by Diego Barcacel Peña (Original story can be found on

On Wednesday, Metropolitan College of New York Bronx Campus (MCNY) held a panel discussion on women empowerment to inspire women to excel in business, to support one another, and to provide technical information on how to achieve.

The event also included local Bronx vendors who offered delicious pastries, sparkling jewelry, and more.  One was ‘La Dulce Vida Cupcakery’ owned by enterprising MCNY student Jennifer Gonzalez, who explained on thisistheBronX TV’s Facebook LIVE that the college’s Bronx campus has been supportive of her enterprise.

Opening the event, MCNY President Vinton Thompson talked about how Audrey Cohen, the college’s founding president, embodied the subject of the day as she had a clear vision on the importance of higher education as a tool for empowering women.

The panel itself was curated by Danielle Chin, author of A Trip to the Crown Store, a children’s book based on her daughter’s experience with Alopecia. The panelists were Natalia Fernandez, former Bronx Regional Representative in, the Governor’s Executive Chamber and current candidate for Assembly, Tiara Williams, director of Bronx Workforce1, and Marricka Scott-McFadden, the Deputy Borough President.

“The Bronx is a majority female county,” said Scott-McFadden, who along with Williams is an alumna of MCNY’s MPA program. “The renaissance that we now have in the Bronx is really because of the hard work that women who have stayed in the communities have done.”

(L-R) Natalia Fernandez, Marricka Scott-McFadden, and Tiara Williams captivate the audience with life lessons and personal growth stories (photo by Diego Barcacel Peña)

The panelists spoke about the women in their lives whose hard work had a positive effect on them. They referred to former first lady Michelle Obama, Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, and their own mothers.

“I have to give my mother ultimate props for being that example,” said Fernandez. “She was a stay-at-home mother with seven kids, including my father whose work she supported, so she had seven jobs and she always encouraged us.”

“When MCNY was opened here in the Bronx that was the best move for all women here,” Gonzelez said, who started her business as a way to give her children sweets that she couldn’t afford. Referring to MCNY, she said, “There are no excuses anymore. MCNY is so supportive.”

The panelists agreed that one of the most significant barriers to female leadership is self-doubt.

“Because I’m usually the only one in the room of my color and gender, I have to deal with being worthy enough, or being smart enough,” said Williams. “But I read somewhere that you’re holding all your ancestors, all the people before you on your back, so that alone makes you worthy. You belong here, baby.”