Skip to main content

NKU Empowers High School Girls at Young Women Lead Conference


Oct. 13, 2021 —  Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Talent Development and Gifted Studies invites high school girls to Put on Their Brave and lead with confidence at the 11th Annual Young Women Lead (YWL) Live! from Oct. 21 - 22.

The popular conference will be delivered virtually this year, allowing high school girls to join whether they reside in the urban core, in the suburbs or on farms. YWL aims to change the way high school girls perceive themselves, challenge them to reach higher personal growth levels and encourage girls to pursue careers they may not have considered. The conference features interactive sessions and keynote speakers centered on LEAD: Leadership, Education and Development.

“Research shows that 70% of young women suffer from a lack of self-confidence and believe they do not measure up somehow, and more than half of all girls say that girls don’t consider a career in STEM because of lack of confidence,” said Dr. Kimberly Clayton-Code, director of NKU’s Institute for Talent Development and Gifted Studies. “These insecurities are stifling their dreams, and this conference plays a pivotal role in encouraging girls to pursue careers they aren’t considering.”

The virtual conference features a slate of award-winning presenters, including Julie Marie Carrier, Monique Coleman, Ashley Eckstein, and Maryam and Nivaal Rehman as its keynote speakers. Carrier, a best-selling author and Emmy nominee, is recognized as the top coach for young women in the world by Leading Global Coaches/Thinkers 50. Actress Monique Coleman is most known for her role as Taylor McKessie in the High School Musical franchise and has also been named the first-ever United Nations Youth Champion. Ashley Eckstein is best known for her voice role as Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars and Founder of Her Universe. The Rehman sisters are twin activists, Disney filmmakers and students at the University of Toronto. 11Alive WXIA multimedia journalist Paola Suro will lead the discussions.

“We’re adapting this year’s conference so that we can continue empowering young women who will impact our community and beyond,” said College of Education Dean Ginni Fair. “With the virtual format, students can join in their classrooms, libraries or homes. We hope to engage even more students by eliminating barriers—such as location, fees, GPAs—to lift all high school girls.”

  • What: 11th Annual Young Women LEAD Conference
  • When: Oct. 21 or Oct. 22, at 9:30 a.m. EST
  • Where: Zoom link provided upon registration

The conference has empowered more than 33,000 high school girls through 48 live events over the past decade. Presented by Toyota, the Young Women LEAD conference is free and open to all students.

“In a time when many students are learning from home, Toyota is grateful that high school girls can count on Young Women LEAD to continue delivering the same high-quality content as its in-person programs,” said Renee Robertson, General Manager of Production Control at Toyota North America. “The virtual events can reach more girls in more communities, improve their lives and put them in the driver’s seat to set the course for their future.”

In addition to NKU and Toyota, community partners include the Duke Energy Foundation and local SOAR participants, a leadership development program designed to help businesses develop their women for future leadership positions.

To learn more about the Young Women Lead Live! and to register, visit its website

About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit