The 2nd Annual College, Career, and Empowerment Summit (CCES) on Friday attracted a packed house of students from high schools from across Houston and surrounding areas to the Houston Community College – Southwest Campus for a day of inspiration and empowerment. The event was hosted by The Institute for Careers and Leadership Development (ICLD) a 501c3 organization, along with Bees, Inc., Players Network Event (PNE), Syren Music Group, LLC and NIKE.
Dr. Carolyn Davis, HCC Southwest College Career Planning and Resources director, and daughter, Grammy-award winning singer/songwriter and actress, Tamar Davis, joined forces in developing the event to promote STEAM career paths and cultivate a desire in youth to attend college and achieve success in their careers. The summit also gave a select group of professionals, celebrities and entrepreneurs an opportunity to pay it forward by sharing their journeys and wisdom with the next generation.
A powerhouse panel of speakers from professional athletes to a former VP of Player Development for the NBA to a NASA rocket engineer shared the challenges and mindsets that paved the way to their success with attendees.
Power of Persistence
Retired NBA player T. J. Ford told students he was not a top student in high school and shared his experience of taking the SAT/ACT eight times before passing it on the last try.
“There were plenty of times I wanted to give up on my dreams and my goals because things were hard and did not go the way I wanted them to go in my head. But with a good plan, with motivation, with being focused and persevering and understanding that whatever adversity … it comes down to motivation within. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t,” said Ford.
Former NBA player Ricky Davis told students there were no excuses to keep them from achieving their dreams. “I couldn’t afford shoes to play basketball. There is nothing that you can’t do and there is nothing that can stop you no matter what it is … anything is possible so pray and give it 150 percent,” said Davis.
Finding Your Passion
Drew Nunnally of Acre in a Box, a premier urban farm that uses recycled insulated shipping containers to grow produce hydroponically, encouraged students to discover their special gifts and talents in order to identify their passions and use that knowledge to solve a problem in the community and world.
Fear of Failure
NASA Rocket Engineer, Dr. Camille Alleyne, told students that her innate drive motivated her to push past her fears to pursue her dreams. “I just put my blinders on and kept pushing through those barriers and pushing forward and that is what helped me to succeed,” said Alleyne.
“If you want to do something or you have a particular goal and it seems like it is taking too long or it seems like someone else’s path is so much more direct than yours, I don’t want you to get discouraged because as long as you continue to work toward it, it is going to happen,” said another female panelist.
Importance of Strong Work Ethic
Panelists shared a wealth of wisdom and advice from their own personal journeys throughout the day, including the importance of developing a strong work ethic, showing up on time and being prepared, and treating others with respect.
In addition to a day of empowering insights and college and career tips, attendees also took part in an Iron Chef inspired culinary contest, won prizes for networking and enjoyed a high energy performance from a celebrity actor/singer, Torion Sellers, from Barbershop III.
Plans are in the works to make next year’s summit even bigger and better to reach an even wider audience of students to prepare them for success in college and their future careers.
For more information, visit HCC Southwest College Career Planning and Resources.