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ND women to analyze workforce

Molly Madden | Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some might think the world of business and corporate heads still belongs to the men, but the Undergraduate Women in Business Club (UWIB) is hoping to challenge this notion with their second annual Women’s Professional Development Conference.

The theme of the conference, which will be held on April 17, is “A New Decade, A New Beginning.”

“The mission of the Undergraduate Women in Business Club is to foster and encourage women involvement in business,” senior Katie Curtin, the conference chair said. “The conference is meant to advocate empowerment in women.”

Registration for the conference, which ends today, is open to students from all majors, something committee and UWIB members say is reflective of the common message of the conference.

“We’re trying to reach out to all women who are looking at entering the field of business and this can apply to all majors,” UWIB president senior Staysha Sigler said.

Many of the organizers of the conference said part of the purpose of the conference is to challenge the traditional notion there aren’t many women currently in the workforce, something that has significantly changed in the past decade.

“It’s a new society that we’re entering and it doesn’t have rules yet,” sophomore committee member Juliet Palko said. “People aren’t used to having as many women in the workforce but it’s progressing.”

The conference, which Curtin described as an “education event,” is partly aimed at helping women connect the past 

“It’s a women’s professional development conference and it focuses on mutual learning between students and successful women in business today,” Curtin said. “It’s about learning from their own experiences in the field.”

The conference will feature two keynote speakers: Dean Carolyn Woo of the Mendoza College of Business and Diane Guyas, president of DuPont Performance Polymers.

“These are women who are going to talk about what they’ve gone through and help prepare us for this new environment,” Sigler said.

While the organizers said the conference is primarily an educational experience, there are also networking opportunities. The 10 companies visiting are ones that Sigler says are supportive of women’s roles in the workplace.

“Today, companies are realizing that women are assets,” Sigler said. “There are a lot of opportunities for women that are out there and companies are coming to realize that and utilize them.”

With Mendoza College of Business recently being ranked the top business school in the country, Sigler said events such as the Women’s Professional Development Conference are necessary to be worthy of the title.

“Other top business schools in the country have workshops like this,” she said. “If we want to step up to the challenge of being the number one business school in the country then we need to keep having events like this and make them bigger and better.”