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Illuminate x Durham Conference Main Takeaways!

Updated: Apr 18, 2021

Hi everyone! My name is Zainab Kazim and I am a Grade 10 student at Dunbarton High School. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Durham’s regional conference. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about how to be an outstanding youth in society. At today's conference, we had many lovely speakers including Ilona Daughtery, Dr.Cecile Fradin, Mackenzie Clark, Andrea Gunraj, and CEO of Illuminate Alina Huang.

This conference has taught me that for women to pursue leadership roles we need to believe in ourselves and not doubt our capabilities. Oftentimes women will doubt themselves and have imposter syndrome which will usually end up in them performing worse than if they just believed in themselves. This has inspired me to start believing in myself more and not doubt my capabilities. Listening to Mackenzie Clarks' presentation my main takeaway was that a lot of people just like me experience imposter syndrome and that's okay. She has taught me to be confident and to credit my capabilities and accept that the opportunities I receive are all due to my hard work and not just luck.

Dr. Cecile Fradin also brought to my attention the self biases that I have and she taught me that those too can sabotage me from achieving my goals. Something fascinating from her workshop was where Ms. Clark showed us a study where people who are told that they are bad at something performed poorly at the task. This was interesting to see how our personal biases can affect us. Overall the main thing I enjoyed about this conference was how the main theme was encouraging, uplifting, and empowering young women. I also really enjoyed how Ilona Daughtery said that it is good to "challenge the status quo" because it just shows that she wants us to believe in the power of our voice.

A technique I have learned and will use in the future is the power pose and I will utilize this the next time I have a presentation to ensure that I am confident in myself and my abilities. In the future, I look forward to taking steps towards encouraging myself whether it be by addressing my self-biases or doing a power pose to ensure I have more confidence in myself. I will also use these inspiring words from today to allow myself to become not only a better person but also help myself become a leader of tomorrow.


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