Nearly 15 Texas College Pre-Alumni Council students traveled to Dallas, Texas, recently to attend the Real Talk Drives Real Change (RTDRC) conference presented by Chevrolet and NewsOne. As part of a four-city tour, hosted by pop culture and political commentator Mike Muse, the RTDRC conference tackles real issues through honest and authentic discussions, with influential speakers and students to raise awareness of topics relevant to improving specific challenges impacting people of color in America. By creating a space for conversations to be both held and heard, RTDRC aims to create positive social and economic impact within minoritized communities across America, enabling actionable change that results in true progress and community enrichment.
PICTURED RIGHT: Texas College students pose for a photograph alongside Huston-Tillotson University students at the Real Talk Drives Real Change conference in Dallas, Texas.
The Dallas RTDRC conference focused on women empowerment, specifically within the realm of entrepreneurship. Given the theme, the conference featured an engaging and conversational panel discussion with four prominent Black women entrepreneurs:
- Dana Henson - President of Platform Construction, LLC, and Vice President of the Henson Development Company, Inc.;
- Angel McCoughtry - Former WNBA Player, Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, Owner of McCoughtry's Ice Cream Shop, and Executive Film Producer;
- Kimberly Bryant - Founder and Executive Director of Black Girls CODE, White House Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion, Business Insider's Top 25 Most Influential African-Americans In Technology, Ebony's Power 100 Member, Smithsonian Magazine's American Ingenuity Award for Social Progress Recipient, POLITICO's Women Who Rule Award Recipient, Former Biotechnology Engineer Leader for various Fortune 100 Companies, such as Genentech and Pfizer; and
- Courtney Couch - Founder and Chief Brand Officer for c. luxe creative and Former Marketing Director for Atlantic Records.
The aforementioned lineup did not disappoint, as students raved about the knowledge and insight they gleaned. Notably, students emphasized the importance of asking questions and asking for help, especially if venturing into the entrepreneurial realm, per the panel. In addition, networking also emerged as a focal takeaway point, which the students heeded immediately.
Given the concept of RTDRC, the conference was crawling with eager young educated minds yearning for connections and opportunities, as well as other thought-provoking intellectuals, and even industry experts. Texas College students raved about their interactions between peers from other institutions, touting connections they made and enthusiastically discussing future endeavors.
While multiple institutions were represented at RTDRC, Texas College was visibly present by sheer numbers. Their noticeable presence seemingly attracted the students from the three other institutions that also brought sizable groups: Huston-Tillotson University, Wiley University, and Paul Quinn College. Given their obvious HBCU connections, as well as the substantial amount of student attendees, the four student groups merged to collectively enjoy the conference together.
In addition to the superb featured panel discussion, the RTDRC conference comprehensively exuded energy, excitement, and engagement. Designed to charge your mind body, and spirit, the RTDRC Community Love Station (CLS), curated a dynamic and captivating environment. With a wealth of active displays, DJs, live music, a 360 degree photo booth, a custom t-shirt station, a multitude of giveaways and informational resources, food, yoga stations, technology charging lounges, and other thoughtful amenities, the CLS provided an experience within itself.
The final takeaway that students overwhelmingly noted was the concept and responsibility of "giving back." Spurred by the panel, as well as interactions with attendees, Texas College students expressed their keen interest in service and giving back to "where they came from," as well as those things that helped to shape them into who they are today. Of these items responsible for molding them, many of the students regarded Texas College as undoubtedly vital to their growth and development of who they today.