CWIB’s Story: Insight from the Founders on Establishing our Organization

It is astonishing to think that Collegiate Women in Business  was founded only 5 years ago, given the number of members we have gained, the incredible sponsors who endorse us, and the impactful events at which we have made our mark. Have you wondered how all of this is even possible? I wanted to provide you with an in-depth background of how our professional organization came to be, based on the vision our founders had for CWIB’s success at Virginia Tech. After interviewing the women who helped CWIB gain its presence, I feel that their passion and drive for our organization is apparent through the steps they took to help us be where we are today.

Corrigan Serpa, Shannon Cabrey, Catherine Kidwell, McKenzi Macdowall, and Shannon Lavery are the founding women of CWIB. All five women had great team chemistry and worked well together to get the process started. They all agreed that this organization would better Hokie Nation, so they sought out a method to achieve their goal. Serpa told me, “The idea came about during a female lunch meeting at the Innovate LLC [Living Learning Community] in the Fall of 2013.” They realized other universities had similar organizations and believed Virginia Tech should be one of those. Serpa soundly felt that our school should provide a platform for “women to be equipped with the right skills and network to build their careers as they wish.” In order to be an established organization, they needed to find a faculty sponsor. Cabrey describes how “Gina French stepped into that role to provide us with advice and passionately lead us forward as we got started.” The next steps were to “register our group as a formal student organization through the university, create a website and a page on GobblerConnect, and start to try to get the word out as we grew.” Serpa is grateful that “Gobbler Fest, Pamplin Picnic and renting booths in Squires helped us” start to gain the presence they wanted on campus.

Gina and McKenzi
Gina French and McKenzi MacDowall at Pamplin Picnic

There were several more obstacles they faced throughout this process, one being establishing the proper pillars as the main core of what CWIB should represent. Empower, Prepare, Connect stemmed from the desire that women should feel “empowered to accomplish, prepared with the skills necessary to successfully accomplish, and connect them with a network of business professionals, peers, and alumni,” Serpa explained. Cabrey breaks down the method the founders used to put together these pillars so eloquently:

“We sat together one evening with VT faculty member Derick Maggard, and he led us in a discussion and an activity to determine our core values. Derick had the five of us simultaneously create lists of words that we wanted CWIB to stand for, represent, and accomplish with its existence. This was a timed activity and… once we were done, we found several words that were common across each of our lists.”

By initiating these pillars as the principles CWIB stood by, the “goal was to build a community at Virginia Tech that women felt comfortable and at home in, would be challenged by, could learn from to stretch their thinking, and would find lifelong friends and mentors within,” Cabrey told me. In doing so, “CWIB will empower students and prepare women with the knowledge and skills they need to have the career that they choose,” Serpa explained. Kidwell tells the Chronicles how the founders aimed to “not empower women in the workplace, but in general. Those verbs [pillars] have duality.” Personally, I have found these statements to be incredibly true based on my experiences within CWIB. The fact that the founders pushed for a professional organization for all women is something we cannot take for granted. As a non-business major myself, I still reap the benefits CWIB provides and know that the founders thought this through when creating CWIB. The workshops and advice we are provided with will help me in my field just as much as it will help a woman in Pamplin.

Serpa with 18-19 leadership
(From left to right) Morgan Beavers, Corrigan Serpa, Erica Sullivan, and Gigi Jones and our first monthly meeting of the 2018-2019 year!

In order for us to excel in our respective careers, the founders wanted to bring in sponsors for CWIB who would be a point of contact to assist in our professional endeavors. Serpa remembers calling every contact she could think of; they graciously accepted the help that was offered, especially since not every contact was providing sponsorship. She also explained how “… it felt awkward asking for sponsorship as a student. In each email I asked to set up a phone call to further explain CWIB and answer any questions. I think picking up the phone was essential; they could then fully understand how passionate about the organization we were.” Being able to thoroughly explain their goals for CWIB gave sponsors a sense of the founders’ determination, which was a convincing way to support CWIB as a legitimate organization. In addition, acting as an all-female organization was a way for CWIB to individualize itself and advance womens’ careers. “All companies are emphasizing diversity and inclusion and backing a women in business group is usually a no brainer if they understand what that funding will be applied to long-term,” Kidwell felt.

