Staff blogger Justin Johnson, Interim Systems Coordinator and Academy Assistant, from Berklee City Music, Boston, blogs about the Women’s History Month Breakfast Celebration.

The Women’s History Month Breakfast Celebration was held on a beautiful Spring morning in the David Friend Recital Hall. This annual event, presented by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, gives the Berklee community a chance to come together and honor the women who serve in several capacities across the institution.2013_0327_WomenHistoryBFast_03

This year’s keynote speech was given by City Music’s very own Dr. Krystal Banfield, Dean of Berklee City Music. Dr. Banfield’s speech centered on one question: How do we as professionals within a college institution prepare the next generation of leaders to address the challenges of our communities on an internal, local, regional and global scale? Dr. Banfield addressed some of the challenges we face as a society in the areas of gender equality, gun violence, and the poverty crisis. It is our duty as leaders at institutions such as Berklee to give tools and guidance to begin to guide the next generation that will help them address these challenges.

Dr. Banfield next focused on the Boston Public School district and how it is part of a trend to “actualize the village, a concerted effort to engage multiple sectors of the surrounding communities which includes colleges and universities as well as non-profit community programs to educate our youth”. Their efforts are based on a model created by the Harlem Children’s Zone; a holistic approach to rebuilding a community so that its children can stay on track through college and go on to have successful careers.

Berklee College of Music through the City Music program and the department of Community Affairs and Campus Engagement are part of the Boston movement of this initiative. The City Music program actively engages Boston youth and future leaders so that they may gain a sense of community and belonging at Berklee, while being provided a quality education from Berklee instructors. Initiatives like these are the tools we can provide the next generation so that they can become leaders and address the challenges of their communities.

Following Dr. Banfield’s keynote, the audience broke into groups where they were encouraged to share their musical journey and how it helped them to become a leader. Groups were asked to discuss how music empowered them, what their musical influences were, and to list some core values that came from those experiences.

Irma Seleman a singer, songwriter and arranger took the stage for a very energized set that went well with the message of Dr. Banfield’s speech. Irma is a second year dual major in Contemporary Writing and Production and Performance. Her music is influenced by Soul and R & B musicians such as Jill Scott, Anita Baker, and Stevie Wonder. The energy of the band sent people back to work with a smile on their face and ended the celebration on an inspiring note.2013_0327_WomenHistoryBFast_11BCMN_Anniversary_Wider