a brilliant perspective and nuggets of truth for the audience to take home.

Successful women from all backgrounds took part in the Her Summit: SHE is YOU to drop gems on a generation of young women.

When True Star was asked to take part in the event, I was selected to represent our youth media organization. I had the honor of filling one of the first slots of the day by interviewing Valerie Jarrett, current president of the Obama Foundation and former senior advisor to President Obama. Ms. Jarrett’s grace and wisdom were a blessing to me personally, and she offered so many poignant words that I’m sure the audience will cherish for years to come. My favorite sentiment she offered was one emphasizing the power of giving back, particularly in her work with the Obama Foundation so far. “Being with powerful young people like yourselves every day energizes me,” she shared. Ms. Jarrett’s presence was a gift, and I’m most thankful to those who made the interview an opportunity for me.

True Star alum Joi Belcher won a Girlpreneurs Mentoring Opportunity with Marjorie Harvey for her fictional business Hair Cleo and product Sweet Mango Conditioner. The prize included a Microsoft laptop, AirPods and $250. Daja Bailey was also a winner for her hair braiding business.

Another highlight of the event for me was hearing Keisha Green speak. This phenomenal woman brought a great word about knowing your worth and demanding that others know it too. A favorite quote of mine that Green shared was “Don’t introduce anything you’ve created as ‘little’. That’s not your ‘little’ anything, and neither are you.” This spoke to me as a teenage girl on my way to college and pursuing my career, and reminded me to stand firm in what I’ve accomplished.

Despite the digital divide, multiple generations, classes and races of women were united yesterday. We rejoiced in each other’s highs and mourned each other’s lows, and learned about how to progress as our best selves. If you have the opportunity to attend the next Her Summit, I highly recommend that you take it. I promise you won’t regret it!


By Leah Ollie, Incoming Freshman, Butler University

Instagram: @leahgraceollie

Written by Leah Ollie

Leah is a senior at Whitney Young High School, and has been working with True Star since fall of 2020. She loves fruit smoothies and cats, and dislikes kale and action movies.

Golfer Mulbe Dillard is Making Chicago Proud

Who Needs Money For College?