The conference provided opportunities for hundreds to network with and learn from successful women entrepreneurs and executives.
“We were thrilled with the number of registrants from around the world,” said Cassie Gevry, associate director of the Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, & Society. “The strong interest from alumnae is a testament to the strength of the Holy Cross network and something we will continue to foster through the Women in Business network, even when we return to in-person events. It seemed that now, more than ever, women were looking for a way to come together to discuss their careers in business, and we were so glad the remote format gave so many attendees the ability to hear our speakers.”
The Women in Business student committee recently made a video that we want to share with you. The Diversity Student Liaison for the Ciocca Center, Nalani Ramos Ruiz ’21, initiated the response video and the committee was there to support her and the greater call. We are struck by their words and proud to share with you. May we all find ways to be better humans as we strive to connect with what it means to be men and women for and with others.
Earlier this month, members of the Women in Business student committee spent a morning at Dress for Success Worcester. Dress for Success is a non-profit national organization dedicated to promoting female financial independence and career achievement by providing free professional clothing to wear in the workplace and to job interviews. In addition to providing clothing, the organization also assists women with resume building and interview preparation to increase their chances of being hired.
WIB committee members volunteered at the Worcester branch where they organized, steamed, and polished clothing and shoe donations. We were also able to learn more about what the organization does for the women it supports and opportunities to further get involved. We learned various helpful career and resume tips from Dress for Success staff members. For example, Justina Lachapelle and Beth Butler, executive director and program director respectively, explained the difference between branding and marketing and how understanding the distinction between the two can be important when developing your own personal brand for purposes such as job interviews.
Spending the morning with Dress for Success was a great way to bring in the new committee members and to better get to know one another outside of our weekly meetings. It was a great opportunity to give back to an organization that does so much to support female empowerment in the professional world.
As a committee, we are currently working to plan the 15th annual Holy Cross Women in Business Conference which will take place on campus Saturday, November 7th, 2020. We have confirmed our morning keynote alumna speaker (stay tuned for an announcement!) and are planning plenty of new programming and surprises! I hope you will celebrate 15 years with us!
Thanks to Grace Ingram ’20, WIB Committee Co-Chair, for sharing her experience. We look forward to the 15th annual conference this fall!
The Women in Business student committee is excited to announce the keynote speaker for the 14th annual conference! Meet Maggie O’Neill ’99, the co-founder and chief creative officer of SWATCHROOM, a DC based design, art and fabrication firm. As an artist herself, Maggie’s movement SUPERFIERCE is designed to empower, connect and advance female visual artists and to make sure the work of underrepresented women artists is seen worldwide.
Maggie received her degree from HC in political science, believing that her path was law school. Get excited to hear about her journey from political science into the art studio. Save the date for Saturday, November 2, 2019.
“I think it’s important to build a culture where people feel valued as individuals, supported in their values and able to control whatever balance looks like to them.” — Brittany Polanco ‘12
Brittany Polanco ’12, current Marketing Manager at PepsiCo, was interviewed by Women in Business committee member Margaret Anderson ‘21. She shared her path from Mount St. James to the world of business, holding prominent roles in Frontier Communications, Hilton Worldwide, and PepsiCo.
The Holy Cross PepsiCo community, from left to right: Jessica Vona ’08, Kristen Buonassisi ’12, Robert Santariello ’16, Anne Fink ’85 P17, Alexandra Schiffmann ’15 and Brittany Polanco ’12.
Why did you choose Holy Cross? Going to an all girls, Catholic high school (Mercy High School in Middletown, CT) had a huge impact on my perspective and growth as a female leader. At my high school, you were popular if you were smart, funny and kind rather than based on looks or social status. We were still teenagers so we had our fair share of drama, but the unique environment allowed me to grow and thrive. It was a supportive community that cultivated ambition, collaboration and academic achievement. When I visited HC, it was clear that there was something special about the school and that it was a similarly tight-knit, high achieving community. I immediately felt at home at Holy Cross and knew it would be a place I could build strong relationships while continuing to learn and grow at a new level.Continue reading “Brittany Polanco ’12 on Culture Fit”
Anne Fink ’85, P17 President of Global Foodservice, PepsiCo
“One of my mentors has been a real model for servant leadership. This notion of putting others first stands out to me: just because you’re at the top of the organization, doesn’t mean that people are serving you.”
On April 1, 2019, Ciocca Center Student Intern Sarah Anderson ’20 interviewed Anne to learn about her journey in the food and beverage industry. Anne is the President of Global Foodservice at PepsiCo and is a member of the Holy Cross Board of Trustees.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Did you always know you wanted to work in the food and beverage industry? I grew up in a business family. My father and mother started a business when I was in grade school and it ended up being a family affair. It was a company called Mats Incorporated, a commercial floor matting business. My father started it from the trunk of his car selling doormats to businesses. Little by little, he grew the business into a pretty large and successful entity. Actually, my three brothers own the business and run it today and they have hundreds of employees. My mother would type the invoices at night and I used to help her. So, it was very much a family business. I grew up interested in business, curious and involved. I knew I liked business and was interested in pursuing a career in it. I had a good feeling for that pretty early on in life. Continue reading “Ciocca Center Intern to Interview Anne Fink ’85, P17”
Business on campus at College of the Holy Cross is developing as the newly named Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society expands its offerings to students eager to learn about the industry. The business program at HC includes the following: Certificate in Business Fundamentals (with an optional track in finance and banking), Certificate in Entrepreneurship, and a minor in Business Ethics, and Society.