Taking this intimidating step to reach out to business professionals proved to be one of the best decisions the founders made, as CWIB now is sponsored by many successful companies such as KPMG, Accenture, Altria, and Deloitte. Cabrey talked about how Gina French helped them get in contact with one of their very first points of contact, Deborah Golden, who leads Deloitte’s US Cyber Practice. Cabrey explains how “A few of our founders were able to sit down with Deborah and find ways for her and her organization to get meaningfully involved with our members, which ended up evolving into our very first Power Panel, with Deborah as a panelist.” Golden continues to support CWIB as she has hosted several workshops over the years! Engaging in these initial conversations can lead to some pretty fantastic connections, which have undoubtedly assisted CWIB in gaining more sponsors in a short amount of time.

Building connections through various communication routes, effective planning and organization tactics, and leadership opportunities in a team setting are only a few of the fundamental skills the founders believed they gained by being so involved with CWIB. Communication is a skill that will never disappear and Serpa feels that because of CWIB, she feels more comfortable in the business world where she is constantly speaking with other professionals. The fact that CWIB always has events taking place, thus requiring constant scheduling and planning, helped Cabrey with her general organization skills. “Keeping track of meetings and implementing strategic goals and action items” for CWIB kept Cabrey on her toes by giving her the experience she needed to prioritize her time. On a more creative note, CWIB let her express her visual design skills through “creating flyers for Power Panel and designing our logo and merchandise.” Her diverse skill set is thanks to CWIB’s preparation for success in the professional world!

aesthetic Gobblerfest
Our creative booth decorations at this year’s Gobblerfest, featuring the CWIB logo on our mugs!

As CWIB continues to grow, the founders are hopeful for further empowerment, preparation, and connections that will derive from being a member. Serpa feels strongly that “this [CWIB] connection motivates alumni to remain connected to the students and one another.” This stems from the initial goal of bettering Hokie Nation; the fact that alumni and current students can be connected due to their membership in CWIB can foster a continuous Hokie family where we can all relate to shared experiences. Cabrey states, “I think the group strikes the right balance between professionalism and skill building, all the while making lasting friends and connections that will last years beyond college.” Between attending monthly meetings, workshops, and socials, Cabrey hopes members “are able to make connections with other students across campus to study with, interview prep with, and just hang out and have fun with as friends!” There’s no better way to express the principal goal of CWIB as “people-oriented,” as Kidwell would say. She aimed for CWIB to provide its members with “a sense of inclusion and the toolkit to succeed outside of Blacksburg.”

Gina and some founders
(From left to right) Gina French, Shannon Lavery, Corrigan Serpa, and McKenzi MacDowall

I would say that CWIB has made the founders proud as leadership, membership, and sponsorship continues to grow and develop each academic year. The founders’ main goals for the organization continue to advance as we strive to empower, prepare, and connect women from all over Virginia Tech in all that we provide. New leadership teams implement these core values while incorporating their unique ideas as CWIB expands in its presence. I hope you all are as proud as I am to be a part of CWIB and feel inspired to take more initiative to get involved, better yourself, and better someone else as you connect to fellow CWIB members. Many thanks to our founders for endorsing and believing in CWIB in order for us to reap the benefits and make our own mark within the organization!

By: Emma Harwood 


Summer Experiences: What Members Learned Through their Internships

CWIB members are some of the most proactive students at Virginia Tech in terms of landing internships. Whether they occur throughout the summer, winter, or full semester, CWIB encourages each of its members to pursue at least one internship during their collegiate career. Specifically, summer internships are the most common among college students, and the most recommended among recruiters! Internships foster an environment of growth, and they assist in determining potential career paths one may want to engage in after graduation. Immense opportunities can come from gaining experience interning for established companies, such as the development of technical and interpersonal skills, potential for full-time job offers, and more insight into specific industries.

Four of our own members, Gabrielle Bryda, Samantha Mottes, Elizabeth Sweeney, and Abby Mercatoris-Morrison, have experiences to share about their own internships this past summer. They each took part in a unique internship following the collusion of their junior year. Read below to see how they gained new skills that are applicable in their current academics and everyday lives!

Gabrielle Bryda: 

Gabrielle Bryda is a senior majoring in Computational and Systems Neuroscience and Economics. During the summer of 2019, Bryda interned at Deloitte as a Business Technology Analyst. As part of her internship, she conducted market research and authored a white paper, or a specific document intended to inform the reader about a certain subject. In Bryda’s case, that subject focused on being agile while meeting traditional project management requirements. Bryda shared, “I learned client relationship management, business research, and networking skills,” regarding her client work. In addition to her client work, Bryda was a part of D2international (D2i), a social impact fellowship developed specifically for Deloitte employees.

