At The Well Conferences, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) organization founded in 2009 as a means to empower women, particularly women of color, and increase their socio-economic status. Programs include At the Well Leadership Conferences for both minority girls and women and At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy for minority girls.
The inaugural Leadership Conference was held on April 18, 2009 in Princeton, NJ and a second event convened on October 17, 2009 in New York. The later event included the first At the Well Teen Girls Conference for girls ages 13 to 18. Out of demand, a second teen conference was held the next year on April 17, 2010 at Princeton Theological Seminary. Over 240 teens attended from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Major sponsors included Goldman Sachs, YMCA, Charles Schwab, Diane Stein, and Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson. Speakers were Olympic Silver Medalist Bonnie St. John, motivational coach Dr. Joy, health and wellness speaker Keisha Glymph and Goldman Sachs executive Slim Bentami.
On April 9, 2011, the third installment of At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Conference commenced at Princeton Theological Seminary. The program was geared for teen girls ages 15 and 16. Attendees from several states engaged with speakers and leaders from community organizations, corporations, and educational institutions. To date, more than one thousand teens have attended the Leadership Conference.
In the fall of 2011, out of need to improve the leadership skills of girls, At the Well programming was expanded to include a two-week boarding academy on the campus of Princeton University. On August 15-26, 2011, the inaugural At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy (Academy) was held at the Carl Field Center with boarding at Hodge Hall (Princeton Theological Seminary). The following mission was developed for the Academy:
At the Well Leadership Academy seeks to empower young women locally to become effective leaders globally. By promoting excellence in education, young talent will transform their communities. We encourage girls to live beyond their limitations, achieve beyond their dreams, and impact communities beyond their reach.
The Academy is geared towards minority girls in underserved communities entering the tenth and eleventh grades of high school. Thirty-one teens attended the inaugural program and originated from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, North Carolina, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania. Sponsors included The FISH Foundation, Ariel Investments, Inc., The College Board, and other organizations. Speakers from Johnson & Johnson, A-TEK, Janisaw, Goldman Sachs and speakers from the entertainment industry were present.
The Academy has grown to host as many as 75 students from various states across the country from California to Connecticut. The average class size is now 50 students per session. The program continues to be held on the campus of Princeton University and draw facilitators and speakers from the corporate, legal, finance, entrepreneurial, medical, and entertainment professions.
At the Well Jamaica Initiative
In 2014, At the Well reached beyond the U.S. border and partnered with the U. S. Embassy in Jamaica to invite Jamaican students to attend the Academy. The Embassy and other sponsors provided generous funding that enabled 11 Jamaican students to join the 2014 class. At the Well continues its work with partners that will enable deserving students from Jamaica to experience the Academy.
9th Grade Weekend Intensive
In 2016, At the Well established a program that focused on the unique needs of younger students. The 9th Grade Weekend Intensive was born and serves ninth grade students entering the tenth grade of high school. This mini two-day program increases awareness of the essential tools required to become successful leaders. Sessions focus on writing, small group discussion, leadership workshops, and self-awareness/motivational presentations. The Weekend Intensive also offers a glimpse of the two week At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy. Priority admission consideration is given to Weekend Intensive participants who apply to attend the Academy.
At the Well has extended the reach of the Academy by expanding its program to Swarthmore College. Located in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, the campus is ranked as one of the top Liberal Arts colleges in the country. The At the Well Young Women’s Leadership Academy-Swarthmore College mimics the program held at Princeton University. The 2016 Inaugural class of thirty students originated from all regions of the country.
At the Well strives to offer programming for young minority teens that is powerful and relevant to their experiences. To address an ever changing environment, the Academy now includes discussion sessions that hone in on issues many students face in their communities including micro-aggressions, bullying, and various forms of discrimination. The Academy prides itself on offering a safe space for students to share their unique experiences in a nurturing and healing atmosphere without judgement.
As we look to the years ahead, it is our goal to expand the Academy to other campuses and continue creating supportive environments for our future leaders to learn and grow.