This past weekend, our chapter had the pleasure of attending the Intercollegiate Business Convention hosted by Harvard’s own Women in Business. The convention itself ran from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Since it was on a Saturday, we made it a 2-day trip to be able to explore the campus. Unfortunately, since the drive is a long 8-9 hours, we were only able to stay until lunch before we had to hit the road. We were able to see 2 out of the 4 keynote speakers, and 1 out of 4 panels. The speakers were all from different industries and gave us more insight into what it’s like being a woman in these different jobs.
keynote speaker #1
They opened the convention with a welcome speech, and then quickly introduced our first speaker. Our first speaker was Mary Erodes, the CEO of Asset Management at J. P. Morgan. She talked about how to make yourself valuable in a company and stand out compared to the men surrounding you. She suggested sitting in the front row, asking the dumb question (most likely everyone is thinking the same thing!), and be confident. Another piece of advice I took away from her was to specialize in one thing related to your job. Make yourself valuable by being the go-to person for something specific. It could even be something as simple as knowing how to fix the printer or coffee maker. Mary also said “If you can’t get out of it, get really really good at it”. I think that is super important because its true! Most times, you will have to do something that is not really your style or maybe something that is not in your wheelhouse. Make yourself valuable by showing initiative and willingness to learn. Most likely, you will have to perform that task many times in the future. One last thing Mary said is to find your superpower. Find those one or two things that make you special. What do your friends go to you about? What do you do really well? Finding these things will help you in interviews when they ask you about yourself.
panel #1: beauty
Next, we attended the Beauty Panel which consisted of 4 professionals from the industry: Desiree Verdejo, CEO and Founder of Hyper!, Shontay Lundy, CEO and Founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, Liah Yoo, CEO and Founder of Krave Beauty, and Melinda Solares, Beauty Director if Sephora. This panel was probably my favorite part of the entire convention. These women, first, were all so beautiful and their outfits were stunning. They talked all about the beauty industry, from a day-in-the-life, to dealing with manufacturers. It was interesting to hear all about the behind the scenes of these companies and the struggles that come with owning and operating their own business as a woman. They also talked about how they juggle their work and home life. Almost every woman on the panel was a mom, so they talked about how they block out family time in the morning and at night to make sure they are a girl-boss, but also a mother who is still there for her kids.
Keynote speaker #2
The last speaker we were able to see was Amirah Kassem. Amirah owns her own business, Flour Shop, where her bakery specializes in the rainbow explosion cakes she invented. She talked about how she got her start in her basement and how she was asked to cater for the Met Gala. It was so interesting to hear about the process of catering and how she would push back against the rules if they didn’t align with her company values and procedures. The main thing I took away from her speech was how she lives her “birthday lifestyle”. A birthday lifestyle is basically when you live every day like it’s your birthday! On your birthday, you wear your favorite outfit, eat your favorite food, do the things that you enjoy, and overall, just live life to the fullest and most enjoyable extent. So, why wouldn’t you do that every day? It was truly inspiring to see how happy she is and how enjoyable she makes life. She doesn’t sweat the small stuff and doesn’t let anything bring her down!
Overall, we had an amazing time, and we will definitely be attending next year!