Heather Lowery’s My Sister’s Keeper Summit Shines on Diversity

Panelists at My Sisters Keeper Summit
Panelists at My Sister’s Keeper Summit
Sanaa Rowser

Femme It Forward debuted its inaugural My Sister’s Keeper Empowerment Summit in Atlanta, GA, on Oct. 6-7, 2023. Led by Spelman alumna Heather Lowery (C ’01), Femme It Forward is a music and entertainment company that is dedicated to celebrating, educating, and empowering women. Spelman served as a launchpad for the two-day summit, hosting a pop-up for the brand at the campus’s Market Friday program on Oct. 6.

Shantel Teixeira, a summit attendee and graduating senior from Berklee College of Music, saw “a choice to change the world” firsthand and was inspired by the culture of Spelman College during her visit to Atlanta.

“It’s so rare to see people our age with a clear vision for how they want to impact the world,” she stated. “I haven’t found a lot of people who are like-minded in the fact that they want to work for something greater than themselves.”

Teixeira is a member of Femme It Forward’s Next Gem Femme mentorship program, which seeks to pair aspiring music executives of varying backgrounds with women who have obtained an array of corporate success in the entertainment realm. Throughout the conference, Teixeira admired Lowery’s ability to curate a space for women to sharpen one another by expressing their differences.

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The second day of the summit revolved around a series of panel discussions led by female entertainment executives who spoke to the value of acknowledging diversity within the global community of Black women. Of these panelists was Ebonie Ward, CEO of the first talent management company exclusively led by a team of Black women–11th & Co.

“A lot of times people segment Black women as one group and dynamic of individuals, but we all come from completely different backgrounds,” Ward stated as she continues to champion diversity amongst her team of executives. “It is just important for me to bring different groups of women together while adhering to the same end goal, which is the most valuable part.”

Lowery’s work to place emphasis on the diversity that exists among Black women shines bright in a society that has consistently neutralized their multidimensionality. Lowery’s work pays homage to Spelman and the institution’s legacy of making room for women to value the differences they possess below the surface of race and gender.

The college’s ability to empower women begins and ends with analyzing the personhood of each student, teaching every woman that her identity is not found by the color of her skin or sexual identity alone– she is defined by her soul, merit, and purpose.

“Attending an institution like Spelman teaches you that diversity goes beyond skin color,” stated Mauranne Vernier, a summit attendee and graduating senior at Spelman College. “Even though we have similar experiences as young Black women, our upbringing, values, and talents vary and form a melting pot for Black excellence.”

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