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Scholarship winners photo credit: maryannerussell.com
Source: photo credit: maryannerussell.com

The Power of Role Models: My Experience At The New York Women in Communications Matrix Awards

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May 5 2015, Published 3:30 a.m. ET

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On Monday April 27, 2015 I had the pleasure of attending the annual New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) Matrix Awards as the Meredith Corporation 2015 scholarship recipient.

The annual Matrix Awards honors women who are trailblazers in their individual careers in the field of communications. Additionally, each year NYWICI awards scholarships to students based on academic excellence, need, and demonstrated commitment to the field of communications. This year, there were 18 scholarships awarded to young ladies that are pursuing careers as broadcast journalist, public relations professionals, social activists and so much more.

nywici kia robinson
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When I was awarded the scholarship I was warned, “Being a part of this organization will change your life,” and although I truly appreciated the forewarning, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for the life changing experience that was to come.

Call time was 5:30 a.m. That did not mean wake up at 5:30a.m.. That meant at 5:30 a.m. we were to meet at Rockefeller center for our big Today Show debut. At 8:30, during his daily weather segment, Al Roker spoke to the Foundation President, Judith Harrison, about the organization, what it represents, and acknowledged that 18 young ladies were awarded scholarships on behalf of the organization.

NYWICI scholarship
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Following our Today Show appearance, we headed to the Waldorf Astoria and “Operation Matrix Awards” was in full effect. First order of business was hair and make-up, followed by a brief run through of the entire ceremony and then the green room for interviews and lots and lots of pictures. Finally, it was show time!

This year’s honorees were Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Debra L. Lee, Chairman & CEO, BET Networks, Andrea Mitchell, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, NBC News and Host, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Robbie Myers, Editor-in-Chief, ELLE Magazine, and Martine Reardon, Chief Marketing Officer, Macy’s and Megan Smith, US Chief Technology Officer.

Hosted by Martha Stewart, I can honestly say I experienced an inspiration overload. I mean, it’s not every day you have the opportunity to share the same space with over 1,000 women who change the world. In the middle of the ceremony all 18 scholarship recipients were acknowledged on stage in front of the women we look up to, call role models, and who have worked tirelessly to help shape the field of communications.

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2015 Matrix Honorees photo credit: Scholarship winners photo credit: maryannerussell.com
Source: photo credit: maryannerussell.com

During her acceptance speech, Andrea Mitchell shared, “Young women should be mentors, sisters and friends. It’s my network that carried me throughout my career.” and I couldn’t agree more. Although I haven’t even graduated college yet, I can attest to the impact women, strong women, have had in my life. They have pushed me to higher heights, believed in me when I doubted myself, and they have most certainly reminded me that this world needs me. Fittingly, Debra Lee also expressed, “You have the power to change what people think when they hear the word ‘confident’ and ‘woman’ in the same sentence.”

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When the ceremony was over I was able to mix and mingle with some of the women in the room. The words of encouragement and congratulations poured in and these women wanted nothing more but to know how they can help me achieve my dreams.

kia and phylicia

I was awarded the Meredith Corporation Scholarship and along with my scholarship I was awarded an internship experience. I will be interning with the Meredith Corporation in their public relations and marketing departments this summer and I cannot wait!

That day was arguably one of the best days of my life. To be in the room with women like Phylicia Rashad, Arianna Huffington, Mikki Taylor, Robbie Myers was truly a moving experience. I’ve looked up to these women for so long and never in a million years did I think I would be hugging and sharing my dreams with them. I left feeling like I can take over the world and the best part of it all, this was only the beginning.

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