Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award – Kiarra Womack ’21
Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award Reflection
“As a recipient of the Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award, I have been reaffirmed in my efforts towards making the world a better place through leadership. I have always strived to live a life of selfless leadership. Learning about Jackie Robinson’s legacy inspired me to make this a reality throughout my college experience and life. In my three years at Washington University in St. Louis, I have engaged in numerous programs and trainings in order to build my character, meet new people, and try to make my campus a better place.
As a first year, I participated in the Institute which is a week-long program that provides participants with opportunities to discover their vision and learn the necessary skills to implement their goals through leadership. During that program, I discovered the importance of having difficult conversations and standing up for others amongst my peers. As a person that believes in giving back to those that helped me; I became the On-Site Coordinator of the LeaderShape Institute where I learned how to advocate, design, and implement large-scale projects while assisting my peers in their leadership journey.
Through my leadership roles, I have strived to grow in my leadership and bring others with me. I pursue this goal in my role as Social Chair for the Association of Black Students (ABS). The organization’s mission is to promote the Black experience as the diverse entity that it is, showing that blackness is not monolithic. As ABS social chair, I have created and implemented “themed weeks” of programming and co-programmed with other cultural student groups to expand our outreach. My involvement in ABS has built a solid foundation for future students to feel comfortable challenging stereotypes and fostering inclusivity within the black community.
I supported my peers in growing their leadership and impact while connecting them to the greater St. Louis community. I did this by serving as a City Faces Day Leader, where I worked with elementary students of color conducting fun and educational activities while overseeing a group of volunteers. In these activities, I encourage my volunteers to listen to the communities we are working with so that we maintain their vision and not what we envision for them. Last semester, I served as a Bear Leader, supporting an immersive educational experience for over 20 incoming students that took them into the St. Louis community. We focused on the intersections of sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and their relation to civic engagement. Challenging conversations arose in these spaces in which I took educational routes and explained to students that even when someone seems different from you, they deserve the same level of respect that you value yourself. These humbling leadership experiences have taught me a lot about myself and what I can learn from other people as I continue on this journey.
The Unilever Legacy of Leadership Award has reaffirmed my efforts of service and empowered me to continue this legacy of service-based leadership that I have begun to shape. I am incredibly grateful to Unilever and the Jackie Robinson Foundation for granting me this honor and their continued investment in me. Empowering others through my leadership has taught me that everyone has a choice to become a socially responsible leader and I continue to exercise that choice every day.”