Minority women connect with community
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
By Alana Duffle
senior at Oklahoma Christian University strives to empower the world
one person at a time. During her junior year at Oklahoma Christian,
Latoya Anderson instituted a mentoring program connecting minority
(African American) collegiate women with minority businesswomen in the
workforce. This program began in August and concluded in February.
Anderson was one of 51 women selected as participants in the
Collegiate Women of Color Leadership Development Program. As a result,
she was awarded a grant through the Foundation for Independent Higher
The grant was funded by the Kellogg Foundation. To receive this grant,
Anderson created a project proposal for a minority mentoring project.
This project eventually became what she now calls, Generation to
“This idea began in my kitchen. We were discussing possible
projects and the idea for the mentoring program arose. We both loved
the idea. We could see that there was a need for it in our community,”
Jeanetta Sims, former assistant professor of communications, said.
Generation to Generation was created not only to connect collegiate
women with businesswomen but also to educate collegiate women on three
main core components: health, fitness and finance. These components
are items Anderson and Sims felt were of utmost importance, not only in
the business world, but in life.
“Fitness is my desire. I’m even getting a degree in it. I felt it
was important to equip young minority women with knowledge of fitness,
finance and health. Seeing as African American women are at high risk
for high blood pressure and heart disease, I felt health and fitness
education were of great importance,” Anderson said.
This project began with Anderson but involved many other people.
There were seven minority students selected to be a part of Generation
to Generation, three from the University of Central Oklahoma and four
from Oklahoma Christian. These students were set up with their own
mentor. The mentors were leaders in the workforce, Vice Presidents of
large corporations, principals, professors, entrepreneurs and many
“It is important to see people who look like you in your career
field. Minority women have difficulty doing this. Generation to
Generation provided a psychological shift for these girls. It was a
huge boost education-wise. It also provided validation for them. They
learned that they could do anything,” Sims said. “The first step of
Generation to Generation was changing their minds about feasibility.
Generation to Generation forced them to change the way they approached
work. It opened up a whole new world that wasn’t even psychologically
there for them. It was a powerful experience.”
As Generation to Generation concluded, Anderson realized she
accomplished her goal. The women involved learned from each other,
bonded and became psychologically changed.
“I learned that if you put an idea into play, execute everything
you planned and you stay on track, you will get an amazing ending.
These people probably still keep in contact, which is what we wanted.
We wanted the connection to follow them not only to their careers but
into everything. Ultimately, I learned that if you work hard and put
your mind to something, you can accomplish it, no matter what your
background,” Anderson said.
Although Generation to Generation is over now, the legacy lives on. Anderson’s hard work was noticed by many.
“I’m always thrilled to hear about our students’ community service,
and it’s particularly exciting to hear about a student who is gaining
leadership experience while helping others,” Allison Garret, vice
president for academic affairs, said.