Over 180 students attend 19th annual Manuel H. Gallegos Young Women’s Leadership Conference

Over 180 young women from Harris County and South Texas participated in the 19th annual Manuel H. Gallegos Young Women’s Leadership Conference, held virtually on Friday, May 14.

The free conference, hosted for the first time by Harris County Department of Education and organized by Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Dr. Jesús Amezcua and CASE for Kids, empowers young girls to seek leadership positions in professional environments.

HCDE's Dr. Jesus Amezcua speaks during the Gallegos Young Women's Virtual Conference.

“We did not have a conference last year due to Covid, but we were determined to continue this conference,” said Amezcua. “I think it’s important to provide an opportunity for students to participate in leadership activities, network, and see examples of successful community members that can be someone they can look up to and follow their path.”

Named after its creator, South Texas youth advocate Manuel “Manny” Gallegos, the conference had historically taken place at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. After his passing, Amezcua, a former colleague, took on the responsibility of continuing the conference.

Image of Manuel Gallegos.

As a virtual event, young women in grades 9 through 12 from Harris County and across the state were able to participate, regardless of their location. Students who participated in the conference are from public, charter, and parochial schools from HCDE, Stafford MSD and Alief, Laredo, Spring Branch, United, and Houston ISDs.

Presenters included HCDE leaders Venetia Peacock, Senior Director of Head Start; Dr. Lisa Caruthers, Director of CASE for Kids; Danielle Bartz, Chief of Staff; and Celina Cereceres Miller from accounting firm Whitley Penn.

HCDE will host the Graciela Ramirez Young Men’s Leadership Conference in December.