Y-WE Career Day 2024 Draws 130+ Seattle Teens to Network and Learn

On April 27, 2024, we hosted our 13th annual Career Day in downtown Seattle’s Best Buy Technology Development Center. Career Day is an opportunity for young people to build practical skills for success and make meaningful connections with adults and each other. It’s also about connecting youth to meaningful mentorship that reflects their identities, growing their community of support for job exploration, and exploring possibilities on the path to careers where diverse talent is still vastly underrepresented. This year’s Career Day featured a unique lineup of professionals including entrepreneurs, artists, a city council member, and more!

Photography by Muñoz Motions

Y-WE Career Day 2024 day kicked off with an energetic room full of around 130 young people who came from all over King County. After a warm introduction from two of Y-WE’s current youth leaders, we broke into small-group roundtable discussions. Participants chose a seat at one of nine tables, each co-hosted by an adult professional and a Y-WE youth facilitator. The hosts represented a wide variety of careers and specialties, including:

DJ Yaddy, Educator and Resident DJ at KEXP Radio Station 
Emily Un, Freelance Professional Photographer
Gina Kette, Recruiting Manager, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Karen Wilkins-Mickey, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Seattle Seahawks
Lisa Sanner, Product Manager, Best Buy Ads
Mira Kraft, CEO & Founder, MKPR
Ramika Toms, CEO & Founder, Intuitively HER
Samantha Pak, Journalist & Assistant Editor, JoySauce
Shakirah Hajiismael, Manicurist, Owner of Phalanges

Through Q&A-style conversations, young people learned about the passions and career paths of each of these unique women. These small group conversations allowed youth and adults to make meaningful connections that will last beyond the event. 

“I thought the Career Day was very inspirational but fun. I felt very comfortable speaking with everyone involved. It was a safe space for the participants to have real conversations and [get] real feedback and advice.

Youth Participant

After sharing a delicious lunch, we broke into two sessions of interactive workshops where youth could choose their own adventure. In these spaces, young people engaged in hands-on, skill-building activities. Our first session included:

  • Confidence in the Workplace facilitated by Aayana Fuller and Noelia Wassaff, two members of the Talent Acquisition Team at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP. Youth engaged in a candid discussion on the unique experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) women as they navigate confidence in professional settings. 
  • Networking and Interview Skill Building facilitated by Linh Maki, Senior HR Generalist at foundry10. Youth practiced key skills for connecting with other professionals and discussed the top five things you can do to prepare for an interview.
  • Building and Selling Your Personal Brand facilitated by Ashley Jensen and Ryann Bailey from Enterprise Mobility. Participants gained a new understanding of what it means to define your personal brand, how to understand what you bring to the table, and build a network of people who can advocate for you.
  • Finance 101: Building a Financial Foundation facilitated by Nafassi Ferrell, Financial Coach and Founder of Narratives Unbound LLC. This workshop focused on creating budgets that actually work, reducing financial anxiety, and building an abundant tomorrow.

Next we took a quick boba break (generously sponsored by Mr. Green Bubble) before diving into our final session of workshops for the day:

  • Community Engagement: Telling Stories, Leading, and Collaborating Through Public Engagement and Beyond facilitated by Helen Potter from King County Parks. This workshop dove into the current King County Parks levy and what the public engagement process entails. Youth were also able to provide real feedback on the levy.
  • Flexing Your Negotiation Muscle facilitated by Tammy Morales, Seattle City Council Member and Aly Pennucci, Seattle City Council Deputy Director. Using a short case study, youth were able to practice their negotiation skills and learn the importance of advocating for yourself in professional spaces.
  • Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership: Be Your Own Boss! facilitated by Cheryl Delostrinos, UW Foster School of Business. Participants came up with innovative business ideas and learned tangible tools to turn their ideas into a reality. 
  • Ikigai: Visioning Your Career to Align with Your Purpose facilitated by Reagan Jackson, Author and Co-Executive Director of Y-WE. Reagan shared her own unique career path and supported participants in visioning for their own lives through the Japanese concept of Ikigai, which means “your reason to live.”

“The most surprising thing I learned was how motivated these young professionals really are. They were so engaged and even at such a young age, they were very mature. They know that the job market is difficult. They have several years until they join but the fact that they are already thinking about it and building their resumes was so impressive to see.”

Workshop facilitator

Thank you so much to all the amazing young people and inspiring adults who joined us for Career Day 2024! We are already looking forward to next year.

Interested in joining us as a facilitator in 2025? Reach out to our Events Coordinator, Alecz Swanson, at alecz@y-we.org

Young Women Empowered (Y-WE) cultivates the power of diverse young women and gender expansive youth to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers through transformative programs within a collaborative community of belonging. Join our community by making a donation to support our work with youth today. 

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