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"The Sky's the Limit:" The Charles Ellis Trust Scholars Conference

Ninety Young Women Gathered for a Day of Empowerment at the Philadelphia Futures’ Ellis Trust Scholars Conference and Received a Special Surprise at the End.


The room was silent as the 90 young women in attendance at the Ellis Trust Scholars Conference opened their secret purple envelopes. Soon, an outburst of cheers and applause cresendoed as the girls realized they each were receiving a $100 shopping experience to purchase professional attire.  

On Saturday, October 29, 2016, the Ellis Trust Scholars Conference took place at the DoubleTree Hotel in Center City. The theme of the Conference was “The Sky’s the Limit,” affirming the belief that when there is no glass ceiling, the sky is the limit. Young women in grades nine through twelve, who are recipients of grants from the Ellis Trust, and their parents, gathered for a day of inspiration, empowerment and skill-building. 

After welcome remarks and a powerful video presentation, 6abc News Anchor Sharrie Williams moderated a panel of professional women, who spoke candidly about their career choices. The panelists included Renee Booth, PhD, President of Leadership Solutions, Inc.; Brandeis Brockman, Certified Nurse Practitioner at Amy Orloff & Associates; Lara Grieco, Senior Associate Director of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania; and Lisa Jordan, Attorney-at-Law at Schwartz Jordan Family Law Group. Each of the women brought a unique perspective to the panel discussion and helped the young women understand a range of career options.  

Following the opening session, workshops were offered for the students and their parents. Workshop topics included: “Preparing for College,” “Building a Resume,” “Interviewing Skills” and “Supporting Your Scholar on the Road to College and Career Success.” Following the workshops, Sharon Phillips Waxman of SPW Productions led a presentation on the power of personal branding. Six Ellis Trust Scholars modeled professional outfits, helping the young women understand the power of impression management. It was at this point that the “Oprah” moment occurred and all the girls learned that they, too, would be dressing for success.   

“The Ellis Trust Scholars Conference proved to be a powerful day for our scholars and their parents,” Christina Santos, Director of the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls, said. “We were delighted to be joined by a group of influential women, including our good friend, 6abc News Anchor, Sharrie Williams. It was an inspiring day for all of the young women in attendance who left the conference knowing that there are no limits to their success.” 

The Charles Ellis Trust for Girls provides financial assistance to young women living in low-income, single-parent households to enhance their high school experience and prepare for postsecondary success. To learn more about the Charles E. Ellis Trust for Girls, visit

View photos from the Ellis Trust Scholars Conference by clicking here.