Networking and Collaboration: WIB and Dress for Success Story

The Women in Business student organizing committee welcomed Dress for Success Worcester to their weekly meeting on April 12, 2021. The committee met with Justina Lachapelle, Beth Butler, and Nellie Philius who chatted with the group about Dress for Success’s day-to-day activities and their new ways of supporting women during the pandemic.

Following this informational review of the organization, they offered a fun and thought-provoking workshop on vision boards. The team at Dress for Success shared that they like to create a transformational experience for all the women they service where they help with resume and cover letter writing, offer tips on personal branding, and fit them for an interview suit and a week’s worth of professional attire. The women serviced have to be referred by a Dress for Success Agency Partner, such as the College, are unemployed and seeking work, or under-employed. They help women set up SMART goals, an acronym for: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound goals that the women can work towards.

The vision board served as the perfect way for the WIB student committee to share how they are feeling in the semester and provide a space for the new members and the current members to interact in an interactive setting. 

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Thanks to Nalani Ramos Ruiz ’21  for maintaining the Women in Business and Dress for Success Worcester relationship and sharing this committee experience.

15th Annual Women in Business Conference Celebrates Around the World

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.”

>> Read more in the Holy Cross News Room. 

Women in Business Student Committee Responds

 

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.

View the Video: WIB on #BlackLivesMatter (June 2020)

Women in Business Volunteers at National Organization

WIB Committee Members at Dress for Success

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!

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Thanks to Grace Ingram ’20, WIB Committee Co-Chair, for sharing her experience.  We look forward to the 15th annual conference this fall!

2019 Women in Business Keynote Announcement

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.

2019 Conference Theme — BECOMING BOLD: Life in Color

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.

Read a previous Holy Cross interview with Maggie O’Neill ’99

Thanks for reading and see you there! Cassie

Cassie Gevry, Associate Director of Student Engagement
Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society

Brittany Polanco ’12 on Culture Fit

“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”

Ciocca Center Intern to Interview Anne Fink ’85, P17

 

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”

Ciocca Center Intern to Interview Alumni for Class

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!

2018 Women in Business Conference Recap

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.

WANT MORE?

Join us next year for the annual conference on Saturday, November 2, 2019! Thanks for reading, Cassie

Cassie Gevry, Associate Director of Student Engagement
Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Society

 

The Great Balancing Act

Cara Gontarz Hume ’03
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!

Continue reading “The Great Balancing Act”