women in business

You are currently browsing articles tagged women in business.

It has been WAY too long.  Some of you may have been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing.  My answers to these questions are, “I don’t know, and EVERYTHING!”

So to catch you up from the beginning:

Last time I posted, I talked about joining the Officer team at the Phillip Brooks House Association – a student-led 501c3 nonprofit based on Harvard’s campus that supports more than 85 programs, 1,400 student volunteers, and 10,000 low income people in the Boston area.  Since then, I have come to know a team of twenty amazing individuals who are devoted to public service and making the world a better place.  I have learned from their ideas, their passions, their anxieties, and even after only three months, I feel that I have come to know and trust these people explicitly.  The other thing I can honestly say about PBHA – I have learned more in my three months as an Officer than I have in my entire time at Harvard.  Not that classes here aren’t amazing or anything, but if you read on you’ll see what I am saying.

Over January break, we all came back a week early to go through NPMI (Non-Profit Management Intensive), where we learned about everything from budgeting to meeting facilitation, from student development to strategic management.  To say this was a crash course would be an understatement.  This week culminated in a final Officers Retreat we took in Maine, where we were greeted with plenty of snow, plenty of hot chocolate, plenty of Apples to Apples, and plenty of meetings.

Me in a PBHA van in Maine! photo cred: Alan Silva

At the same time we were putting our new found skills to the test by planning Cabinet Retreat – a meeting off campus with all of the directors of the 85 different programs for an entire day.  This is the largest thing I have ever organized.  It also involved me writing my first ever training, leading my first ever training on Volunteer Management, speaking perhaps in front of one of largest audiences I have ever spoken in front of, and writing the largest check I have ever written for the rental of the space: Hibernian Hall.

But the day finally came on January 28th when we bussed everyone over to Dorchester, and it went GREAT!  Better than great, in fact.  The facility was everything we had hoped and more, our fledgling Officer team put its heart and soul into making sure everything ran smoothly, and the feedback from directors was overwhelmingly positive.  This was by far my proudest moment since stepping onto Harvard’s campus a year and a half ago.


A picture I snapped on my phone of Cabinet Retreat!

But with that accomplishment behind us, we now faced the obstacle of scheduling.  As I have said before in one of my blog posts, scheduling at Harvard is a nightmare.  Even friends are forced to stop each other on the sidewalk and write in dining hall meet-ups into their phone calendars.  So to try to schedule three major meetings a week (two of which I lead with my co-chair Winnie) was soooooo stressful.  In the end we got it down, and let me say, leading multiple two-hour meetings a week teaches you a thing or two about flip charts, agendas, and organization.

Since January, our team has done so much and led so many tough conversations – we have organized another Cabinet meeting and we have our third one this Thursday night, we have talked the need for Programmatic Quality Standards, and Director Accountability, we have organized Director-Officer Teams (or DOTs) to grab dinner together and create more community among volunteers, and we are in the process of creating a new database and hiring a new Deputy Director.

In short, PBHA has taken over my life – but in so many positive ways!  I can think of nothing I would rather devote my time to, and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by so many great people who are devoted to such a great purpose.

Other things I have been doing include serving as New Member Director for my sorority on campus – Kappa Alpha Theta!  We run our Recruitment process at the beginning of second semester, and it was so much fun to meet so many awesome girls and bond with the other women in my sorority.  Our very own blogger Jeanie is in Theta with me, so we were sure to take a picture for you guys!

Jeanie and me during one of our rounds of recruitment!

Since Recruitment, I have been leading meetings for the new members to introduce them to Theta!  It has been amazing (and yes, I have brought my PBHA meeting facilitation skills, flip charts and all, with me to Theta meetings).

The final big activity I am doing on campus is serving as a Fundraising Director for Harvard University Women in Business.  So far this semester, we have devoted our fundraising efforts toward the New York Trip that we sponsor every year for Harvard women to visit some of NYC’s top companies.  Soon, we will be switching gears to the effort I am directing – Intercollegiate Business Convention fundraising.  IBC is a HUGE conference HUWIB hosts every fall for women’s business organizations from colleges across the country.  I will be sure to write more about it in the future, when my blog post isn’t so long 😛

Finally, I am still volunteering for my original PBHA program, Elderly 1-2-1, and of course, I am still a student at Harvard taking classes (though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it)!  This semester, I decided to take only three classes – History 97, which is my sophomore tutorial, History 1433: American Populism, which traces American history through a Populist lens, and Economics 1010b: Macroeconomics.

