When Kastina Fishback discovered the Fearless Leadership Institute (FLI) she was excited to learn from inspiring, successful women of color and forge lifelong friendships with likeminded students of similar backgrounds.
“I decided to join FLI because of the amazing women who founded the organization, Thais Moore and Tiffany Tillis,” says Fishback, a corporate finance senior. “I was able to develop a relationship with these women early in my college career and I’m so glad I did. It was so comforting to see women of color on the UT campus who actually took an interest in me and my future.”
During her time in the program, Fishback honed her leadership skills while working alongside community leaders, professors, successful alums and her fellow students at various professional-development events. What makes the program unique, Fishback says, is that it focuses on the students’ total wellbeing.
“The topics range from friendships and relationships, self-care, becoming a ‘P31 Woman,’ next steps and more,” Fishback adds. “These topics aren’t typically discussed in other student-success groups, but are still very relevant in my life.”
Fishback is especially grateful for her network of friends who can understand and appreciate her experiences at a university with a small—yet growing—percentage of African American students.
“I also love hearing testimonies from other young women and learning how they were able to rise above whatever obstacle they were faced with,” Fishback says. “It definitely makes you realize that you are not alone.”
Now Fishback is ready wrap up her senior year and get started in her new career as a risk consultant for KPMG in Dallas, Texas. Looking back on her many experiences in FLI—and various other organizations—she is grateful for the many people who helped her prepare for a successful life after college.
She encourages all students of color to make the most out of their undergraduate experience by reaching out and making connections.
“It is so easy to feel like you are alone at UT and just another number,” says Fishback, who is also president of the Black Business Student Association, a mentor in Women of Excellence and a member of the Longhorn Link Program. “However, it is also easy to feel like you have a sense of community and a strong support system here as well. You never know the opportunities and experiences you can gain just by simply having a conversation with someone.”