Booth Women Connect Conference held at the Hyatt Regency Mccormick on Thursday 10/27, proved to be a day filled with inspiration, collaboration, and camaraderie. Over 900 students, alums, and Booth affiliated women registered for this dynamic conference. The conference opened with a keynote address from Marianne Bertrand, a Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics. To a riveted sea of women, Bertrand addressed the topic of “breaking the glass ceiling” where she presented a number of her findings about women across business industries and the discrepancies between the genders in regards to treatment and salary. Bertrand's research encompasses economic, social, and psychological factors that account for the remaining underrepresentation of women in the top corporate echelons and the role of public policy in addressing this gender gap.
The conference offered a number of relevant and timely panel breakout sessions like “Fine Tuning your Executive Presence” taught by Executive Coach Carol Vernon and “If I Knew what I Knew Now” which facilitated networking to discuss career advancement, building advocacy, and balancing career/family questions. Other panels included a student-only panel called “Mentorship vs. Sponsorship,” which touched on the difference between a mentor and a sponsor, the relative strengths of each of these types of relationships, and how to facilitate and maintain productive connections in both contexts. Anna Chaldysheva ‘17 said “I learned from the panel that at our career level many of our coworkers can be seen as mentors and that we should bring certain mentors to the forefront depending on our objectives and turn them into sponsors for our career growth.”
There was also an entrepreneurship panel called “Ready, Set, Go: Create Shape and Launch your Entrepreneurial Venture.” During this interactive panel, attendees were able to hear from current female entrepreneurs like Andi Hadisutjipto, ('16), Founder and CEO, Riviter, Andrea Sreshta, ('16), Cofounder, LuminAID, and Julia Carmona, ('13), and Lauren Katzberg, ('13), Cofounders, Stylisted. The panel addressed the entire life cycle on entrepreneurship including find a great idea, establishing a team, honing the elevator pitch, and finding the right investors. Women attending the panel were encouraged to network among each other as well to discover synergies and possible business partners.
The lunch keynote speaker was Julie Roehm, '95, SVP Strategic Relationships and Chief Storyteller at SAP. Her speech covered the art of storytelling in business and how to leverage messaging to build your company’s brand equity. She touched on the history of successful storytelling campaigns including Apple’s famous Macintosh Super Bowl commercial in 1984. Roehm emphasized the importance of compelling storytelling and simplicity of brand imaging in order to be successful in today’s consumer marketplace. She mentioned how people gravitate towards simplicity in such a complicated society and the brands that are winning understand this component. She mentioned brands like Uber, Airbnb, and Blue Apron as examples of brands that are making consumers lives more simple and convenient.