Business & Tech, Features

BU students find confidence, connection through women’s networks

About 31% of small businesses in the United States are women-owned, according to a 2021 study by Guidant Financial. Though Generation Z made up only 1% of respondents, Boston University groups are continuously providing more business opportunities for women.

boston university women in law
Boston University Women In Law. Women’s clubs at BU are helping female students build confidence and begin their careers in a variety of fields. ILLUSTRATION BY HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

From law-based to business-focused, women’s organizations on and off campus are supporting women’s careers, ambitions and confidence in a world where they can often be overlooked.

Boston University Women In Law

Boston University Women In Law is a student group that launched in Spring 2021 to provide women with resources and support to pursue legal careers.

Anna Marroni, a junior in the Questrom School of Business and secretary of Women In Law, said the organization’s goal is to support women as they look to start their careers.

“Our goal is to break any gender norms within the legal field and just support women trying to find their career in law,” Marroni said, “providing those resources to further their careers and help them fight those gender norms, regardless of whatever societal struggles.”

As a business student, despite having supportive professors, she said it can be hard to feel noticed as a woman.

“I would say in Questrom, it has definitely been difficult to get around from those gender norms,” she said. “I’ve been in so many groups where I’m the only girl in the group, and I feel like I’m repeating myself or they’re just not listening to what I’m saying.”

She said being a part of empowerment groups has helped “100 percent.”

Since its founding, Women In Law has hosted resume workshops, and hopes to host study groups for the LSAT, speaker panels and interest panels in the future, Marroni said. The club also plans on collaborating with student journalists to publish op-eds and spread awareness about current events regarding the legal field, specifically with women, she added.

Pursuing a career in law can be intimidating, Marroni said, and if you are a woman, it can be even more of a challenge. She said it’s important to have a resource that emphasizes female confidence and support because it can be hard to feel ambitious as a woman.

“You don’t really think about men as being ambitious because we just hold men to that standpoint, that they should be going out and trying to get a higher-level job, and when women do it they’re seen as going for it,” she said, “but it should just be the norm.”

The Women’s Network

In addition to Women in Law, Marroni is also the vice president of BU’s chapter of The Women’s Network — a national networking organization working specifically to connect current college students and recent graduates.

Being a part of this, she said, has helped her realize her potential.

“They have helped me build my confidence and ambition,” she said, “and just kind of changing the meaning of ambition when it comes to women.”

The founder and president of The Women’s Network, Jamie Vinick, a graduate of Syracuse University, said she came up with the idea during her freshman year of college, after attending a business event that lacked a focus on gender.

“I couldn’t believe that not a single question was asked related to gender,” Vinick said. “A key takeaway is that gender in the workplace is seldom discussed, especially at a collegiate level.”

TWN officially launched in August 2017 and now has chapters at 42 universities across the country, she said.

Ariana Margolis, president of the BU chapter, wrote in an email the group hosts meetings, events and collaborations with the other chapters.

“I have always wanted to make an impact on this campus, but I did not know how or where to even start,” Margolis wrote. “When I joined TWN and held our first info session in the fall, I was in shock how many girls came to this meeting just to hear us speak about the network.”

Margolis wrote the group helped her find confidence.

“This feeling of influence, confidence, and structure has built up not only my life in the network, but also outside,” she wrote. “I needed TWN to show me that I AM confident, I AM able to do whatever I set my mind to, and I AM a leader.”

Boston Business Women

Besides on-campus organizations, corporations such as Boston Business Women connect female business leaders and entrepreneurs in the city.

Kristina Tsipouras Miller, the founder and CEO of Boston Business Women, wrote in an email their mission is “to help women in the greater Boston area reach their greatest potential both personally and professionally.”

Tsipouras Miller wrote that the inspiration for the organization came to life when she realized how isolating it can feel to be a leader and how it didn’t have to be that way.

“Being an entrepreneur can be lonely. We are left to our own devices and trying to figure it out ‘on our own,” Tsipouras Miller wrote. “So I decided to create a community and invite women from around the area in hopes to help each other by asking questions, sharing our networks, inspiration and achieve our goals together!”

Boston Business Women holds monthly events, luncheons and dinners for members, Tsipouras Miller wrote. On Facebook, the network has more than 30,000 members in the greater Boston area, she added.

“People say, ‘it’s the best place to network in town,’” she wrote.

For Marroni, organizations such as Women In Law and The Women’s Network have helped make her more passionate about her law career, she said. In fact, she said it’s “solidified” her decision to go into the industry.

She said she would encourage all women to know their worth and remain ambitious.

“Focus in on the ambition,” she said. “You know you have it.”

Alexia Nizhny, layout and graphics editor, is the co-vice president of marketing for The Women’s Network. She was not involved in the editing of this article.

Comments are closed.