LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 16, 2023) — The Office for Institutional Diversity (OID) and Community and Professional Development Programs, housed in the Office for Student Success, will host the 2023 Sister Circle Forum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Feb. 23, in the Gatton Student Center.
Participants will be connected to resources, strategies and thought leaders that will inspire and provide participants with the skills and mindsets to thrive in their chosen professions.
“We wanted to use the forum as a space to equip women in our campus community to reflect on their current state and capacity of their mental health, to explore how to use their individual and collective voices for change as leaders and to affirm their permission to continue to dream big and ambitious dreams,” Jasmine Prince, associate director of the MLK Center, said.
The theme of this year's event is "Elevate Her: Mind, Voice and Vision." The theme, Prince believes, demonstrates the University of Kentucky's commitment to empowering and elevating historically marginalized communities.
“We look forward to connecting with the students, faculty, staff and community members who engage in the space so that we all leave more elevated and enlightened than we were when we walked in.”
Forum participation is open to everyone; however, the speakers and topics have been intentionally selected to speak toward the concerns and experiences of women of color across the Commonwealth.
This year’s forum will feature two guest speakers:
Rikketta Franklin, CEO of Cynette Consulting, and Amber Underwood, author, therapist and entrepreneur. Franklin encourages critical reflection that inspires others to pursue connection through commonality. She is the Founder + CEO of Cynette Consulting, where she facilitates thoughtful interactions that promote meaningful connection and relationship building. Her role is to create safe havens that encourage authenticity, growth and community.
Franklin's more than 10 years of experience in higher education and Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training has provided her with a comprehensive understanding of the theory and practice behind adult education. Providing her community with competencies that will last a lifetime is what fuels her to do this work.
Underwood is on a mission to empower one soul at a time to embrace their whole self so they can fulfill their life's purpose. She is a two-time graduate of the University of Alabama, where her journey of higher learning became the voyage to awaken her purpose.
After a failed attempt at suicide, Underwoods's journey of losing herself to find herself began and out of that came her book, "Hupomone." She authentically uses her story of resilience to shed light on the importance of allowing yourself to go through "it," so you can learn what you need for the person you're becoming. No matter where Underwood goes, she will always reach back to help someone, as someone helped her.
Underwood is a purposed businesswoman balancing corporate and all things purpose. Her additional experiences have allowed her to serve not for profits on an international level, and children and families on a national level. She specializes in the fields of crisis intervention, relational global adaptation, innovation and creativity, agency administration and social services.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.