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Faculty and Alumni Join Aspiring Students at 2021 Women in Business Conference

Joseph Abrams ’23

News Editor

Faculty and alumni made their way to campus last month for this year’s Women in Business Conference- a day of workshops and talks instated by the Women in Business Club 16 years ago. Aspiring women at the college from a range of different departments- including Economics, Political Science, Accounting, and English- took a break from their Saturday relaxation to hear prominent alumni and faculty share their experiences in the business world and pass on helpful tips. While last year’s conference was completely virtual as a result of the pandemic, this year’s hybrid format was a celebrated return to form.

The 16th annual Women in Business Conference, hosted by the Ciocca Center, kicked off with an introduction to the club’s eight student organizers. After these introductions, accompanied by a video sent in by Class of ‘94 alum and owner of Carole Kitchen and Bath Design Maura Fredey, attendees and speakers were sent into smaller networking rooms to meet with the attending alumni and garner helpful networking tips. Once the clock struck 9:30, Dean Freije took over to introduce this year’s Keynote Speaker: Chief Operating Officer of the National Basketball Association Kate Jhaveri ‘95. 

Photo courtesy of @holycrosswib

“Your career is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So pace yourself because you are going to find through your career what speaks to you personally and professionally,” Jhaveri told attendees as she described her experience as a woman working in the business world. Once Jhaveri finished to an audience full of Zoom clapping emojis, the conference’s sessions were officially underway. 

The eight different subsessions that attendees rotated in and out of covered a whole range of different topics pertaining to working in the finance world, developing helpful networking and management skills, and planning for an often hectic work-life balance. Workshops on bringing Jesuit education to the workplace, planning for your first 100 days in a new job, conducting interviews as if you were an actor, and creative entrepreneurship were only some of the compelling activities offered throughout the day. Founder/CEO of Saint Jane Beauty Casey Georgeson ‘99, Senior Director of Learning and Development at KPMG US Jackie Mountford ‘01, and President & CEO of Project Bread Erin Mcaleer ‘02 were a few of many distinguished alumni that led these sessions alongside the WIB speakers.

During and after the conference, members and speakers of the club reflected on the valuable experience that the club and conference has given them. Mary Anne Wiley ‘22 relayed that “Women in Business has opened multiple opportunities for me in my four years here on the hill. WIB has not only allowed me to build my network, but it has also created a family in both my fellow students and alumni. It has been an absolute pleasure working alongside both alumni and students to create year after year an incredible conference, despite challenges brought on by COVID. I am forever thankful for the Ciocca Center for hosting this event and for the opportunities for which they have provided me.”

Other attendees expressed gratitude that the conference was held in both virtual and in-person settings, allowing alumni to tune in from all over the country in a safe way. Cassie Gevry, associate director of the Ciocca Center, stated: “The current hybrid nature of the annual conference promotes growth within the Women in Business network. This year students were able to create community together on campus while alumnae were able to join virtually, allowing us to stay safe while also creating meaningful connections and lasting memories. We look forward to bringing the community together again while still offering the virtual option to welcome everyone to contribute to the important conversations and support each other.”

Suffice it to say, this year’s Women in Business Conference was a success. If you are interested in joining the Women in Business Planning Committee, consider reaching out to Cassie Gevry of the Ciocca Center or Catherine Casey ‘22.

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