Posts Tagged ‘networking’

The 2012 National Conference for College Women Student Leaders is coming! In fact, it starts today. Are you prepared?

I started to panic the other day when I realized that NCCWSL will be the largest conference I’ve been to. I have never gathered with so many women leaders at one time! How can I make the most of this experience? AAUW National Student Advisory Council members are attending NCCWSL as volunteer leaders, and they provided some great tips for how to maximize your time at this one-of-a-kind conference.

Be open.

At NCCWSL, you will be surrounded by more than 550 women student leaders from all walks of life. Being yourself and being open to learning different things, meeting new people, and absorbing new ideas will help you make the most of this experience. Networking is a key benefit of gathering at NCCWSL, so be willing to open up and make connections with people. You never know what someone has to offer you or what you can offer her!

Be smart and selective.

Think carefully about which workshops you attend — choose the ones that best match your leadership skills. Be ready to network with the other participants and the speakers in the workshops, and follow up with them afterward. Do the workshops that you want to attend overlap? Talk with your fellow participants or other students from your school who make it to different sessions, and share what you learned with each other.

Do your research.

During our keynote speakers’ presentations and the Women of Distinction Awards ceremony, you will hear inspiring stories of how these women became the leaders they are today. Do your research on the speakers before the conference so that you know what you want to ask them when you have the opportunity to meet them in person. And find out what to bring and how to prepare by reading the NCCWSL Frequently Asked Questions.

These are just a few tips for a how to have a successful NCCWSL experience. If you’ve been to NCCSWL before, what suggestions do you have for 2012 attendees?

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Nzinga Shury.

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The nontraditional students who attended and connected at NCCWSL called themselves fine wines "because we get better with age."

During the closing session of the National Conference for College Women Studies Leaders, attendees took some time to think about what they learned during their three days together. The session, called Learn. Lead. Network. Act., asked attendees to think about the skills they gained at the conference and the people who had the biggest influence on them. Here are some of the reflections the women shared:

  • Organization skills include being able to organize your time and making sure you set aside enough “me time” during the week.
  • The conference served as a reminder to some of what they have already been doing well and was a time to stop, reflect, and pat themselves on the back!
  • These days, good communication skills need to include using online social networking to its fullest.
  • Listening is a big part of leadership — it is important to sit back and listen to others instead of always diving into the conversation first.
  • Professionalism does not have to equal seriousness! It is possible to be professional and have a sense of humor too.

During the guided reflection, a group of nontraditional students took it upon themselves to get together and reflect on their unique experience. They greeted each other with big hugs and promised to support one another in the future as they juggle school, motherhood, and full-time jobs, among many other things. Following their lead, the rest of the room then exchanged contact information with five other attendees so that everyone left the conference with a network of support for the future. Plus, they now know plenty of ways to stay connected not only with each other but also with AAUW and NASPA!

This post was written by AAUW Leadership Programs Intern Jessica Kelly.

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BusinessWeek: The New Face of Business School Leadership

(Image: BusinessWeek)

The upcoming 25th anniversary of the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders has gotten us looking at the status of women “then and now.” We want to focus on how we can move forward and ensure that we are preparing today’s young women to close the long-standing leadership gap between men and women.

Historically, business schools have struggled with attracting and retaining female students. According to the Business Exchange, female enrollment at some of the nation’s top MBA programs is sadly around 31 percent. Female enrollment in Harvard’s MBA program was at a low of 25 percent in 1985 and is projected to be at 36 percent for fall 2011. An increase of 11 percent is significant, but the fact that the percentage is still so low demonstrates that women are not reaching equitable levels.

A study conducted at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, suggests the following reasons for why large numbers of women are not applying to business school:

  • There aren’t many female role models.
  • It’s difficult to see how business jobs can be compatible with family responsibilities.
  • Women may worry about mathematical and quantitative requirements.
  • Women may receive little encouragement from their employers.

In order to address the lack of women obtaining an MBA, The Forte Foundation tells prospective students about all the benefits that business school can provide. The support that the Foundation provides is particularly compelling for female students who have not had the chance to network in the corporate world and to develop substantial mentoring relationships.

Female entrepreneurship has been growing at twice the national average since 1997, but the numbers of women business owners have not translated into closing the leadership gap. According to the White House Project report, women have reached the CEO level in only four of the 14 industries covered by the Fortune 500 companies—and in these four industries, more than 95 percent of the CEOs are male. Women of color are especially scarce at the top levels of management at Fortune 500 companies; they make up only 1.7 percent of corporate officers.

I am currently reading In the Company of Educated Women for one of my graduate courses, and I am consistently reminded of the struggles women had to face when trying to obtain not just a quality education but an education at all. I feel so lucky to have had access to both quality undergraduate and graduate experiences. Pursuing an MBA can open up the door for leadership, to invaluable contacts, and to networking opportunities that can pave the way to success. It is essential that we formalize ways for powerful women business leaders to lend a hand to the young women who follow in their footsteps.

NCCWSL provides attendees with an opportunity for amazing networking prospects and mentoring relationships and gives them the chance to explore and hone their leadership style. We can hope that many of our 2010 NCCWSL participants see their future in business and in becoming one of the next Fortune 500 CEOs.

Why do you think women aren’t applying to business school? What are your solutions to encouraging more women to do so?

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