As the season of internship application deadlines and job-prospect anxiety approaches, students are on the hunt for networking and career advice.
A group of Boston students received the perfect advice from young female professionals Sunday.
The Boston University chapter of Her Campus, a college publication for women, by women, which seeks to empower and uplift young women, hosted an “Empowermxnt Conference” at the Life Science and Engineering Building.
Sarah Ju, a sophomore in the College of Communication and the events director for Her Campus BU, said the club wanted to bring in female role models to share their stories.
“Our mantra is really to promote female empowerment,” Ju said. “We really wanted to drive that home to our members as well as people in the BU community.”
Speakers included representatives from Intern Queen, an agency specializing in career advice and assistance with finding internships, M Booth, a public relations and consumer agency based in New York City and Kate Weiser, a recent BU graduate and creator of Bucket List Boston, an Instagram account which explores and showcases Boston’s sights and hidden gems.
Samantha Lurie, a sophomore in COM and Her Campus BU’s editor-in-chief, said she helped organize the event and wanted the conference to be a casual space where people could feel comfortable.
“We feel like a lot of the time when conferences are hosted, you can’t really go up to talk to the speakers,” Lurie said. “We really wanted to have that connection between the mentors and the students.”
Lurie said the conference was inspired by the Her Conference event hosted in New York City last year by Her Campus. She said they wanted to create a more student-accessible event in Boston, while replicating the experience of the Her Campus interns attending that conference.
“We wanted to bring [Her Conference] on a smaller level because not everyone has the means to attend the conference because it’s in New York, it’s in LA,” Lurie said. “We wanted to bring it to BU, so they could get a taste of what that conference was about, be inspired in the way that we were inspired when we went to New York.”
Sunday’s conference began with a panel covering the search for internships, work-life balance and the difficulties faced by women looking to get into entrepreneurship, journalism or a traditionally male-dominated field.
After the panel, the conference continued with a talk from Denise Penagos, the account director at M Booth, covering the changing role of having social media presence in the eyes of employees and the importance of an online portfolio.
In a world where women who are proud of their achievements are often seen as “bragging,” Penagos said it is important to acknowledge one’s accomplishments.
“[Women] feel like we are bragging or being a little bit cocky, but I think we should be that way,” Penagos said. “We should talk about our accomplishments. I know men do that a lot and it works for them, so it’s certainly something we should be doing for ourselves too.”
Penagos said she notices women aren’t always confident in themselves, but said sharing stories with friends and mentors can help overcome that barrier.
“I think the more you talk about things, where you are not just in your own head, you realize ‘oh I have this accomplishment’ or ‘I was able to overcome this challenge,’” Penagos said. “It’s just a matter of talking to the right people of all ages, not just at your own level.”
Weiser’s thoughts coincided with the thoughts of Penagos. Finding the confidence to speak up about one’s opinion and accomplishments is one of the main factors of success.
“I would love for people to just do their best to be their authentic selves and know that their word is everything,” Weiser said. “At the end of the day, all we really have is what we say … as soon as we can be authentic with ourselves, we can be authentic with the world.”