The D2i Program provides interns with the opportunity to develop solutions directly for a nonprofit. Bryda worked with a small team of interns to analyze and optimize daily operations of a Colombian nonprofit called La Juanfe, which seeks to empower teen mothers by providing child support, psychosocial counseling, and job training to escape poverty. Bryda revealed, “I learned collaboration across teams, building relationships with new partners, and analytical and problem-solving skills,” from her experience brainstorming, developing, and executing deliverables for La Juanfe. The D2i program concluded with a week-long solution delivery trip to La Juanfe’s headquarters in Cartagena, Colombia. In addition to the amazing work Bryda completed, she served as her team’s liaison, coordinating between workstreams to provide information and structure for her team. She even participated in weekly calls with leadership from La Juanfe!. Her most memorable experience this summer was presenting her team’s solutions to the senior leadership of La Juanfe, and speaking directly with the women whose lives the nonprofit is changing.

We are so proud of all the work you put in during your internship, Gabrielle!

Bryda’s professional headshot from this past summer!
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Bryda in Cartagena, Colombia with her team during their solution delivery trip.

Samantha Mottes: 

Samantha, or “Sam,” Mottes is a senior majoring in Public Relations. As a rising senior, Mottes took part in an internship at Immersion Consulting, a firm that aims to provide clients with applicable business solutions. Her internship consisted of various duties, mainly involving marketing sales and recruiting. Regarding marketing sales, Mottes promoted brand awareness by developing innovative tactics to increase market presence and gain the attention of those in the current market. She also managed and leveraged the LMS, or Learning Management System, which monitors and evaluates training progress and development of the company. She even presented her findings in an LMS walkthrough at the firm! Mottes assisted with the recruitment process of the consulting firm as well, learning more about ins-and-outs of hiring operations. She handled important forms regarding new hires as part of the company’s recruitment policies. Finally, Mottes was given the task of implementing SEO’s, otherwise known as Search Engine Optimizations. Through this assignment, she analyzed target markets and tested optimization. According to Mottes, she is appreciative of, “Getting amazing experience and building connections,” in regards to her summer with Immersion Consulting.

We are so proud of your contributions at Immersion Consulting, Sam!

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Mottes (far right) and peers posing on day of presentation for Immersion Consulting.
Sam Presenting
Mottes during her Immersion Consulting presentation.

Elizabeth Sweeney: 

Elizabeth Sweeney is a Senior Marketing Management major with an ENVG, or Entrepreneurship: New Venture Growth, minor. Sweeney spent her summer at Ferguson Enterprise in Beltsville, Maryland as a sales intern. Her internship incorporated tasks derived from multiple different business operations. Sweeney shared, “I learned every aspect of the business, from filling orders, to dealing directly with the client in outside sales,” about her diverse position. Sweeney also helped a published author create media for his new publishing agency, C-N-J Publication! She relied heavily on her Marketing skills to assist her in developing media that properly showcased the author’s brand and mission. One exciting component of Sweeney’s summer internship was the Summer Interns Project, where she and her team presented to an audience! Sweeney improved multiple skills during her summer at Ferguson Enterprise, including her patience, face-to-face customer communication, and leadership abilities within a team. Being in a diverse sales role led to her development of a wider range of skills! Sweeney states, “The most memorable aspects of my experience were living in a different area, making new friends/connections, and experiencing a different kind of work atmosphere.”

Elizabeth, we are so proud you reached outside of your comfort zone at Ferguson Enterprise!

Elizabeth Sweeny
Sweeney (second from left) and her team posing after their 2019 Summer Interns Project presentation.

Abigail Mercatoris-Morrison: 

Abigail, or “Abby”, Mercatoris-Morrison is currently a senior majoring in Marketing. Mercatoris worked in Seattle as a summer intern with Frito-Lay. She served as a sales intern for the multinational corporation. Mercatoris worked on a significant project that was in the early stages of development. She assisted with the rudimentary, or beginning, stages of the project in order to ensure the final product would stand on an effective foundation. Mercatoris’ team’s goal was to save time for sales representatives in the overall sales process. They helped the specific sales representations who stocked the shelves with products in order to assist in keeping their jobs more organized. Her team focused greatly on precision ordering methods. Mercatoris shared, “I learned the importance of communication among co-workers and managers. I also appreciated the work-life balance with this company.” A large factor of this sales internship that interested Mercatoris was the idea of traveling around the Pacific Northwest and getting the opportunity to work with unique individuals from various backgrounds. Her hard work all summer paid off, as she was offered a full-time position for Frito-Lay at the conclusion of her internship!

