Bryant Black Women's Blueprint's President Devahya Townsend at podium.
Devahya Townsend ’24 currently serves as president of Black Women’s Blueprint — a student organization that provides support to women of the African diaspora. The group will host its third annual Women of Color Conference on March 30 at Bryant.
‘We want to create a revolutionary space that celebrates and fosters a sense of belonging’
Mar 21, 2024, by Emma Bartlett
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Being an open, confident leader can be challenging, but hearing advice from movers and shakers who are women of color leaves Devahya Townsend ’24 feeling empowered. Whether she's absorbing knowledge through conferences, TED Talks, or watching her peers command a room, Townsend is using the confidence she’s acquired to connect with others and lead on campus.

“You really have to believe in your abilities because you wouldn't be in the position you’re in without them,” the Team and Project Management major says, sharing a piece of advice she’s picked up along her college journey.

Townsend, a member of Bryant’s Honors Program and Management Association, currently serves as president of Black Women’s Blueprint — a student organization that provides support to women of the African diaspora through conferences, networking events, and bi-weekly meetings.

Whether they’re hosting a hair braiding event, discussing the importance of self-care, or decorating Halloween cookies, the club’s fun yet informative events create a platform for all students to learn more about women of African descent. The organization is currently preparing for its third annual Women of Color Conference, which is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 30 at Bryant.

“The conference is meant to unite women of color and provide a platform for us to share our stories, knowledge, and power in mere presence,” Townsend says, adding that this year’s theme is “You Belong at the Table.”

Participants will attend four sessions focusing on belonging in STEM environments, self-love and mental wellness, how to excel in business environments, and finding a voice as a business owner. Deesha Dyer, who served as the White House social secretary for former President Barack Obama from 2015 to 2017, will then deliver the keynote address.

“Each speaker has a different story of how they got to where they are. It's easy to fall into the trap that there's only one way to get what you want, and these speakers prove that there are multiple ways to get there,” Townsend says.

Five Bryant students at Women of Color Conference.
Devahya Townsend, second from left, at the 2023 Women of Color Conference.

Townsend joined Black Women’s Blueprint her first year, which was during the pandemic. Even though meetings were held online, she loved the club and would quietly sit back and listen to the conversations. When the end of the year arrived and it was time for executive board elections, another member nominated Townsend for secretary, thus initiating her rise to becoming a leader.

“When I first found out, I immediately called my parents saying, ‘I don’t know anything about this. I can't do this,’” Townsend recalls, adding that her parents encouraged her to give it a try.

Deciding that she could always resign if she didn’t like being secretary, Townsend accepted the nomination and soon won. She enjoyed the position her sophomore year and notes that it was the warm and inviting presence of Vanessa Pramberger ’22 — Black Women’s Blueprint’s president at the time — that gave her the idea of running for president one day.

Townsend, who became vice president her junior year, will graduate this May and start working at Travelers Insurance. Until then, she’s excited about the club’s upcoming conference and how it brings together a diverse group of professionals across industries.

“We want to create a revolutionary space that celebrates and fosters a sense of belonging for women of color. By reinforcing diversity, equity, and inclusion, we intend to inspire each participant as well as nurture a strong community that thrives on shared experiences and mutual respect,” Townsend says.

Black Women’s Blueprint’s Women of Color Conference is open to the public. If you are a member of the Bryant community, click here to register. All other participants can sign up here.

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