Emmy Award winning journalist Soledad O'Brien often says she pursued her career because she wanted to give voice to the voiceless. These days, the former CNN anchor is taking on that challenge in an entirely new way. As the CEO of her own media company, she has the power to produce the kind of content she wants to see on television. Not to mention, as the founder of her own charity, she has the power to make a difference in the lives of young women across the country.
The Starfish Foundation, which O'Brien co-founded with her husband Brad Raymond, funds scholarships for dozens of disadvantaged young women in under-served communities. The foundation aims to provide more than simply financial support. In fact, Starfish also recruits mentors to guide and inspire their young scholars! O'Brien didn't stop there. Always anxious to help more people, she expanded upon the scholarship program and founded the PowHERful Summit to inspire and educate hundreds of young women each year.
When it came time for O'Brien to choose a keynote speaker for the 2014 PowHERful Summit, she turned to fellow Latina activist Tatyana Ali. Ali (who you may recognize from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) boasts a degree in African-American studies from Harvard University. The actress, business owner, activist, and inspiring Latina will channel her life experience and wisdom to address hundreds of young women at the summit on July 25 at Credit Suisse in New York City.
We chatted with Ali at the Starfish Foundation's New Orleans to New York City Gala about the PowHERful Summit, her college experience, and her advice for young Latinas:
So, you're giving the keynote speech on Saturday at the PowHERful Summit! That's a lot of responsibility -- what are you going to say?
Well, it's not just a speech. It's a discussion with Soledad O'Brien, as well. I'm hoping it will become a conversation with the girls afterwards. We went through lists of topics -- things that might pertain to these young women, because they've had so much to overcome to get to this point. I just want to be honest, and give them as much information about what I've learned since I graduated. I mean, I'm 35-years-old -- so there's some stuff! I just want to be completely honest.
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