On Tuesday, October 15, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) hosted its third annual Women in Industry event, an inspirational experience geared towards empowering the next generation of leaders through future-ready learning.
Hundreds of students, families, community members, and District employees gathered in the PYLUSD Performing Arts Center (PAC) in order to learn from this year’s respected panel of eight female professionals who represent a variety of diverse industry sectors.
To begin the event, Esperanza High School’s all female Air Force Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (AFJROTC) color guard posted the colors.
PYLUSD teacher Susan Sawyer then welcomed the auditorium and thanked honored guests in attendance such as Board of Education members, Executive Cabinet members, and various District and school site administrators. Director of High School Education, Cary Johnson, then discussed the various programs the District has to offer in benefit of students’ college and career-readiness.
Special guest, Nominee Gurrerro, a young student at Van Buren Elementary School, then shared a brief autobiography about herself and how photography has positively impacted her from a young age.
The event’s emcee, Robin Osborn, who served as a panelist at the inaugural Women in Industry event in 2017, then introduced the 15 PYLUSD Career Technical Education academy and pathway high school students that served as hosts and moderators for the evening.
This included Alyssa Boone and Jillian Silvas from El Camino Real High School, Colby Bladow, Lia Mimun, and Emily Sweet from El Dorado High School, Kaitlyn Blais, Ariel Blodgett, Julia Chan, and Gretchen Michael from Esperanza High School, Bethany McMahon and Noelia Ortiz from Valencia High School, and Kayla Higgins, Ameerah Hirji, Kay Lupiba and Brianne Turner from Yorba Linda High School. Ms. Blodgett then had the honor of introducing the evening’s keynote speaker, Storyboard Artist, Jane Wu.
Wu took the stage as original storyboard sequences of hers played for audience members to witness. Wu went on to explain her role as a storyboard artist and the impact it has on creating a successful and highly visual production.
“I think that story tellers are one of the most powerful people in the universe,” she shared. “I get to tell stories that bring hope; I get to tell stories to scare you; I get to tell stories that make you cry; I get to hold your attention in the palm of my hand because I can tell a story.”
Jane also talked about her road to the film and television industry, and the adversity she had to overcome to end up successful.
“As I was in the field working, I found myself competing with men. And I found myself trying to be more like them so that I could keep my job or I could be more relevant or I could be accepted,” Wu said. “Somewhere along the line I figured out that it didn’t work because I wasn’t being me and I wasn’t really tapping into my own uniqueness and what made me good at what I did.”
Wu ended her keynote address with words of encouragement for all individuals in attendance. She was met with a large round of applause.
The panelists and student moderators then took the stage for brief introductions and to kick off the Q & A portion of the evening. Panelists included Wu, Claribel Anyikam, Monica Belavic, Rachael Belavic, Natalie Crawford, Teresa Gould, Bonnie Headley, Geri Magwire, and Violet Palmer.
The question and answer portion of the evening began with a speed round question asking panelists to answer, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” The panelists’ answers ranged from astronaut to professional baseball player to writer to police officer, as shared by Palmer.
The students then went on to prompt individual panelists with specified questions such as, “How did you build confidence in your professional and personal life?” and “How have you managed failure? How do you learn from it?”
Question after question, the crowd listened attentively in order to absorb the thoughts, experiences, and advice that the panelists so thoughtfully shared. Following all of the questions, the panelists received a loud round of applause and cheers from the packed crowd.
PYLUSD Administrator, Jamie Jauch, then thanked the panelists, students, and various individuals who made the event possible once again. Jauch also presented two lucky students in the audience with brand new Google Chromebooks donated by event sponsor, USA Softball of Southern California. The crowd exited the auditorium to enjoy a reception with the panelists and baked goods professionally prepared by the Yorba Linda Culinary Arts program.
Following the event, the audience was energetic as the met panelists and reflected on the impact the Women in Industry event had on all.
The third annual PYLUSD Women in Industry event was possible thanks to the willingness of the panelists, students, and a large committee of District personnel headed by Jauch and Sawyer.
Event sponsors included Handable Phone Grip, The Traction Expert, USA Softball, and the R.E.A.C.H. Foundation.
To watch a replay of the entire event, please follow the link below.