A few weeks ago, I had the enormous privilege of being 1 of 100 students chosen to take part in the Hispanic Scholarship Fund's National Leadership Conference in Los Angeles, CA. This conference was an all-expense paid event that aimed to empower Hispanic students nationwide.
In efforts to continue to develop, leadership skills and confidence in networking, the conference pooled together the best and brightest Hispanic students from the country and put them in “the room where it happened”—as Fidel Vargas, HSF CEO put it.
The conference officially began in Los Angeles, but in truth it started much before. Given the amount of Hispanic people in Miami, it was no surprise to anyone that the actual flight to LA was full of HSF Scholars—each easily identified by their college gear. After the 5-hour flight, most of the Miami natives had already bonded over the love of our city. This helped quell some of the nerves that we all had going into a 4-day conference full of established industry leaders. However, in hindsight, there was absolutely nothing to be nervous about. Though individually, the majority of the scholars are competitive people, there was not going to be a valedictorian or winner of the NLC, so all the scholars developed a great relationship from the get-go. Not only did we create a safe space but we created a space of opportunities and motivation.
Because of HSF's continued investment in reshaping the Latino narrative, scholars, were able to connect with like-minded, ambitious future colleagues and partners that come from similar backgrounds.
Through various workshops with leaders, HSF Staff, and scholars, I was able to leave with more than just knowledge, I left with an empowering community. The connections made in this conference continue to motivate and push me to be a better person—without that fear of the unknown.