ROSES spring women’s forum focuses on networking, building relationships

The Houston Independent School District’s Resilient Outstanding Sisters Exemplifying Success (ROSES) project on Thursday hosted its spring professional women’s forum to discuss how strong communication and effective networking skills can shape a young woman’s life.   

The forum, which was titled “The secrets to building meaningful relationships”, was held at Kashmere High School and was moderated by ABC 13 Houston Anchor Erica Simon. Panelists included leaders in criminal justice, immigration reform, community affairs, as well as a student panelist from Navarro Middle School. 

Throughout the evening they discussed the impact that communication can have on the different relationships in a young woman’s life, especially the importance of respect in any level of relationship. 

“I believe a relationship involves reciprocity where there is a give and take, there is a back and forth between two individuals,” panelist and Branch Director for the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department Sonja Kirkland said. “Be it a friendship, work relationship or intimate relationship there needs to be some type of reciprocity in growing together and learning together.” 

Simon, who recently signed up to be a ROSES mentor, talked openly about how networking helped her launch her career in Dallas and the importance of maintaining cultivated relationships. 

“Don’t always just call someone when you need something,” she told the audience. “There will come a time that you will have relationships that will be separated by time and distance but if you can remember to maintain it when the time comes for something favorable to happen it will.” 

D’Anna Wade, Community Affairs Manager at Schlumberger, reminded the audience that networking is an extension of yourself and how essential it is to be authentic. 

“Think about who you are down to the core – your personality and how you want to express that,” she said. “This is the time to embrace yourself fully and then the world will embrace you fully.” 

ROSES, which is the sister program of Ascending to Men (ATM), will hold its next professional women’s forum in Spring 2020. For more information on how to support ROSES, which seeks to provide positive role models and advocates for underserved young women in the district, visit