Coming into my second semester as a freshman business student has not been what I expected. Frankly, I have been stuck in quite a funk despite the motivating and powerful "Be Relentless" MLK JR volunteer sign greeting me the first day back on campus.
Fast forward to this past week... I received an email inviting several women and myself from my X103 Road Trip class to a womens' workshop entitled, "Start the New Year Empowered" held by Kelley MBA Alumnae. Although I intended to give a mere glance to the email and move on, this phrase caught my eye, "We hope you will join us for an engaging morning designed to help you define your own success and start your new year empowered."
Immediately, it resonated with me, going from a relatively challenging but fantastic first semester to nine AM calculus classes, freezing temperatures, 12 hour days at school and 20 + hour work weeks had just about taken its toll on my motivation... and then by design, this email comes to me. I soon realized if I did not go to this workshop, I would regret it.
Coming to Kelley early Saturday morning, I was not quite sure what to expect, but I was welcomed, in usual Kelley fashion, with warm greetings and smiles as well as free and delicious breakfast (refer to "Perks of Being a Kelley Student" to understand my enthusiasm with free things)! As I moved through the breakfast line, I looked around for a place to sit and realized that I did not know a single woman there! I sat with a group of four women and we began going around the circle introducing ourselves and marveling at the small world we live in based on uncanny connections we all made with each other.
Once 9 AM rolled around, we moved into the room where the presentation and workshop was being held. There we were all greeted with the enthusiastic presence of our speaker, Caroline Dowd-Higgins. Caroline is an absolute marvel, born to be on stage, and force of nature to watch. She has done the most incredible things and I encourage you to visit her website (http://www.carolinedowdhiggins.com ), listen to her radio show (on CBS Radio) , follow her on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/CDowdHiggins ), or read some of her articles on the Huffington Post to get better grasp on just how awesome she is!
As her presentation got rolling, she encouraged us to live tweet and update our Facebooks with funny or empowering quotes mentioned throughout the session, along with the hashtag "KelleyEmpowered", as well as reminders of just how awesome we (women) are! It was incredibly...well empowering!
Although I seemed to be one of very few undergraduates at the workshop, it was incredible to me, the bonds although small, that were made throughout the morning. And while I may only ever see these women in passing, it was incredible to listen to their stories and share wisdom and advice. Caroline stressed several times, that as women, even in such a competitive world, that we need to throw the ladder sideways and buoy each other.
Of course, Caroline gave a multitude of wonderful business advice that all of us as undergrads, grads, MBAs' and those looking to reignite, recharge or reinvent should take to heart.
We need to be in control of what happens to our lives, don't wait for someone to listen to what you want, tell them what you want.
"Be the CEO of your own career". Take a seat at the table- wherever the table is and start early. Even as students, we need to start making our own paths now. We have this wonderful school and strong name backing our professional careers (ergo #KelleyEmpowered!!!) and through this we can be empowered and aware of the impact we can have as both business people and humans.
As aspiring business people in an ever changing job environment it is important to "Develop Your Personal Brand". We all need show up, speak up, and stand out in order to earn the degree, career, and lifestyle we all uniquely want.
One of the many ways to get involved right now, is to join a club or organization! The new semester has just begun and clubs such as Women in Business, KSBISG, Kelley Indianapolis Cares, and Delta Sigma Pi and they are just getting started, so figure out your passion and go for it!
Although the workshop was geared towards women, it is crucial for us all to remember, even outside of the business world, to "Honor your true self", "Embrace change", to "Fail forward and learn" and "Never, ever, let anyone extinguish your sparkle".