RC Women’s Welcome Kicks off the Academic Year with a Bang

Women’s Welcome event held Monday, September 13, is designed by the administration in partnership with the WSA as a keynote welcome message for RC women beginning their business school journey to provide a rally cry of excitement, advice and encouragement. The event included a speaker series featuring Dean Nohri, Senior Dean Kathleen McGinn, RC Head Francis Frei, Negotiations Professor Amy Cuddy, and WSA Co-Presidents Libbie Fritz and Jessica Bell; which was then followed by a networking and cocktail hour. All female students, faculty, staff, administration and alumni were all invited to attend.

Another opportunity to hear the brilliant and insightful new Dean took place a few weeks ago at the 2010 WSA Women’s Welcome Event in Spangler Auditorium. Surrounded by a captivated audience of the 2012 class of women, Nitin Nohria spoke about his travels this summer and in particular his interactions with the HBS female alumni. The theme and mess age of his talk (and the event overall) was clear: “lean forward” ladies of 2012 – we need your voices.
In Dean Nohria’s talk he touched on a few examples of when women he encountered “leaned forward” and made a difference, and their stories were penetrating. A public service leader and Baker Scholar from Pakistan. The COO of Facebook. He provided so many examples of strong female leaders, and so many still yet to come – including those that emerge out of the class of 2012.

RC Head and Professor Frances Frei echoed this sentiment as she bounced around the room, challenging the RC class to speak up and use a much more demonstrative hand raising technique. Then she turned the presentation onto the audience asking them what issues they were already concerned with in section, proving for yet another inspiring and eye opening conversation with the audience. Speaking to the sociological and psychological side of things, Professor Amy Cuddy commented on non-verbal behaviors and cues in the classroom, and how just little changes in posture and body movement can reduce stress and increase testosterone and action.

Jessica Bell and Libbie Fritz, the 2010-2011 WSA Co-Presidents, then closed the event with support from the WSA Faculty Advisor and Senior Lecturer Kathleen McGinn to remind the RC class about the challenges and opportunities that business school and HBS present. Most importantly though, McGinn spoke to the importance of creating an environment where women THRIVE.

And of course, no event would be complete without a little time for socializing and networking, which took place in the Spangler Williams room around 5 PM. Crowded with wine, cheese and a flurry of females from numerous walks of life, the new RC class had a chance to connect with other women at HBS and beyond. What a way to kick off a very exciting year!

NOTE: The WSA would like to thank their panel of phenomenal speakers – Dean Nohria, Kathleen McGinn, Frances Frei and Amy Cuddy – for their contributions as well as the WSA Board for their continual support and Support Services for this wonderful event idea.

Welcome class of 2012!

Women’s Student Association
Mission: “The mission of the HBS Women’s Student Association (WSA) is to actively support a community that empowers and mobilizes women to thrive academically, socially and professionally for long-term success.

What we do: “Each academic year we strive to promote the diversity of HBS women’s achievements and contributions, work with the HBS administration to make sure that issues that are relevant to women are being addressed, connect current students to HBS alumnae, and lay the foundations for a powerful network of future female business leaders.”

How we do it: “We execute our mission by connecting and supporting female students at HBS through mentoring programs, networking events, speaker series, the annual conference, and social and community events across sections and with other schools and organizations.”