You Spoke, We Listened. W51 Brings Exciting WSA Updates.
From the new leadership team of the WSA, we’d like to officially welcome you to campus! It may seem like ages ago, but as last year wrapped up, we started acting on one of our highest priorities as incoming Co-Presidents of the WSA: listening. We spent a good portion of April and May getting feedback from sectionmates, friends, and WSA members about how the WSA could improve our programming and help the HBS culture thrive. Back with a new brand and a recharged leadership team, we’re thrilled about some of our most important efforts this year.
More Intimate Events
We were overwhelmed by your positive reactions to the Lean In discussions last semester, where women and men were invited to openly discuss Sheryl Sandberg’s perspective on gender in the workplace and female leadership. As we plan our events for this academic year, we’re committed to offering more small group formats where students can actively engage and build meaningful relationships. For example, we’ll be hosting a new RC Women’s Retreat on September 20 & 21st to help RC women meet new friends and build the foundation for a successful year.
Reactions were mixed when it came to the impact of last year’s RC vignette sessions and the dialogue around sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus. We collected your feedback about the vignettes and have repeatedly advocated for change in the treatment of sexual harassment in this year’s RC curriculum. Just as importantly, we’re helping to ensure students are informed about the resources available to our community in the event of sexual harassment or violence. It’s up to all of us to make sure HBS is a supportive and responsive culture, and we want to make sure each of you are equipped with the right information to help yourself or a classmate.
Many men have approached us about the opportunity to be more actively involved in the conversation about gender on campus. Topics like work/life balance or gender norms impact every student’s life, particularly as modern relationships evolve and generational ideas about parenting shift. Recognizing that gender equality is a two-sided discussion that requires active participation from both male and female members of the HBS community, this year we are going to emphasize programming that speaks to both male and female students. We also hope to encourage male involvement in the WSA informally and formally through a new male committee we are building as we speak. Let us know if you’re interested in getting involved in the committee and in helping to shape the gender and work/life balance conversations on campus.
While we’re making some exciting new changes, we also asked you what WSA events are the most valuable and stand the test of time. Overwhelmingly, you told us one of the WSA’s most rewarding beneficial offerings is our annual Dynamic Women in Business Conference, which hosts over 1,000 attendees each year. Scheduled for February 22nd, the DWIB Conference will once again bring you engaging speakers and compelling panels but this year’s conference will have an added twist. Themed “Dialogue -> Doing”, the conference will focus even more on action and skill building. We’ll also be keeping other WSA classics such as the WSA Distinguished Speaker Series and the WSA Final Review Sessions so don’t worry, rock star RC female classmates will still help you cram as each semester comes to a close.
As we begin this new academic year, we hope you are as renewed and re-energized as our WSA leadership team. We can’t wait for these exciting changes to take effect, and we look forward to continuing our role as a resource for fostering an inclusive and empowering culture on campus. We thank you for your feedback and ask you to keep it coming as we strive to make W51 a remarkable year!
Amanda Burlison & Alexandra Daum
WSA Co-Presidents, Class of 2014