“Who are you if not your sister’s keeper?” asks Jalina Porter ’04. That’s the question she poses to her Carondelet sisters, to women throughout the world, and to herself. For someone who’s spent her whole life seeking female-centered spaces, this paraphrase isn’t for shock value.
“I feel an obligation to empower women,” she said. “You know, I came from a strong woman. I want to be around strong women.”
Her life can be told in a series of sisterhoods—Carondelet to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Girl Scouts to professional dance teams—Jalina made it a point to surround herself with those who provide a level of love, loyalty, and accountability. “There’s a certain bond when you’re a sister: whether it’s by blood or by choice,” she explained. “When you’re sisters, you won’t always get along, but they’ll always want to pull you up. They want the best for you and make you a better person.”
By the time Jalina arrived at Carondelet in fall 2000, being strong and fearless was familiar, having moved around frequently. From the start, she sought out leadership experiences—service especially calling to her as she filled peer counselor, Kairos leader, and team captain roles. “Carondelet is such a special place, it’s a place with budding leaders,” Jalina said. “When it came to pursuing service, I did what I gravitated to in my heart and what was instilled in me through my values.”
As Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the U.S. Department of State, Jalina’s fearlessness and values have continued to serve her in life after Carondelet. “The legacy that I hope to leave is to encourage women to lead, live by their own terms, and be happy while they’re doing it,” she said.
She aspires to leave the world better than she found it. What’s more, is that she encourages others to do the same. “Now, what legacy do you want to leave? You’re a part of this great Carondelet community, so what are you going to do to make this world better and return the favor?”