The Tory Burch Foundation Embrace Ambition 2020 Summit
Salut, my stylish friends! Before the Coronavirus craziness, I visited Columbus Circle for the Embrace Ambition 2020 Summit hosted by the Tory Burch Foundation. A devoted Tory Burch fan, no surprise I applied for the summit the day applications were released! Reva Ballet Flats, anyone?
I always admired how Tory carries and pushes herself. An entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor, designer, tennis player, co-founder of Kappa Alpha Theta Beta Eta at the University of Pennsylvania – she does it all (literally!). Her boho-preppy aesthetic is *so* my vibe, but more important is Tory’s impact on the female community. Celebrating ambition, I reflected on the heroines in my life. Three include my mom in addition to my former coach and one of my teachers. Not pictured are both of my grandmothers and my four aunts – *all* of whom I look up to for courage and strength.
Lately, I’ve thought about Tory Burch’s story that encompasses her mother Reva Robinson. Tory and panelists shared their experiences with learning to fearlessly “walk the walk” amid a western culture dictated by rigid gender stereotypes and discrimination against female leaders. It is frustrating to think gender ideals prevail in 2020. Why do we continue to perpetuate stigmas around “ambition” – something celebrated for male counterparts but dismissed for females trying to juggle both household responsibilities and the workforce.
Last semester, peers called me “direct” and “upfront” multiple times. The denotation of these adjectives translates to merely behavioral descriptions; however, I questioned myself too frequently after hearing these labels. I wanted to crawl away from the challenges that awaited me. My inner circle deemed this change of heart to be out of character. I applied for the Embrace Ambition Summit, of course. Little did I expect to walk away from Columbus Circle nearly in tears, as I silently thanked these women for leaving me empowered and motivated to pursue my passions.
I laugh when thinking about how novel strength and courage seemed to me at the summit. Growing up, the women in my life always exemplified these attributes. My coach pushed me to hustle, my teacher taught me to value hard work, and my mom encouraged me to show people my heart. These heroines, along with my grandmothers and aunts, never wanted me to fear obstacles. They taught me to not just hear but listen to others but, moreover, follow my heart. I lost myself while trying to find my place in college. Thankfully, the summit prompted me to revisit why I look up to those who confidently embrace ambition. New role models include professors in the department of fashion and apparel studies along with peers in my major and. I feel empowered each time I walk out of Alison West 310 – also known as my home away from home (one of the few places I plausibly prefer over New York City). Even on the worst of days, ALW310 can put a smile on my face, as me and my peers laugh about the drama in our lives while looking at textile samples and technical packages.