Giving Back to the Baltimore Community: Empower and Get Empowered

Yuan Ma
Yuan Ma

Yuan Ma is an MS in Marketing candidate at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School concentrating on marketing communication and branding. Previously, she studied Public Relations in Shanghai International Studies University, and participated in event hosting, coordinating and photography. She has interned at Nielsen and volunteered at CES Asia, and is passionate about women in business, volunteering and art.

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On April 21st, Carey Women in Business had a one-day workshop with Girls Empowerment Mission (GEM) for 35 Baltimore high school girls to empower and inspire them to recognize their potential as members of the Baltimore community. Made possible with funding from the JHU Alumni Association, the Girls Empowerment Summit included three breakout workshops, lunch with a workshop of hope, and a Financial Literacy Seminar. As the VP of Marketing for CWIB, I participated in the event as a photographer and experienced the workshops up close with Carey students, faculty, staff, alumni, GEM staff, Cindy Thompson from PNC Bank and all the girls, and learned a lot from this out-of-the-bubble event.

During the event of empowering the high school girls, I also got empowered in three specific ways: by the sense of self and courage from the high school girls, by the role transition from a receiver to a provider, and by the enhanced understanding of “business with humanity in mind.”

First, I was inspired by the high school girls in the workshops. They have a clear sense of self, which surprised all event participants. “They were fantastic, and I couldn’t imagine myself at their age knowing all of those things about the world and their selves,” commented Elizabeth, one of the Carey student volunteers, “They, as minors, have such a clear idea of THEMSELVES. Although they are insecure and vulnerable to the world around them and the future, they have great passion and talent which are invaluable. I think we are here to inspire them to recognize and capitalize their potential, and help them on the way of future development.”

Second, CWIB members and student volunteers worked as team leaders and guides in the workshops, which was a brand new experience for most of us. As students, we learn from others in speeches, workshops and networking events; this time, we were giving back what we’ve learnt to the next generation. After the event, we reflected on whether we have brought something positive and useful to them and on what we can do as members of the greater Baltimore community. When we were sharing our knowledge, experiences and understanding, we also learned from the girls about their passion and courage, something precious but different from what we get from courses and mentors.

Last but not least, the event deepened my understanding of Carey’s tagline: “Where business is taught with humanity in mind.” The GEM event also aligns with OneCarey and CWIB’s mission about giving back to the community and empowering women leaders. “Probably that’s why we are so fulfilled when we finish it,” shared the upcoming co-President of CWIB, Genevieve, “we have done something that really creates value for the community, aligns with our mission as a student organization and the mission of the school.” Other than this, the event also taught us how we can help the Baltimore community in a new way: “I think Baltimore is a wonderful city with talented people; they need to recognize and capitalize their potential and pave the way to success. We saw this in the high school girls, and they are the future of Baltimore,” said Elizabeth.

The event was an outcome of multi-party collaboration between Student Services, students, faculty, staff and alumni, with the generous funding from the JHU Alumni Association; CWIB also collaborated with GEM and PNC Bank. The collaboration was creative and harmonious, which led to the great success of the event. I really appreciate all parties’ contribution and would like to see this giving-back continue. This kind of collaboration and giving back reflect what I experienced when I came to Baltimore and Carey and joined CWIB; and I would like to continue to contribute to similar missions in my lifetime.

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