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Kemesha Wilmot honored at '100 Women of Color' gala

Published on May 24, 2021

Kemesha Wilmot honored at '100 Women of Color' gala

Kemesha Wilmot

Kemesha Wilmot '05 of New Britain, associate director for the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) at Eastern Connecticut State University, was honored at the June Archer and Eleven28 Entertainment Group's Sixth Annual 100 Women of Color Gala and Awards on May 21.

The gala recognizes 100 influential women of color from Connecticut and western Massachusetts in the fields of business, education, entrepreneurship, entertainment and government, and the positive influence they have made on people in their communities.

Wilmot believes her nomination was based on the work she has done for women, especially women of color. "I'm very passionate about serving as a mentor for women in general, but for women of color it's important because representation matters," said Wilmot. "Coming to work is deeper than just my role at the CCE; it's understanding that I am representing and serving as a role model for a lot of young women on campus and throughout Connecticut."

Since its creation in 2015, more than 300 submissions for this award are received each year, but with only 100 women honored annually, the award is selective. Wilmot shared what it feels like to be among an established group of women.

"I am honored and humbled to be amongst this group of women because these women are coming from all walks of life," said Wilmot. "I love the fact that there are positive role models outside of what we see on television. I've seen the wealth of experiences these women have, and I think our young girls need to know that there are 100 women of color in Connecticut that are doing great work. I am very honored and privileged to be in that space."

After working in higher education for 16 years, meeting a variety of students and being a role model for young Black students, Wilmot shared some advice for Black girls and women who are trying to make a name for themselves in their career or education. "The most important piece to young Black girls, especially in a professional setting, is to exude your confidence and make sure that you belong at the table. Even though you may not feel comfortable, make sure when you're there you let others know you belong there," declared Wilmot.

"I think often when we get into a space where we're the only women of color, we tend to shy away and lower our voices. I say bring your true authentic self and remember you belong there not only because of your race or ethnicity; you belong there because you have the experiences and you have the knowledge to bring something to the table. Never second guess who you are."

At Eastern, Wilmot is advisor to several student clubs, including F.E.M.A.L.E.S. (Females Excelling Maturing to Achieve Leadership, Excellence, and Success), the African Club, the gospel choir United Voices of Praise and Fashion Forward. "The way that I can be a resource and be there for students is by being a club advisor," said Wilmot. "The most important part about my advising role is making sure I am available to students on campus."

In the fall, Wilmot will be working toward her doctoral degree in education at Bay Path University. She thanks Eastern for all the opportunities she has received: "Eastern is a place that has made me the woman that I am today, but I am open to other experiences. I'm very excited about this new journey in my life because I want to know what doors will open.

"I am a vibrant, colorful, Black Jamaican woman and this award is deeper than just me. This award is for all the women in my family," said Wilmot. "Being an immigrant and being able to surpass some of the things my family has done, this award is for my grandmother, aunts and all the women in my family that paved the way to make me the woman I am today."

Written by Bobbi Brown