Women’s Symposium wakes women up to potential


From the Seneca Falls Convention that helped the women’s suffrage movement to ULM’s 2019 Women’s Symposium, the gathering of women has always changed lives.
Nirali Patel truly believes the symposium has changed her life completely.
“I attended the very first Women’s Symposium and the one thing I’d like to say about it is that it was life changing,” said Patel, a 2019 Women’s Symposium board member.
Patel is proud to have been a board member in such an amazing event and continues to learn from the event.
“I would not be the person or the leader I am today without their advice and the guidance. Everything I have learned has slowly pieced me to be the women I am today,” Patel said.
Hosted in Bayou Pointe Event Center on Wednesday, the event was a great opportunity for women to come together to discuss issues and obstacles women face in everyday life.
Keynote Speaker LeAnn Boyd spoke about her difficult journey to becoming a founding partner and CEO for Southern Scripts.
“As women leaders who have chosen to invest your afternoon here today at the women’s symposium, you are accepting the role of a leader today and tomorrow,” Boyd said.
The ULM summa cum laude graduate made sure to encourage sisterhood during her speech.
“I can detest that as a woman that has been going down this journey for about two decades, having uncommon fortitude will be absolutely essential to your success,” Boyd said.
This inspiration is why Kelsey Bohl said the symposium is important.
“It allows female leaders from the area to be highlighted and share their stories to hopefully inspire students and the next generation of women leaders,” said Bohl, the chair of ULM’s fourth Women’s Symposium. The overall theme of the symposium was WINGS which stands for “Women Influencing the Next Generation of Success.”
Along with inspirational speakers, the Women’s Symposium broke into various panels and discussed topics varying from “Fostering a Safe Work Environment” to “Reframing Failure as Potential for Growth.”
One of the most inspirational panelists was Dr. Talitha Smith-Elliot who shared her difficult journey of a shift change in her career.
“I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in radiology in May 2005, but briefly after graduating and working in my field for almost a year, I realized that I wasn’t quite happy,” Smith-Elliot said.
She opened up about her eventually moving out of state to go to chiropractic college.
However, her journey of success eventually hit a huge wall when she did not pass her boards.
“That test is actually my testimony. It made me so strong for when I have difficult days. Now, when I feel like I just want to give up, I think about that time in my life, and it is literally a slap in the face. It has really helped me to continue to success,” Smith-Elliot said.
All of the stories heard by the many panelists of the Women’s Symposium were inspiring to the men and women that attended the symposium.
The panel discussions was followed by an award ceremony that honored graduate student Sydney Canfield, former Academic Affairs vice president Eric Pani and Monroe community members.