Influential women on campus share inspiring stories

Angel Kidka

Sacramento State’s sixth annual Women of Influence Awards shined a light on the inspiring women who persevere and continue to make a difference here on campus.

“Personal Narratives” was the theme of the event, which featured a spoken word poem by Sac State student Shyanne Benjamin, a performance by Sacramento/Black Art of Dance group, a key note address by Jody Nelsen and inspirational remarks by president’s chief of staff Lisa Cardoza, all of which encouraged women to share their stories and celebrate all of life’s offerings.

Nelsen shared the lessons she has learned throughout her lifetime, from learning to embrace the unexpected to letting her courage rise above her fears. Nelsen also discussed the difficulties she has faced, the women who helped her overcome them and the significance of sharing stories.

“It’s so important to share our stories because so many people have experienced similar things and it just creates a wonderful bond between us, ” Nelsen said. “I was helped by so many women in my life, so now I strive to reach out and do the same, so be that mentor and friend, be a woman of influence.”

Following Nelsen’s address, the Women of Influence awards were given out to women from various categories, and winners promoted togetherness and united of women on campus.

“I know that I am little and I don’t have much power alone, but I believe we can do it. We can change it; we can make some influence on this campus,” said Seunghee Wie, the Faculty Woman of Influence award winner.

The accounts of personal growth and encouragement continued with concluding remarks from Lisa Cardoza, who shared a personal tale of overcoming the statistics of being a teenage mother and becoming the success that she is today. Her message encouraged women to create their own narrative and to rise above what is expected of them. She urged to not let a single situation dictate who they become in life.

“I challenge each of you to share your story, help us rewrite the narratives that are out there, sharing a single story invites a certain vulnerability but also offers an opportunity for trustful relationships, open and honest dialogues,” Cardoza said.

The winners are as follows:

Unsung Hero: Bridget Clarke

University Student Leader: Lauren Lombardo

Residential Student Leader: Desiree Valdez Chavez and Sierra Mahaffey

Faculty of Influence: Seunghee Wie and Jennifer Murphy

Staff of Influence: Norma Mendoza