My name is Sarah Anderson ’20. I’m a junior at Holy Cross, majoring in English with a Religious Studies minor working towards my Certificate in Business Fundamentals. As the current chair of the annual Women in Business Conference, I am interested in learning more about different leadership styles and company dynamics within the workplace. For the Academic Internship Program, I am taking a seminar called “Boards and CEOs: Governing America’s Businesses” with Professor Dan Riccardi and interning at the Ciocca Center. My main project is crafting a blog featuring my research and interviews with HC alums that highlight current CEOs and board members of a variety of companies with a liberal arts education.
Check out the following blog posts to learn from HC alum CEOs and board members about their roles and how they got there!
Reflecting on Hurricane María and the devastation that hit Puerto Rico, the Ferré Rangel sisters say the power of their belief — to do good as both businesswomen and corporate citizens — was tested last year. As Loren puts it, the first order of business was to step into, not away from, the fray – a lesson, first learned on The Hill, that transcends geography.
Thank you to our keynotes, Loren Ferré Rangel ’92, chief creative officer of Grupo Ferré Rangel, María Eugenia Ferré Rangel ’89, chief communications officer of Grupo Ferré Rangel, and chairperson of the board of directors, GFR Media, and to Dean Michele Murray, VP for Student Affairs, Dean of Students, at Holy Cross for an inspiring interview.
Senior HR Leader, General Electric Finance
Major: Political Science
It seems as though achieving a healthy work-life balance in today’s society is unattainable. Finding harmony between a demanding work schedule and a role as a mother, or juggling classwork, a social life and sleep as a student is exhausting. As highly motivated women with many goals, it is easy to feel overwhelmed.
Meet Cara Gontarz Hume, one of our fellow female Crusaders, who has created a balance between her career and family that works for her. Hume is the Senior Human Resources Leader for General Electric Finance and has three children all under the age of five-years-old. With an executive career and three young kids, she asks herself a question that many struggle with, “Can I still work and be a great mom?” For Hume, the answer is yes. She has managed to be present as a mother while simultaneously progressing her career. She remembers going on maternity leave for the first time and how worrisome it was balancing her career with the vision of what it means to be a mom. However, when she sat down with her manager and explained her situation, he gave her the life changing advice of, “just leave early.” In that moment, Hume discovered that the keys to balancing her home life with her work life were setting priorities and not keeping her two lives separate from each other.
Hume recalls the once defined line between work and personal life: “I was taught, you keep work at work and home at home.” However, throughout her career, she has seen a change in this attitude to which she attributes much of her success. She explains that she brings her full self to work not hiding that she is a working mother with three young kids. She explains, “I will be there and deliver but I do carve out time for kids. I do not use them as an excuse or a limiting factor, just part of who I am.”
As a student at Holy Cross, she was able to develop her time management skills. Like many students on the Hill, she managed a schedule of rigorous courses, a competitive athletic schedule and a variety of other campus activities. The ingrained concept of Cura Personalis, or “care of the whole person,” is a mentality promoted at Holy Cross that has contributed to much of her success. Hume says she draws upon these ideas of caring for the mind, body, and soul as a foundation of her whole-self resulting in a better self.
Multiple priorities are hard to balance and this difficulty will never go away. Hume emphasizes the importance of setting parameters around prioritizing personal time. She says, “If you don’t set a framework for personal time you will burn out. And no one will set it for you.” Everyone has their own tips and tricks on how to balance commitments, but what has worked for Hume is making a habit of taking personal time. She advises, “Make an actual plan. Mark it on your calendar and block it off.” Mark off family dinner or gym time. Put drinks with friends in your calendar and stick with the designated schedule. Having personal time marked into the calendar will make it part of your routine, making it harder to let your personal time go by the way side. Additionally, she warns, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew and avoid the extremes.” Hume also recommends constantly turning inward for personal assessments. Nobody’s fulfillment plan will be the same so it is important to check in with yourself to make sure you are happy with the way life is going.
With the school year starting up soon and new projects beginning at work, try using Hume’s trick and mark your calendar with consistent “me time” to care for yourself. Happy balancing!
The annual fall Women in Business Conference comes but once a year, but the student committee would argue differently. With conference planning that takes a full year, and various student events each semester, the student committee has a new goal: Create a network of women in business.
Kate Beckerman ’20 decided after the 2017 conference to create the Women in Business newsletter, Purple Pulse, with the first edition sent out mid-April 2018. She explains “I saw how special of a community we had at the conference and I wanted to have a way to keep us connected and inspired throughout the year.” She went on to say the name “Purple Pulse” was inspired by the phrase “Bleed Purple” which speaks to how passionate students and alumnae are about HC. “Pulse” refers to our strong network and the burst of empowerment we receive at each conference. Beckerman hopes this newsletter will help to strengthen this amazing community year round.
>> Join the Community!Register for the next installment of the Purple Pulse newsletter to see student and alumnae highlights, conference announcements, upcoming events, career tips and year-round inspiration!
Meet your 2018 Women in Business Student Committee!
Top Left to Bottom Right: Nalani Ramos Ruiz ’21, Kate Beckerman ’20, Casey Carty ’18, Rosangel Cruz Cabrera ’18, Grace Ingram ’21, Clare O’Leary ’19, Sarah Anderson ’20, Margaret Anderson ’21
Not Pictured: & Mary McGregor ’19 and Delaney Wells ’20