Women In Business: Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference

“Women in Business” (or WIB for short) is a professional organization in the Smeal College of Business and a force to be reckoned with. Valley sat down with WIB President and senior finance major Quinn Brooks and Director of the Powerful Women Paving the Way conference and WIB member and senior marketing major Emily Leiden to find out more about the club and conference.

“We focus on four main pillars: leadership, professional development, community service and networking. We have events in all four of those areas,” says Brooks about the organization. “We really try to focus on developing our members both by having them build relationships with professionals and with other members in the organization and by developing professionally.”

With over 100 active members, WIB has a big presence on campus. Brooks explains that WIB is the largest diversity organization in Smeal and is a part of COMO, the Council of Multicultural Organizations. The organization does events with other organizations within Smeal as well as different organizations on campus and downtown.

Gender equality has been a big topic that Brooks has been pushing with WIB. She wants to spark more conversation about gender equality and include men in the conversation. However, that’s not always an easy task, says Brooks.

“It’s a struggle,” she says. “But I would like to see not only Penn State, but Smeal and Women in Business continue to work to have a more inclusive environment for men and women and a more equal environment. I would like to see men act as advocates more than they are now for women.”

Getting men involved in the conversation is a big goal of the Powerful Women Paving the Way conference. Here’s some information on the event which takes place April 16 and 17.

VALLEY: What exactly is the PWPW Conference for those who have never heard of it before?

Leiden: It is a two day event. It’s held at the Penn Stater. It’s a lot of time for students and professionals to network with each other and learn and get insights from everybody else. From the speakers as well as other attendees. So, it’s a big conference bringing everyone together for empowering women. It’s a lot of fun, you learn a lot. I’ve always enjoyed everything I’ve learned from there in the last couple years.

V: What is the goal of the PWPW conference?

L: The whole idea of the conference is to bring together students and professionals. So our big target is through Smeal organizations which is where we target the conference a little bit more just because they’re usually the ones who are interested in it. We are also trying to include a lot more men in the attendance and as well as speakers. We do have men sitting on panels and they’re talking more towards being advocates for women in the workplace. Our theme is “Thrive” and it’s thriving in the workplace as well as in life. So, kind of focusing on the metrics of health, wealth and power.

V: What do you most hope people get out of this conference?

L: For students, what tips they should look for when they’re applying for jobs or looking at companies. Seeing what aspects of a company they’re most passionate about. So looking for companies that have diversity efforts or kind of opening up that avenue to thinking because some people, I know men especially don’t exactly see the challenges that women have going into the workforce so that’s another aspect to is having men be more open to the topic of discussion. We have a lot of really cool breakout sessions that I’m excited for this year.

V: Who are some of the speakers?

L: Donna Lagani who is, I guess you could say our main headliner. She is the senior Vice President, senior editor and finance director of Cosmo Magazine. She’s a Penn State alumni. She’s really excited to come back and this is one of the things she loves talking about so we’re really excited to have her. Then we have Kelly Watson who is a partner at KPMG, and we have Sandy Barbour who is the athletic director here. She is the first female athletic director ever in Penn State’s history. And then we have Kim Dixon who is the COO of FedEx. Those are the main keynotes and then we have a ton of other Vice Presidents and executives in the panels as well.

V: Is registration still open?

L: Yes! It’s open until the morning of.

V: How much does it cost to attend?

L: It is $30 for students. You get a lot out of it. You get a ton of free food, you get a lot of really, really good insight. You get a bag that looks like this [it’s really nice guys!] that’s always filled with goodies. For professionals, it is $149.

V: Is it open to all majors?

L: Yep! All majors, all colleges, male and female. It’s literally open to everyone.

V: Should students bring their resumes?

L: We advise against resumes just because it isn’t a career fair. But cards is one of the big things we advocate is bringing a card so you can trade information.

The conference will also give students a chance to network and make connections with recruiters, and professionals from all industries will be in attendance at the conference. Quinn and Brooks made it clear that both WIB and PWPW will benefit everyone. It doesn’t matter what grade or major you’re in! The dress code for Thursday is business casual and Friday is business professional.

Our verdict: Everyone should check out Women in Business and attend their Powerful Women Paving the Way conference!


Registration link: click here!