Helping College Women in the Business World

To be a leader, Western senior, Lora Sonnen said, one doesn’t need to be the most outgoing person. A good leader just needs to find something they are passionate about, even if it’s only in small ways because if they’re truly passionate about it, the confidence and leadership skills will grow.

Sonnen never saw herself as a leader, but when she found the Professional Women’s Association club that she had become so attached to and was in need of a leader, she said she was willing to step up to the plate.

“I feel like I’ve changed a lot over the past three years. I feel like I’m more confident in myself and my abilities and more understanding about the world around me... I’m better able to handle whatever comes next, even if I don’t know exactly what it’ll be,” Sonnen said.

Starting in her freshman year, Sonnen was immediately intrigued by the Professional Women’s Association (PWA) club and their mission to empower undergraduate women professionally and personally. 

 

“The club is really inspiring not only because it helps women professionally, by establishing skills they need in the workplace, but it’s also really empowering personally. To form these relationships with other women and to gain mentors that you can look up to; women who are doing what you want to do. You really get a group of women around you who are willing to reach out to you and help you in your future career,” Sonnen said.

                                                  (Here the PWA gets tips and advice from a professional, about how to succeed in the business world as a woman)

Now just starting her senior year and double majoring in international business and spanish, Sonnen said it’s been a big time commitment being president of PWA. As president, Sonnen has to be in charge of a lot of organization for all the events and does a lot of delegating with her fellow club officers.

 

“I think the skills we teach are really important for all women who hope to get a job one day and exist in the professional world,” Sonnen said.

 

PWA offers all kinds trainings for their members including resume workshops, networking events and the how-to’s of public speaking. 

 

For her last year at Western and last year as PWA president, Sonnen said she hopes to increase membership, get more connected with other campus clubs and make PWA known for being inclusive to all majors and all genders. The club has fluctuated in members over the years with about an average of 15 members. Sonnen was surprised and pleased to have almost double that amount at their first meeting this winter quarter.

                                                                         (Sonnen, on the far right, showing off her PWA shirt with her fellow club members)

Sonnen said she herself is not entirely sure of her future goals after college, but is confident that the experience and skills she’s gained through her Western experience will help her get to where she wants to  be.  

“Whatever I’m doing I know I want to be in some role where I can influence people’s lives for the better. I think PWA is giving me a chance to experience that before I got into the real world. It’s also giving me a big dose of what it means to be committed to something,” Sonnen said.

 

*Photos courtesy of Lora Sonnen