We are proud of you for working so hard and getting that job offer, Abby!

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Professional headshot used for Mercatoris’ internship with Frito-Lay!

We are honored to have members like the women featured here who made the most of their summer experiences. Through gaining the knowledge to work in diverse places with talented individuals, they developed the communication skills, connections, and technical applications of delivering real-world projects. We know they will put these skills to good use throughout their classes, jobs/internships here at school, and during CWIB events!

By: Allison Wood




The CWIB Events Guide

CWIB Leadership manages a lot of their time and effort putting together several events for members throughout the year, but what’s the difference between them all? We want to make sure you all know what events we offer and why you should attend as many as possible to get the most out of this organization! Hopefully this guide to all-things CWIB events helps clarify any discrepancies you may have and encourages you to come out to the exciting events we have planned!

Monthly Meetings

Monthly meetings are probably the most well-known events we have to offer. The first Wednesday of every month, we meet for about an hour to socialize with members, inform members of upcoming events, hear from inspiring speakers, sell merchandise, and answer any questions or concerns members may have. Sometimes we even provide free food! Monthly meetings are a great way to get acclimated with all that is happening during the particular month and make sure you mark your calendars so that you know when everything is going on! Most monthly meetings begin with business-related ice-breakers or trivia questions that allow you to work with fellow members and get to know each other. Each meeting will normally have a theme to follow along with all the information that is provided. For the 2019-2020 academic year, we will focus monthly meetings on our pillar, “Empower.” We highly encourage members to attend every monthly meeting, as they only occur once a month, and really help keep you up to date so you don’t miss any important information! We’ll see you at our first monthly meeting of the semester on October 2nd in NCB 260 at 7:00 pm!

A room full of members attending a Monthly Meeting!


Socials are organized by our Chief Operating Officer, VP of Operations, and Events Committee. They are casual get-togethers that allow members to have fun and interact outside of professional events. For example, last year we went to Sinkland Farms for our pumpkin patch social, held a Halloween themed game night, and a Galentine’s Day movie night. These are great ways to spend time with friends and meet new people in a laid-back setting! Some socials will occur on campus, while other times we are out in the Blacksburg community. The Events Committee determines when to hold socials, based on when other events are taking place; however, they aim for an equal number of socials to happen in the spring and fall semesters. You will hear about the time and dates for socials through attending monthly meetings and reading our weekly newsletter.

halloween game night
CWIB members having fun at our Halloween-themed game night!

Coffee Chats

Coffee chats allow members to speak with professionals in the workplace in a relaxed atmosphere. Normally, we invite one individual to sit down with us and chat about her personal experiences throughout college, such as how she came to hold the position she does, what she studied as an undergrad, and any advice she has for us moving forward in our career search. These personal situations alleviate any nerves of talking to professionals in a more structured setting by allowing members to ask questions and get to know the individual. We encourage you to take advantage of coffee chats as these are opportunities where successful women have the time to sit and speak with us and answer any of our questions! We have had businesswomen from Cvent and Deloitte, as well as professors from international universities sit and chat with us. I find coffee chats very genuine and leave them feeling motivated and inspired.; these experiences have opened my eyes to career possibilities I hadn’t even thought of pursuing.


CWIB is fortunate to collaborate with our sponsors each year by running workshops dedicated to career advancement. At these workshops, we cover skills such as resume building, diversity and inclusion, and negotiation, to name a few. Learning these skills from business professionals is a privilege that gives us a hands-on opportunity to the insight on real workplace practices. Our sponsors dedicate time out of their busy schedules to work with us, so it is important we take advantage of these resources we are provided! We hope you didn’t miss out on our first workshops of the semester where Protiviti hosted a resume building and Business Horizons prep, and The Select Group helped us work on making a great first impression! Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it; we have plenty of workshops planned that will help you strengthen your professional skills.

Power Panel 

Power Panel is our biggest event of the year which takes place in the spring semester. We invite business professionals to sit on a panel and answer pressing questions related to a particular theme. For example, last year we were honored to have three influential business women talk to us about their experiences finding courage in the workplace. Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch graciously spoke about the companies they work for, difficulties they faced as professional women, and gave advice for us starting out in our careers. Prior to the panel, a private networking session for CWIB members only was held where we were able to introduce ourselves to the panelists and get to know each other. Power Panel has always been a success, so make sure you don’t miss this event in the spring! Be on the lookout to see who our guests will be this year…

Tricia Harper, Allison Sitch, and Frances Reimers (middle left to right) with CWIB leadership!