Oh, and before I forget, other great news this semester – I moved into a single (pictures to come when my room isn’t quite so messy)!

That’s all folks!  And don’t worry, I will be posting regularly from now on, so check back!  I’ll leave you with a picture from my spring break at home in Pittsburgh!

Me at Fort Duquesne in Point State Park, Pittsburgh



Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

You know when small periods of your life seem to have a theme?  Like your life is just one giant theme party that no one told you about, and you’re looking around thinking, “Can this really be happening?”  That was my weekend.

I mean, it was Halloweekend, so I was already all tee’ed up to see crazy people running around in cool costumes.  That much I expected.  What I didn’t expect was who those crazy people would be.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

My sophomore year of high school I decided to take a break from my lifestyle in Sewickley, PA and go on a semester abroad in Zermatt, Switzerland with a program called Swiss Semester.  On this program thirty other high school sophomores and I hiked, biked, mountain climbed, and skied our way around the Alps all the while having a break taking view of the Matterhorn.  Literally all of my pictures from that trip look like they should be in a travel magazine, and I can assure you that it’s not due to my photography skills.  This is where I made some really life-changing friendships.  These other kids became my family, but because we all live in different parts of the United States, I have only been able to see them here and there, and often by chance.

So, back to this weekend.

On Thursday night, I said, “See ya!” to my roommates and headed down on the shuttle in the pouring rain/snow to Harvard Square.  I was super stoked because I was picking up my friend Jenny from Swiss Semester who I hadn’t seen in four years, and who was in town for the weekend.  Seeing her walk down the ramp from the T and into my arms was the most amazing experience in the world!  Back in my room, we laughed and talked and shared stories about our lives, but what was the most amazing part was that even though we hadn’t done a particularly good job of keeping in touch and even though we hadn’t seen each other in forever, we were able to dive right back into where we had left off in the JFK airport four years ago.

Friday morning I woke up bright and early (9:30 a.m.) to have breakfast with Jenny (Side note:  I know that breakfast is the most valuable meal of the day… but you know, they also say that sleep is valuable, and sometimes breakfast just doesn’t happen for me.  Ok, let’s be honest, breakfast NEVER happens for me, so getting up early on my first day of the weekend to eat with Jenny was a big deal.  What can I say?  I love my friends).  Joining us was our other friend from Swiss Semester Renée who now goes to Harvard.  So the whole thing was a giant Swiss-fest (or Swiss-fast, you know cause it was breakfast… ha… ha… no? I need to stop it with these terrible puns).

After again being struck by how easily we fell back into our friendship and talking and laughing some more, I bid them both adieus.  I had to go get dressed so that my Swiss Semester friend- themed day could continue.  After dropping off a paper that was due at noon for my Literature and Sexuality class, I took the T to MIT, and got on a bus to Wellesley College.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my best friend in the world Heather goes to Wellesley.  What I might not have mentioned is that I also met her at Swiss Semester.  Because she and I both go to school in the Boston area, we get to see each other a lot more than we did in post-Swiss Semester high school where she lived in Minneapolis and I lived in Pittsburgh.  After we spent the beautiful New England day hanging out by the lake, she returned with me to Harvard for a Harvard Model Congress Halloween Party!

Heather and me dressed up for Halloween in the year 2007 (Zermatt, Switzerland)

Heather and me dressed up for Halloween in the year 2011 (Cambridge, MA)

Saturday I woke up super early (7:45 am) to go to an all day Harvard University Women in Business conference at the Westin Hotel downtown for most of the day.  I will have to devote an entirely different blog post to Women in Business sometime because it is SO COOL!  But I’m getting distracted.  After the conference (during which it had started to freezing rain), I came back to Harvard to layer up – I was going to the Harvard vs. Dartmouth football game, where my friend Todd (who is ALSO from Swiss Semester) was coming down with his frat TDX to mix with my sorority Theta!

Suffice to say, this weekend was all about seeing old friends.  While my old friends in this case may have all coincidentally been from a super awesome program I did in high school, I have found by and large that while making new friends is part of what college is all about, staying close with your old friends isn’t so hard either.  Yes, you may not keep in contact as regularly, as long as your friendships are long-lasting they will be… well, long in their lasting, and will last through all sorts of separation.  So don’t worry too much about going off to school and losing touch.  If you want the friendship to still be there when you return home, it will be.

Tags: , , , ,