Students from the Women’s Student Association hosted the 23rd Annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference on Saturday, Feb. 22nd, welcoming more than 1,000 female professionals, community Saturday, Feb. 22nd, welcoming more than 1,000 female professionals, community members, and students.
Gender equality issues have been generating an enormous amount of dialogue in the past few years, and the purpose of this year’s conference was to leverage the positive wellspring from this discourse toward action. With the theme "Let’s Go!”, attendees were encouraged to use the day’s events to create their own list of next steps toward leading a more balanced, satisfying, and successful career.
The conference was graced with the presence of 4 distinguished keynote speakers:
Maria Renz (CEO, Quidsi): Maria Renz – in addition to admonishing all women to show up at the table – also taught the audience about the three phases of leadership, from learning how to operate, learning how to lead, to creating a vision.
Christine Day (CEO, Luvo) & Vivien Yeung (Vice President of Strategy, lululemon): Christine Day and Vivien Yeung discussed their own fruitful mentoring relationship, while providing guidance for the audience about defining your own space, communicating effectively with mentors , and being honest with yourself in order to bring about work-life balance.
Carla Harris (Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Morgan Stanley): Carla Harris had the audience on their feet, sharing her pearls of wisdom, and even a little of her legendary singing.
In all, the conference featured 19 panels, over 100 speakers, and 3 workshops. The industries and themes covered in the panels spanned numerous topics, from education to technology to hospitality to energy. Each panel tackled a specific topic, such as “Socially Aware Investing,” “Career Switching 101,” and “Education Reform.” Panelists included representatives from the Environmental Defense Fund, Amazon, PBS, Twitter, and more. Many of the panelists were HBS alumnae and served as an inspiration for the diverse career paths that could unfold in the future for the students in the audience. A definite and proud highlight was our first-ever Manbassador panel, which discussed how to build change agents for gender equality within the workplace.
Adhering to the theme of action and coming away with concrete professional advice and life lessons, the conference’s three workshops offered information and guidance on mindfulness, productivity, and negotiating salaries.
Throughout the conference, attendees had ample opportunities to network, both formally and informally. The conference opened on Friday night with a welcome dinner for the panelists that featured the Co-Founder and CEO of Endeavor, Linda Rottenberg, and continued with opportunities to network, such as the small group lunches on Saturday with panelists, where attendees could hear from panelists in a more intimate setting.
All attendees were encouraged to actively Tweet their thoughts and takeaways from the keynotes and panels using the handle #letsgo. The WSA Twitter account received hundreds of references, and we were delighted to see the involvement and thoughtfulness.
The WSA would like to thank its many volunteers for an incredible conference – thank you for your help, insightful Tweets, and energy! Until next year. In the meantime, Let’s Go!
- Diana Lee, Director of Communication, Dynamic Women in Business, MBA 2015