Panelists at fifth annual Women in Industry event empower next generation of leaders by sharing their professional advice and experiences

Women in Industry

On Wednesday, October 5, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) hosted its fifth annual Women in Industry event, an inspirational experience geared toward empowering the next generation of leaders through future-ready learning.

A large crowd of students, staff, families, and community members gathered in the PYLUSD Performing Arts Center (PAC) in order to learn from this year’s respected panel of nine 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 Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, Dr. Linda Adamson 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.

El Dorado High School Assistant Principal, Amy Madrigal, then introduced the PYLUSD high school students that served as hosts and moderators for the evening. This included Jada Aguilar and Luna Olguin from El Camino Real High School, Lucy Cavalluzzi and Grace May from El Dorado High School, Allison Sipe and Esha Jhawar from Esperanza High School, Sarah Lee and Layla Melaku from Valencia High School, and Abigail Huhn and Hunaina Hirji from Yorba Linda High School.

Then head coach of the softball program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Kelly Inouye-Perez took the stage to share about her collective experiences and offer words of wisdom for those in attendance. She shared how she prepares her student-athletes for both failure and success.

“Our mindset is: We don’t fear failure. We look at it and flip it, Inouye-Perez shared. “It is an opportunity to show everybody just what you’re made of. How you choose to respond is your defining moment. When you empower yourself to not fear failure, the sky is the limit. Nothing will get in your way.”

She coached those in attendance to keep in mind these three things after failure: body language, facial expression, and tone. Staying positive with your body language, facial expression, and tone—even after failure—is key to earning the respect of others.

Coach Inouye-Perez also encouraged students to surround themselves with positive people and stay true to themselves throughout their journey. She was met with a big 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 Coach Inouye-Perez, Gisele Nguyen, Co-Founder of the LifOpps Learning Labs, Kelsi Kleinow, Esperanza Alumna and Engineer, Ruchi Acharya, Physical Therapist, Bonnie Saunders, SVP Sales Support Leader for Treasury Management at Wells Fargo, Beth Nunn, Regional Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Mission, St. Joseph, St. Jude, and St. Mary High Desert Heritage Medical Groups, Cindy Caponera, Television Writer/Performer/Producer, Asha Bhattacharya, Esperanza Alumna and Area Manager at Amazon Logistics, and Michele Granger, Valencia Alumna and Olympic Gold Medalist in Softball and Business Owner.

The question and answer portion of the evening began with questions asking panelists to answer, “What did you want to be when you grew up?” “Who are your life influencers or heroes? And why?” and “What obstacles or adversity did you face and how did you overcome those challenges?”

Question after question, the crowd listened attentively in order to absorb the thoughts, experiences, and advice that the panelists shared. Following all of the questions, the panelists received a loud round of applause and cheers from the crowd.

PYLUSD Director of High School Education, Gina Aguilar, then thanked the panelists, students, and various individuals who made the event possible once again. Counselor on Special Assignment, Beth Scott, then 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 Esperanza’s Culinary Arts program.

Following the event, the audience was energetic as they met panelists and reflected on the impact the Women in Industry event had on all.

The fifth annual PYLUSD Women in Industry event was possible thanks to the willingness of the panelists, students, and a large committee of district personnel including Gina Aguilar, Sue Sawyer, Amy Madrigal, Beth Scott, Brianne Gullotti, and more.

Event sponsors included USA Softball and the R.E.A.C.H. Foundation.

You may watch the entire event on the district’s YouTube channel at the link below.

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