Women in Business was proposed in the fall of 2007 by Kendra Hammond. Ms. Hammond wanted to create an organization where women could come together in fellowship and gain knowledge to help them in today’s business world. In promoting leadership, fellowship and development, the women of this organization attend events hosted by prominent women speakers from the business world, work side-by-side with the University’s Career Development Center, and learn specific skills that will empower women to hold dominant roles in the business world.

The basis of this organization is for underclassmen and upperclassmen to interact with one another. The upperclassmen provide insight and advice on the right courses to take per semester so that the women have a balanced and manageable schedule. Upperclassmen share their insight and experience with the underclassmen in terms of jobs and internships. The underclassmen are advised to ask questions, network with the upperclassmen, and to take full advantage of the Career Development Center and all of their offerings. These opportunities help prepare the women in this organization to be successful in all of their future endeavors.

Women in Business is an organization that would like to be branded as a networking crew. The participants in this organization are provided opportunities to network internally with students and faculty and externally with alumni and prestigious women from local Richmond corporations. Along with the networking aspect, this organization hosts annual events and meetings that are leverage points for people pursuing a career in business. The first of those annual events are the etiquette dinners. These dinners are prepared to teach women how to act at business outings and cocktail receptions. Next, we work side by side with the Career Development Center. Events with the career center include career planning and tutorials on drafting resumes, cover letters, and how to dress for success. Finally, members of our organization are often times invited to speak at alumni receptions. In November, Ralitza Dionissieva spoke at the homecoming alumni reception and Elisabeth Ellsworth spoke at a business alumni reception, both of the speeches were to align Women in Business with alumni and promote networking.

This past November two of our members, our VP of external relations, Elisabeth Ellsworth and I had the opportunity to attend the 5th annual Intercollegiate Business Convention in Boston. This event was organized by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business and brought nearly 1,000 undergraduate women together. This year’s theme was “Be Bold: Business Redefined.” The goal of this convention is to expose women to a number of industries and a wide array of professionals. The event featured 4 keynote speakers, Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks and President of Disney-ABC Television Group; Hanneke Faber, GM of P&G Haircare; Priya Haji, CEO of World of Good by eBay; and Allison Gollust, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications at NBC Universal. The day also included over 30 breakout sessions and an exclusive career fair. Based on our budget and the infancy of this program we could not send everyone to the conference but eventually we would like to extend this opportunity to all that are interested.

Our main goal for the future is to extend this organization to not just women in the Business School but all women. I am afraid there is a misconception about this organization. We really want all women across the University of Richmond to want to be a part of this organization. Any woman who is entering “a business” will find the skills and opportunities within this organization beneficial. We are an equal opportunity club that wants to empower all women whether you major in business, biology, art history, etc. Hopefully with growth and longevity of the organization we can eventually grow as big as a Harvard Women in Business and host Intercollegiate Business events of their caliber and size. With the help of Shelley Burns, the Director of Career Programs in Business and a huge asset to this organization, Women in Business plans to be at the forefront of the Queally Hall opening ceremony in January 2011.