Innovative Women Conference brings together women professionals and students

Submitted by Anna Rzewnicki on Tuesday Nov 04, 2014.

The NC State Jenkins MBA Student Association (MBASA), in partnership with university and business partners, hosted its inaugural Innovative Women Conference October 23-24, 2014.

The conference drew more than 100 women – from university students to Triangle area businesswomen and a few high school students with their advisors – to focus on women in business innovation, science, technology and entrepreneurship.

“Our overall goal was to provide a place for women in non-traditional fields to come together, meet, and learn from one another,” said Claire Jefferies, assistant director of Jenkins MBA Student Services and conference advisor.

"There are a lot of great women's conferences and organizations, and we wanted to create something that was true to the NC State brand and mission. I think we've done that," she said.

The mix of attendees “made for a wonderfully diverse group of participants,” Jeffries said. Women graduate students attended from NC State, Duke, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and the high school students were from St. Mary’s School in Raleigh.

Professionals attending were from technology, financial, manufacturing, and communications corporations with locations in the Triangle.
The program included a keynote presentation, four panel discussions and individual sessions, featuring a total of 29 speakers.

Julie Smith, a panelist for the Brick and Mortar session and owner of Barre-Up studio, was among those commenting on how much she enjoyed the diversity of attendees and the supportive atmosphere at the event that supported the sharing of ideas and exploration of potential.

The event exceeded the goals and objectives set by the planners, Jefferies said.

“We wanted to put on a conference that felt a little different from traditional women in business events, as we feel that those conversations have already been done exceptionally well at this point by other groups,” Jefferies said. “By highlighting NC State's strengths – innovation, entrepreneurship, tech, and science – we filled a needed gap in the Triangle by focusing on new, exciting topics and ideas and engaging a different type of female business professional.”

"A lot of people and organizations came together to make this happen,” she said. “We want to especially thank our phenomenal speakers, partners, sponsors and donors, including e51, Triangle Women for Success, Dear Kate, Ladyfingers Catering, Zoe's Kitchen, HQ Raleigh, Growler Grlz, Raleigh Brewing Company, Bombshell Brewing, Barre-Up, the NC State Poole College Sustainability Initiative and The Borough," she said.

A portion of the event's proceeds and gently used business clothing and accessories gathered at the event were donated to Triangle Women for Success, an organization started by Molly Glasgow, a Jenkins MBA alumna.

Jefferies said she and the NC State Jenkins MBA Student Association (MBASA) expect to begin planning for next year's Innovative Women Conference soon. The 2014 event was funded with a grant from the NC State Student Government Association and the MBASA. 


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