Harvard University’s Women in Business Intercollegiate Business Conference
Post by Derek Tu ’18
On October 17th, I attended the Harvard University Women in Business Intercollegiate Business Conference. Last year, I also attended this conference, and I loved every second of it, so my expectations going into this conference were extremely high. The day started early with us taking the T to the Hynes Convention Center at 7:30am.
My favorite panel featured Jeanne Jackson, the current President of Product and Merchandising at Nike. She started off with a story of her background in retail and brand management, and how the landscape has changed since when she started. Her story was inspirational, as she broke through the glass ceiling to become CEO and President of Walmart, President and CEO of Gap, and the President and CEO of Banana Republic. She shared her insights on the unique perspective that women bring to executive roles and highlighted how men have helped her in her career. This last part was extremely useful since I firmly believe that the gender inequality in the workplace is intolerable and would do anything to help level the playing field and build a system on meritocracy rather than gender.
My favorite breakout session was definitely “Creative Philanthropy and Social Impact.” Having worked at the Lewis Institute on campus, I’m really intrigued on how we can engage in philanthropy in unique ways and creating social impact in extremely bureaucratic environments. The panelists all have experience running nonprofits and NGOs, and they talked about how they approached social change from an artistic angle, from stirring the empathy of people and building meaningful connection between groups, to using creative outlets to communicate key messages. My huge takeaway from this is that you can be a social entrepreneur in many different ways. You don’t just have to be working at a nonprofit or starting a social venture – you can be a professor, a artist, a musician and still create social impact.
I’m definitely interested in future opportunities from HUWIB. I think they do a great job of helping bridge the gender gap, and I really want to be at the forefront, championing gender equality. Thank you to the Undergraduate Professional Accelerator Fund for the opportunity to attend this event!