What I Learned From The 2019 Teen Vogue Summit


Dec. 13 2019, Published 5:06 a.m. ET

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                 Image: Getty Images for Teen Vogue

The Teen Vogue Summit was an event that I always desired to attend, but only experienced through articles and YouTube vlogs. After two long years of wishing to attend, my chance finally arrived. This past fall, I received the opportunity of a lifetime after stumbling upon free tickets, and even brought my best friends along. It was a memorable experience that I will never forget. Let me tell you about it all. 

2019 Teen Vogue Summit Speakers


If you know me, then you know that I am a sucker for a networking event or panel. The Teen Vogue Summit had a whole day filled with phenomenal speakers lined up and knowledge to take in. Guests such as: Jackie Aina, Busy Phillips, Issa Rae, and Debby Ryan spilled out inspiration to last a lifetime. These speakers taught me about the challenges and rewards of pursuing a career in media as a woman. After the main speakers, I had to decide which themed panel I wanted to attend, Boss Moves or Tastemaker. As a #girlboss, I decided to attend the boss moves panel and accumulated tremendous knowledge from speakers: businessman David Gross, entrepreneur Samantha Smith, and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, Patrisse Cullors. Through this specific panel, I learned about the importance of giving back to my community and the journey towards becoming great.

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Did you think I was going to skip out on the Tastemaker panel? Absolutely not!

After the Boss Moves panel, I strolled to the Tastemaker stage to see some of the most popular influencers. Moderated by the remarkable Adrienne Houghton, the Tastemaker panel gave us insight into the life of an influencer. Speakers included Nikita Dragun, Rickey Thompson, Denzel Dion, Tess Holiday, Liza Koshy, Nabella Noor, and Bretman Rock, who graced us with their presence and inspirational words. Each speaker gave advice for aspiring influencers and finding balance in life as a millennial. Towards the end of the day, the final panel rolled around with the extraordinary Demi Lovato. In fact, this discussion was not typical, rather a conversation of self-love and the strength to endure challenges. With her charm, Lovato discussed the moments that made her a warrior and the journey she went on to find herself.

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Interactive Workshops

The Teen Vogue Summit had stellar workshops that provided fun tools to move forward throughout the day. My favorite stations include Conde Nast, where a Conde Nast HR professional reviewed my resume and gave me a free headshot photo. At Instax, I created and decorated my own Polaroid photo. The American Eagle station allowed me to customize my very own tote bag. And, I was able to grab a few mementos from the merch shop where I designed my own airbrushed T-shirt and bucket hat. Lastly, the final moments of the Teen Vogue Summit left me breathless as I experienced a musical performance by Justine Skye.

The Focus On Women Empowerment

One of my favorite parts of the Teen Vogue Summit was being able to witness the power that women have. Growing up, I did not see women, especially Black women, in powerful positions or carving out their own path. Thankfully, that narrative is shifting and I now see women of every shade, size, gender, and race accomplishing their goals.

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The current Editor in chief of Teen Vogue is the phenomenal, Lindsay Peoples Wagner, who is the definition of Black Girl Magic. On the last day of the Summit, I approached Ms. Peoples-Wagner about a problem that I encountered and she listened to my voice and immediately fixed the situation. She even went out of her way to offer my friend and I souvenirs and a copy of her book. Throughout the entire event, I felt loved and cared for by people who did not know me personally. As I looked around, I saw strong, fierce women in charge who inspired me to uncover a voice that I always kept suppressed.

As previously mentioned, I took my best friends with me, and here is what one of them said about her experience:

“I loved the Teen Vogue Summit and will take with me the inspiring words spoken. I’m still in shock that I was able to see my role models in person. The advice that I received has helped me hone in on my vision and life goals. Attending this summit is a beautiful memory that showed me the possibilities of life.” 

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By: Desjah Altvater

Through Her Agenda, Desjah aims to interview groundbreaking women and uniquely cover the pop culture and entertainment verticals. When she isn't telling people how to pronounce her name, she can be found watching Abbott Elementary and keeping up with everything but the Kardashians.

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