2023 Carolinas Youth Mentoring Symposium

Check out the highlights from our 2023 Carolinas Youth Mentoring Symposium! Approximately 200 youth and adults convened at the Durham Convention Center to explore the theme Finding Purpose in the Future of Work.

Explore scenes from the 2023 Carolinas Youth Mentoring Symposium!
Play Video

The pandemic and successive world events have forced everyone to examine their choices about how they spend their time. With new self-awareness, people continue to reflect on important questions, such as: What makes me happy and whole? What do I need to feel a sense of connection with others? How can I seek personal value and purpose in my work?

The Carolinas Youth Mentoring Symposium returned on October 7, 2023 to bring together approximately 200 young people, youth development practitioners, elected officials, and other community members for a day of learning. In Finding Purpose in the Future of Work, the Symposium helped demonstrate how mentoring can be a catalyst to elevate personal purpose and values at work. Topics provided mentoring practitioners with practical tools and knowledge, and the youth track returned with new opportunities for young people to strengthen their connections.


8:00 am – 9:00 am Coffee and Conversations

9:00 am – 9:10 am Welcome

  • Commissioner Brenda Howerton, Chair, Durham Board of County Commissioners
  • Barbara Jessie-Black, President & CEO, CommunityWorx, Board Chair, Youth Mentoring Collaborative
  • Atrayus O. Goode, President & CEO, Youth Mentoring Collaborative

9:10 am – 10:00 am Opening Plenary with Keynote by Raven Solomon

Raven Solomon headshot

Raven Solomon

Raven Solomon is a global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion thought leader and nationally recognized keynote speaker who helps organizations get future-ready by understanding generations, racial equity, and their intersection. Read more about Raven on her website here.

10:15 am – 11:30 pm Concurrent Sessions

Professional Track (Adults)

  • What are you Doing After High School? Leadership Activities That Develop College-Going Students | Dar Mayweather, Ph.D., Founder & CEO, Doing the Good Work, LLC
  • Approaches to Technology-Delivered Interventions in Mentoring | Marcus Howard, Ph.D., Founder, ROSA Technology
  • Supporting Brilliance, Creativity, and Leadership in Our Youth | Shauna M. Cooper, Ph.D., Professor, Psychology and Neuroscience; Director, Strengths, Assets, & Resilience (StAR) Lab, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Youth Track

  • Advancing Black and Brown Entrepreneurship Panel Discussion | Allan Younger, Senior Director of Programs, NC IDEA (moderator); Jeremy Collins, CEO, Blackacre; Larry Long, Jr., CEO, Larry Long, Jr., LLC; Charles Campbell, Owner, Campbell Consulting Studio, LLC; Frank Pollock, Owner, The Pioneer Group
  • Networking: How to Get It Done | Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, Ph.D., Visionary Founder and Chairperson, Leadership LINKS, Inc.
  • Step Into Your Power! How Young People’s Voices can Shape a Community and Lead to Change | Jeymi Dubon, Bilingual Project Coordinator, City of Durham Office on Youth; Nori McDuffie, Youth Project Assistant, City of Durham Office on Youth

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch; Outstanding Youth Leaders of the Year scholarship awards ceremony

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm Concurrent Sessions

Professional Track (Adults)

  • Leveraging Technology to Reduce Effort and Increase Impact in Mentoring Relationships | Nate Branscomb, CEO, BCombs; President, 100 Black Men of Triangle East
  • The Benefits of Youth Apprenticeship and Offering Youth-Led Initiatives | Precious McKoy, Founder/Executive Director, SHIELD Mentor Program; Antonio McKoy, Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Labor and Apprenticeship
  • Access, Attainment, and Affirmative Action: Helpful Postsecondary Education Insights For Mentors | Ruben Watson, Co-Chair, Collegiate 100 Committee, 100 Black Men of Triangle East; Yolanda Keith, Co-Founder, Catalyst Prompt

Youth Track

  • Brand Me Over | Sharon Decoster, Owner, Building a Better You
  • Bridging the Gap: Navigating Gender Bias Panel Discussion | Barbara Jessie-Black, President & CEO, CommunityWorx; Annette Taylor, Director, Office of Digital Equity, State of North Carolina; Tiki Windley, Program Officer, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; Alexandra Valladares, Board Member, Durham Public Schools Board of Education
  • Relationship-Building, Games, and Fun

2:45 pm – 3:45 pm Closing Plenary with Corey Manning

Corey Manning LinkedIn headshot

Corey Manning

Corey Manning utilizes comedy and evidence-based research, and promising practices, as well as his personal experiences and knowledge, to facilitate interactive workshops around the world, in-person and/or online. Read more about Corey on his website here.

3:45 – 4:00 pm Conference Wrap-Up & Next Steps


Burroughs Wellcome Fund logo

Champions of Mentoring Leadership Circle

The Champions of Mentoring Leadership Circle (CMLC) recognizes philanthropic organizations across the Carolinas that support the youth mentoring field by investing in sustaining current and new mentoring programs that are effectively reaching young people through evidence-based practices, leveraging employees to become volunteers through direct mentoring and / or skill-based volunteer projects, and supporting the development of strategic partnerships to support the integration of mentoring into K-12 school systems and higher education institutions as an evidence-based intervention proven to maximize youth impact in a range of outcomes.


The Ciara Arts and Science Foundation's mission is to identify underprivileged youth who would like to develop talents in the arts or academia. The Foundation provides scholarships/grants to these children alongside organizations with similar missions. The Foundation funds awareness efforts to encourage minority communities to participate in these vital youth programs.

Ciara Arts and Science Foundation logo


NC IDEA empowers North Carolinians to achieve their entrepreneurial potential by offering support when and where they need it most.




Outstanding Youth Leaders of the Year Scholarship

The Outstanding Youth Leaders of the Year Scholarship is made possible through a partnership with the Ciara Arts & Science Foundation. The half-tuition, needs-based, renewable scholarship will be awarded to three prospective college students during programming at our Carolinas Youth Mentoring Symposium.

Click the link to learn more!


2022 Carolinas Youth Mentoring Symposium

Interested in what a Symposium with YMC looks like? Check out details from last year's conference at The Friday Center in Chapel Hill, NC.


Healing-Centered Mentoring™ Fellowship Program

YMC's inaugural Healing-Centered Mentoring™ Fellowship Program has launched with nine leaders from North & South Carolina.

Justice Blog Post

From the YMC blog: June Highlights and Resources

Summer's here! Check out our June blog for an op-ed by our youth board member, plus ideas for supporting LGBTQ+ youth and youth graduating from high school.