“I am beautiful. I am valuable, I am intelligent, I am destined for greatness, I will suceed, I am Ladylike,” is her mantra; with one hand on her hip and the other up to the sky, Leah instructs everyone in the room to recite Ladylike mantra. It’s the Opening day for the 4th Annual LadyLike Day at UCLA , where young ladies attended group sessions on fashion, health, fitness, STEM, finance and etiquette.
Founded by Leah Pump, the LadyLike Foundation is a faith-based nonprofit organization whose purpose is to educate, empower and inspire young women living in underprivileged communities. Through resource programs, workshops, mentorships and life lessons, young ladies are challenged to reach their highest potential and become the successful, well-rounded “Lady” they were created to be.
The Ladylike Day at UCLA was started with a powerful panel of friends, including designer and philanthropist, Tina Knowles-Lawson, actor and activist, Holly Robinson Peete, and businesswoman, Cookie Johnson. Moderated by Marilyn Booker, attorney and managing director of Morgan Stanley’s Urban Market Group, the panel allowed the audience of young women to ask questions of the guests on any topic and about anything. The first question asked of the audience was on financial literacy and what the panelists did with their money when they first started making real money. “When you give money to young people, they go and buy things,” says Holly Robinson-Peete. “Whatever you do, whether you’re making a lot of money on a new TV show or working at the mall …no matter how much money you make, it’s so important that you figure out away to save it.”
The second series of questions from the audience were related to the opposite sex and how to handle boys and bullies. “Beyoncé was very shy growing up and she had extreme bullies, even so much that they caught two buses to our house to throw rocks at the house,” expressed Knowles-Lawson. “I went to the school and I had a conversation with the little [girl] and I found out that she was just really insecure and hurt. If you’re being bullied, suggest that you try to have that one-on -one conversation because a lot of people are just showing out.”
After the ladies answered questions and gave relatable advice to the audience, NBA legend and business mogul, Magic Johnson joined the all-girls panel, , speaking from the heart on how he made his dreams come true. Giving examples of how he stayed focused on his goals. “I was the first in a lot of things butI also took the bumps of being the first in a lot of things. Cookie and I had to put a lot of our own money up when we first got started in business,” remembers Magic Johnson. “When I wanted to get to another level, I went to ten banks and they turned me down …all ten. They wanted my autograph and a picture but they wouldn’t loan me any money because they thought I was a dumb jock. But this is what I live by, this one word. Over-deliver. Always over deliver.”
After the morning panel, the ladies were sectioned off into group breakout sessions to participate in workshops. including Ladylike Etiquette with former Miss California and model Paula Bond, Fitness and Health with the AIDS Foundation, instructed by Samantha Granberry, vp of AHF Worldwide, Media Marketing & Sales and personal trainer, Corey Taylor. Especially popular sessions included the STEM Study Workshop conducted by UCLA’s Director of Women in Engineering Audrey Poll O’Neal and Associate Director of Pre-College Programs for the UCLA Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity (CEED) Catherine Douglas.
Exposing these young ladies to a world outside of their current surroundings is the mission of the Ladylike Day at UCLA. Business, science and entertainment professionals filled the audience of young ladies aged 12 to 17with words of encouragement and gems of advice, helping them to become a virtuous, well-rounded “Ladies” they were created to be.