Student Cayla Dorsey shares her Forbes Under 30 Summit experience

November 15, 2019
Photo of Cayla Dorsey at the Forbes Under 30 Summit

Dallas native Cayla Dorsey is a senior in the Newhouse School’s public relations program with a dual major in information management and technology in the School of Information Studies. A Phanstiel Scholar and an ambassador for the W2O Center for Social Commerce at Newhouse, Dorsey is also a graduate of the Wellslink Leadership Program. She has interned at W2O Group and NBC.

Recently, Dorsey attended the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Detroit. We sat down with her to ask about the experience.

How did you come to attend the Forbes Under 30 Summit?

A career mentor recommended it to me and sent me a link to the application. The application process aimed to gather a diverse group of ambitious students with different backgrounds and interests. I was interested in attending because I wanted to expand my network. Networking is so important—especially the opportunity to meet professionals in an environment that I normally wouldn't be [in]. I also wanted to learn about… entrepreneurship, emerging technologies and building your brand.

Talk about the experience.

This year, Forbes Under 30 was held in Detroit to better drive the conversation surrounding diversity and inclusion. Diversity isn't only [about race], but can be location-driven as well. Seventy-five percent of venture capital money for new businesses goes to California, New York and Massachusetts. Forbes was focused on bringing the spotlight to a reviving city filled with opportunity. There were small and large stages in the event center [with] speakers presenting throughout the day. There was a startup competition where businesses could pitch their ideas. Additionally, there were mini-workshops and areas to interact with attendees.

Does any part of the experience stand out to you as being particularly interesting or inspiring?

Meeting Syracuse alumni was amazing! I loved having the opportunity to share stories with fellow alumni who understand my background and have the best-real world advice.

I also loved hearing from [actress and investor] Sophia Bush about the challenges women face when starting their own businesses. 

Finally, being front row for [a presentation by tennis player] Serena Williams was the icing on the cake. She had so many great things to say about how it takes patience and truly hard work to stay at the top.

The Forbes Under 30 Summit focuses on influential leaders and entrepreneurs who are driving change and transforming business practices. How important is it for young women of color to see people who “look like them” in settings like this?

Having role models as a women of color is so important. Growing up, I did not know anyone who looked like me that was in the public relations field and especially not the tech industry. It can be discouraging when you are in a classroom or at a company where you feel as if you are the only one. In the future, I want to be a mentor to young women of color who are aspiring not only to break into the industry, but also want to become a leader.

From your perspective, what are the main benefits of a diversity and inclusion approach to communications and business?

Diverse voices create successful and more innovative business practices. In the field of communications, having diverse members and leaders on your team allows you to understand your clients, target audiences and create better relationships amongst your colleagues. I think there is still a lot of work to be done, particularly in leadership—and not just meeting a quota or requirement.