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Susan L. Taylor to speak as part of Smeal Diversity Enhancement Programs Speaker Series

March 18, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Susan L. Taylor, founder and CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and the former editor of Essence magazine, will speak virtually at 6 p.m. March 23. Taylor’s talk is part of the Smeal Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs Speaker Series. 

“Susan Taylor has accomplished so much, helped so many throughout her life. She is a shining example of how empathy and compassion, combined with determined passion can have such a profound impact on the world we live in. Ms. Taylor is an icon, and we are so honored to have her speak as part of our speaker series,” said Jamie Campbell, Smeal’s assistant dean of Diversity Enhancement Programs. 

The event is free and open to everyone, but registration is required

Taylor, a best-selling author of four books and editor of eight others, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur. She grew up working in her father’s clothing store. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would help shape into a global brand more than 8 million readers. 

Her enterprising spirit, wedded to a deep love for her community, led her to found the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2005 as Essence CARES. With local affiliates in 58 cities, National CARES has recruited, trained and deployed more than 150,000 mentors to schools and youth-support and mentoring organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters. It has also added to other culturally rooted, academic- and social-transformational initiatives. National CARES is the only organization dedicated to providing mentoring, healing and wellness services on a national scale for Black Children. 

Taylor, now editor-in-chief emerita of Essence, has received more than a dozen honorary doctorate degrees, and hundreds of other awards, including the Phoenix Award. That is the highest honor given by the Congressional Black Caucus. 

A lifelong activist who has worked to sure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Taylor has said that securing vulnerable children is her highest calling and the “big business” of our nation and Black America today. 

Taylor’s presentation is also sponsored by the Penn State Educational Equity Multicultural Resource Center.

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