Aronté Bennett Motivates Women to be Catalysts for Change in Philadelphia
Each time Aronté Bennett was approached to consider applying for the role of President in the Junior League of Philadelphia, she declined. Despite earning a PhD and having served in many other JLP leadership roles , she didn’t feel prepared. “It was in talking to a past President when I realized that it is a rare woman who feels ‘ready’ to take the helm,” says Bennett. The encouragement she received to become her League’s first Black President epitomizes The Junior League’s vision of women as catalysts for lasting community change. She tossed her hat into the ring and the rest is history.
Just as Aronté was encouraged to pursue a leadership role, she feels called to empower, motivate, and develop women leaders. “I consider it my responsibility to ensure I offer other women the same level of support,” she says. “It is particularly important to me that I extend my support to women with potential who may be otherwise overlooked professionally, civically, or socially.”
For Aronté, helping those who may be overlooked extends beyond the spheres of academia and leadership. She serves on the Board of the Fund for the Fairmount Water Works, which supports a science education center that is available for free to community members. This program provides access to STEM-based education, introducing children from all socio-economic backgrounds to the beauty of aquatic ecosystems.
Aronté and her fellow Junior League Members also never miss an opportunity to bring awareness to food insecurity in their community. In casual conversations, through sharing relevant information on social media, or in lessons to her college students, Bennett explains how systemic oppression exacerbates food insecurity and how her League works with community partners to help address these problems.
Whether motivating women leaders, advocating for those without a voice, or speaking about food insecurity, Aronté believes we can all be catalysts for change—in our communities, nationally, and beyond.
“Among the many lessons that I have learned as a Member of The Junior League is that all it takes is someone to recognize a need for there to be an opportunity to fill it,” she says.