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WBA alumni dinner.jpgIn mid-March, Kellogg’s Women’s Business Association hosted a week of programming dedicated to embracing the power of gender diversity. The full list of programming is listed at the end of the blog post, but below are a few of my favorite highlights.

My favorite day of the week was Tuesday. Professors Adam Waytz and Lauren Rivera led a discussion on how we can be better prepared to address common topics that will arise when we return to the workplace. The session helped us reflect on personal experiences and imagine how we might address gender diversity challenges in our future careers.

“The professors helped us realize that we all have and have been affected by gender biases,” said Blair Pircon ‘16. “They facilitated a great forum for students to share personal experiences and grapple with solutions to these tricky problems.”

We continued the conversations in a more informal setting afterward. WBA’s male liaison committee hosted small group dinners to foster an exchange about gender in business. The dinners gave us a chance to meet new people and discuss topics that are often overlooked or not shared openly. I’m hopeful that the dinners started a dialogue that will continue among friends and peers around campus.

The night ended in a fun way with Kellogg’s version of the Jimmy Fallon lip sync competition. We may just start an annual tradition during WBA week — the contestants put a ton of time into their preparation, which made it one of the most entertaining nights I’ve had at Kellogg.

Another highlight of the week was the alumnae dinner with Kellogg alumnae Danielle Langone, CEO at Heirlume and Nicole Staple, Co-CEO at Brideside. The alums shared what motivated them to take the entrepreneurial leap and the challenges they face. They also shed insight on how they see their businesses growing and how they manage both their business and personal brands.

“They drew parallels between what they learned at Kellogg and how they use that to manage their businesses,” Bharti Gandhi ‘15 said. “Students also chimed in with their own entrepreneurial experiences, making the evening quite cherished and fruitful.”

Below is the full list of programming that the WBA hosted throughout the week. I was grateful to be part of a great week that allowed all of us to reflect and celebrate various aspects of gender diversity.

  • “Lululemon: Taking a women’s brand to men”
    Co-sponsored with the Retail and Luxury Goods Club
    Lululemon Director of Global Merchandising Mariel O’Brien spoke about the challenges of launching a men’s business under a women’s established brand.
  • Golf Etiquette Lunch and Learn
    Co-sponsored with Golf Club
    It was particularly helpful for those of us who might be conducting business on the golf course one day!
  • eChat with angel investor Joanne Wilson
    Co-sponsored with eClub
    Joanne shared her perspective on big technology shifts over the next 10 years. She is also the co-founder of the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival and has been an avid champion for women in tech.
  • Movie Night: Cairo 678
    Co-sponsored with Middle East North Africa club
    Three women in Cairo from different walks of life join together in uneasy solidarity to combat the sexual harassment that has impacted each of their lives. It offered great perspective on global gender issues.
  • Throughout the Week:
    We celebrated our female classmates by nominating them for “kudos” based on awesome things they’ve done on campus. The winner won a Lo & Sons bag!

Stay tuned for more information from the Women’s Business Association.

Amanda McCarthy is a first-year student in Kellogg’s Full-Time Two-Year MBA program. She serves as a Director of Marketing for the WBA. Prior to Kellogg, Amanda worked in media and marketing research in NYC.