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Connecting a community

“As a Black woman, I am just as interested in giving back to my community as I am in growing professionally.” This past year, graduating RC student Faty Yassine Sylla put these words into action as President of Connections: A Group for Black Women.

This non-profit organization provides self-identifying Black women at U of T and surrounding communities with a safe space to connect with each other and with professionals from a variety of industries. Members expand their personal and professional careers by engaging in development and networking opportunities and social events.

Leading a community to succeed together

For Sylla, leadership as President during the 2019/20 academic year was her proudest accomplishment from the past four years at Rotman Commerce. As a member of this community herself, it was important to her to foster an inclusive space for Black women. Positively impacting her community factors into Sylla’s idea of success. The position allowed her to sharpen her leadership skillset while furthering a cause she believed in: “Most importantly, I worked towards creating a safe space for Black women on campus and facilitated events to provide them with career guidance and tools for their professional journey.”

This past year, Connections hosted many initiatives. Events included a financial literacy workshop, panel discussion on mental health and therapy, and a number of movie nights and study sessions. The group also launched Alumni Path, a series where U of T and Ryerson alumni share weekly advice about academia and the workforce. This series created a discussion space for key topics such as remote learning and transferring academia to the workforce.

From the past to the present

When looking back on her experience at Rotman Commerce, Sylla once again highlights the importance of being part of a community. “RC would not have been the same without the supportive friends and groups that were there to facilitate my experience,” she said, “the community supported me academically, professionally and kept me motivated when times were difficult.”

Sylla is currently working at TD Bank as a Co-op Associate. She is also director of finance and operations for re:Magazine, a platform showcasing the visual and literary works of young creatives.

Note: this article is a part of our series featuring graduating students leading up to Convocation.

May 27, 2021

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