Women on the Rise: A project that aims to motivate and support women

Bellevue College is playing a major role in supporting “The Movement: Women on the Rise,” a  project being developed by the KD Hall Foundation. As women’s history month comes to a close, plans are being realized for the objective of inspiring, motivating and supporting women in leadership by building community networks and connections. The movement currently includes a TV show that will be produced at BC, scholarships, mentoring and a conference “spotlighting different women across the nation in different roles, politicians, CEOs, women in sports” and more.

The movement is “women learning, sharing, inspiring and being inspired by common progression in which all women can and will be successful,” according to Kela Hall Sr., CEO and co-founder of the KD Hall Foundation. Her objective is to use this project to combat the disproportionate representation of women and women of color in the professional world by supporting tomorrow’s leaders.

There is room for involvement in the project for both college students and adults who want to support the cause and build community by being part of a task force of volunteers for the leadership conference and potential mentors for the students they work with. Both student ambassadors and members of the task force will have the opportunity to build networks with powerful women and inspire each other through volunteering and skill sharing. The movement is also seeking sponsors.

Hall finds TV to be a powerful medium for the movement because “it grabs people’s attention.” She explained that when she can communicate with both sight and sound, the message “sticks in their minds and hopefully their hearts.” She finds mainstream news and television to be full of negative stories and ideas, and made it her goal to add a different energy to the airwaves.

The TV show will focus on strong women globally who are leaders in order to inspire young women to find new pathways to their own definition of success. The first two seasons will emphasize local leaders, and the third “is currently being developed around STEM topics and advancement of excellence in each area.”

Hall said that while she enjoyed success in her position at University of Phoenix through 2014, something about TV kept pulling her to make a career change. That voice inside kept telling her “you’re supposed to communicate to masses of people and make them feel comfortable.”

The overall aim of the movement is “to inspire and motivate all people,” but especially those who are the most underrepresented. The focus on women is due to the low percentages of women in professional leadership positions throughout the world.

Season one of the TV show will be aired in fall 2016, and the Women on The Rise conference will also be held around that time. The current plan includes scholarship announcements at the conference. Bellevue College is providing the TV studio for production and students to assist in producing the show’s content. BC will also be one of three potential colleges to pilot the youth to adult mentor program. Partnerships with Green River Community College and the University of Washington are still being developed.

The all-day Women on the Rise Leadership Networking Conference will be hosted by the city of Kent in partnership with Suzette Cook, mayor of the city. It will reach over 1,500 attendees with “multiple avenues for sponsorship and recognition, bringing together a multitude of mentors, sponsors and female leaders to incubate new ideas, create a network of leaders and provide mentorship opportunities.”

Hall has been developing the concept for the TV show portion of the movement for over 10 years, but what pushed her to make it a reality was the birth of her daughter. She says she remembers saying to herself that it was time to “practice what I preach, to step out there and just do it.” With that decision, she has already begun to inspire others to do the same.

To get involved or to become an ambassador, more information can be found at www.kdhallfoundation.org or by contacting Hall at 206-321-2066 or kela@kdhall.org.