This past Saturday, the Coccia Office of Entrepreneurial Studies held the 10th Annual Women in Business Conference in the Hogan Ballroom. The event is aimed at celebrating, honoring, and inspiring past and present Holy Cross women in their career endeavors. The organizing committee, comprised Professor David Chu, Cassie Gevry, Kathy Lavalee and eight Holy Cross students, worked hard to prepare for a successful day.
Kim Miles, the founder of Miles in Heels, attends conferences and helps the attendees to ‘get past hello,’ and kicked off the event with an icebreaker that allowed current students and alumni to find commonalities among their experiences at Holy Cross. Each table was given a topic ranging from “favorite Holy Cross tradition” to “best urban legend.” As a comedian, Kim provided commentary on each story and helped to create a welcoming atmosphere for all. This activity allowed students and alumni to find a common ground and led to deeper conversations about life experiences and offered opportunities for professional career advice.
Miles set the stage for the morning’s Keynote Speaker, Amy Bell, Holy Cross Class of 1988 and Deputy Editor of Vanity Fair Magazine. Bell’s speech was empowering for many as she started by talking about her roots as an English Major at Holy Cross, the difficulties she experienced in Graduate School at New York University, and her entry level jobs in magazine publishing. Each of these experiences led her to the work she has done at Vanity Fair Magazine. The address was relatable to many, as she shared specific stories from her undergraduate life, how to make the transition into post graduate life, and answered questions about managing being a mother and a professional. Throughout her speech, Bell reiterated the importance of making oneself an indispensable asset to a company by arriving to work early, staying late, and always giving one hundred and ten percent to assignments. She attributes her success to this motto that she uses daily and encouraged the audience to follow this advice, as it makes employees stand out in the competitive work force. Overall, Amy Bell’s speech was very well written, relatable, and offered many life lessons.
Next, alumni and students chatted over lunch and socialized, which offered for great networking opportunities before the afternoon events. At 2:00, students and alumni attended various alumni represented panels with topics ranging from “Ten Years Out: Life After the Hill,” to “Building Your Personal Brand.” I attended a session called “Corporate Etiquette,” which was run by three recent graduates, who are currently working for General Electric, including in Texas and Connecticut. This session was very helpful, as Kellie, Lauren, and Whitney offered tips on correspondence, proper dress attire, and other situations that one commonly faces in the office. Their insights, responses to questions, and stories about their time at Holy Cross were helpful in gaining new perspectives into life after Holy Cross.
Overall, Women In Business was a success, as the speakers, alumnae support, and attendance by currents students created a friendly and welcoming atmosphere with many intellectual conversations and new connections. The record number of students in attendance, with fifty more than last year, reflects the strength and growth of the Women In Business program over the last ten years.
(Written by Sara McLean’17)