Young Women’s Leadership Conference

This annual event connects high school women with accomplished female artists and leaders for workshops and discussions about the wide range of leadership and life skills developed through the study of the performing arts.

Young women take part in activities at the Young Women's Leadership Conference, view from above of participants standing with their arms raised.

Developing skills for future leaders

Hosted at the Winspear Opera House, approximately 150 young women, grades 9-12, attend a full day of activities every spring. To ensure an inclusive environment, schools and youth organizations are invited to participate in the conference free of charge, and transportation assistance is provided when needed.

The conference debuted in 2018 with special guest Former First Lady Michelle Obama, who made a subsequent appearance in the 2019 conference. The 2021 conference’s featured speaker was broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien, who gave the inaugural Debbie Storey Keynote Address. This designation was created and funded by donors in recognition of Debbie’s extraordinary leadership of the Center through the Covid pandemic and her lifelong passion for mentoring and advancing women in leadership roles. Peabody-award-winning writer and producer, Wendy Calhoun headlined the 2023 conference.

The conference features various interactive breakout sessions taught by women experts — like Leadership Lessons Learned Through Improvisation, The Art of Storytelling, and Effective Communication Through the Voice and Body. The conference strives to empower young women to break any barriers they encounter, achieve their dreams, and work to create a more just world for all.