HEAF Winter Conference 2022
HEAF Winter Conference is a four-day event that serves as an opportunity for current HEAF college students to come back “home to HEAF” during winter break, connect with one another and HEAF staff, and gain practical skills and access to resources that will help them continue to accomplish their educational and professional goals.

Day 1 included two panels for our students. The first was a conversation with Timothy Thompson, Coordinator of Diversity and Education and Support Services at SUNY Tompkins Cortland Community College, on the value of belonging and how it can affect someone in their educational and professional careers. The second session was a workshop on Personal Branding with Hannah Tenadu, Columbia University.

Mr. Thompson talked about his academic career and gave advice to our students about what he has learned throughout the years. One of the topics he talked about was Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you do not belong or are not good enough to belong in a certain space / social setting. When talking about students doubting themselves in college, Mr. Thompson said, “if you start to think ‘wow I do not belong’ remember this school accepted you, yes you do belong”.

portrait of Timothy Thompson
portrait of Hannah Tenadu

Ms. Tenadu hosted a workshop for our students on building a Personal Brand. Topics discussed included resume writing basics, online presence and building professional relationships (networking). While talking about resume writing and how to help your resume stand out, Ms. Tenadu highlighted that, “when considering how to define your personal brand, think about the attributes that you feel are unique to you and that make you YOU”.

Day 2 focused on the topics of Resilience and Mental Health. HEAF’s Youth Development team led a session on Boundaries & Healthy Relationships focused on proactive ways to implement healthy boundaries in their personal and professional lives.

Day 3 was packed with multiple panels focused on the theme of Social Justice. “Our Voice for Change Panel” featured Crystal Joseph, Vice President of Communications at The League of Women Voters of the City of New York, and Marti Gould-Cummings, Drag Artist, Activist, and Former City Council Candidate. In addition, a Financial Literacy: Budget and Savings panel was led by the Santander Team. The night concluded with the Hunger and Food Security for College Students with Leondra Taylor, SUNY Environmental Science Forestry.

portrait of Crystal Joseph

During the “Voting and Being a Voice for Change Panel”, Crystal Joseph and Marti Gould-Cummings talked about their personal experiences in politics and the “light-bulb” moment that made them want to get more involved. They also discussed the importance of being consistent and using the mindset of “how will this affect those around me instead of how will this affect me”.

portrait of Marti Gould-Cummings

Leondra Taylor, SUNY Environmental Science Forestry, led the panel “Hunger and Food Security for College Students” with an energetic discussion centered on the challenges of food security when students leave home for college. Leondra explained how colleges and organizations are placing more emphasis on understanding, communicating and addressing these issues and shared resources all students can tap.

Winter Conference concluded with a Career and Internship fair open to HEAF college students as well as students from HEAF’s peer organizations who participate in our annual College Decision Day. During the fair, students had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with volunteers from Perella Weinberg Partners, Sodexo, InternshipX, Barclays, Chubb, Abernathy MacGregor, and Chanel about different career paths and internship opportunities.