Treks are a fantastic opportunity to gain real-world experience. Our Chief Development Officer and VP of Treks plan around 2-3 treks a semester where a group of CWIB members get to attend events hosted by different business in order to see what their culture is like, what a typical day on the job consists of, and network with professionals. New York City, Nashville, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Washington, D.C. are a few places we have either been or are planning to visit! Not only do you receive an impressive professional experience, you are able to grow closer to other CWIB members and sight-see in a major city! Now I know you all can’t wait to sign up for the first trek, so let me explain the application process. Every CWIB member who wants to attend a trek must apply. Questions range from how many previous CWIB events have you attended, to, what qualities do you believe make a good leader? These questions are designed to gauge your commitment as a CWIB member, as well as get a feel for the types of responses you would give to business professionals if asked. Treks do cost money; however, with all that is included, the prices are extremely reasonable! Be sure to pay attention for more information on upcoming treks, and if you have any more questions about them, reach out to some of the women who have attended previous ones! We are so excited to hear about how our first trek went when those who will be attending the NYC Women in Business trip this September 12th-13th return to Blacksburg!

Cheese! (2)
Want more insight on treks? Check out our Chronicles articles to get a sense of what members got out of going on treks!

I hope something about each of these events caught your eye and that you’re ready to get involved with CWIB! I’m so proud of all the hard work put forth in making these events so successful, so be sure to attend as many as you can! We can’t wait to see you all soon!

By: Emma Harwood


Gaining Confidence for Business Horizons

With Business Horizons quickly approaching, it is easy for those last minute nerves to creep up on you. We all experience them and know that they inhibit our confidence to present ourselves in the best light to possible employers. Read Emma’s advice for keeping the faith in yourself to successfully tackle Business Horizons!

Adhere to a nighttime and morning routine

It’s common to feel the need to stay up all night preparing your elevator pitch and deciding what to wear, but your body and mind need rest in order to perform to the best of your abilities. Be sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour so that your mind is clear for the next day. Lay out your professional attire so that it is ready to go in the morning. When you wake up, eat a good breakfast, practice your pitch one more time, and make sure you have your resume ready. Head to class just as usual and go about your typical day. When it comes time to make your way to Business Horizons, you won’t feel as overwhelmed as you would have if you spent the whole night cramming last minute information into your brain.

Read over company information 

Get an idea of what companies will be attending by reading over the list and researching those who sound interesting to you. Be aware of who is hiring based on your major, minor, or concentration. This will help narrow down who you spend your time talking to, rather than waiting in line for a company who, for example, doesn’t even offer an internship for the position you are seeking. I would suggest researching the culture and mission of two or three companies that are of serious interest to you. It is impressive to come prepared and know some background on the company, instead of simply selling yourself the entire time. Try to explain how your skills will align with the company’s vision. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions when something is confusing or you would like more insight on the topic at hand. Recruiters will see your passion for your work more so than if you nod your head and go along with everything they say. You will undoubtedly feel more confident by preparing for these conversations ahead of the event. Check out the Business Horizons website for more information on companies in attendance this year.

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Refrain from comparing yourself to others

This is something I know I am very guilty of doing, but it is so important to remember that your individual accomplishments are, in fact, your own. Try to focus on all that you can bring to a job instead of worrying about how many internships everyone else has held or “cooler” experiences they have had. Every job, internship, class, you name it, prepares you for the next one! Most of the time companies want to see quality over quantity, so if you do not have as much corporate experience don’t worry! If you put a lot of hard work and effort into one or two positions, then companies will see you have the same experience, and maybe even more leadership qualities, over someone who may have worked for more businesses, but never progressed in said business. You are unique and talented; the right company and position will find you if you are willing to put in the time and dedication!

Utilize your support system

If your parents are anything like mine, they love hearing about how you’re doing. When something great happens or if I’m not feeling my best, I know they will always be there to provide guidance and support. If you find yourself stressed out, give your parents a call and talk with them about how they prepared for career fairs! I bet they will be more than happy to provide insight on helping you prepare for the workforce. Similarly, your best friends, significant other, CWIB mentor, or any others you hold a special relationship with, know you better than anyone else. Sometimes all it takes is hearing about the confidence these important people have in you for you to realize it in yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out, communicate your feelings, and work through your thought process with the people who know your strengths and weaknesses. I guarantee you’ll feel more confident in yourself after reflecting with those who never lack confidence in you.

Take advantage of your Clifton Strengths

Virginia Tech requires its students to take the Clifton Strengths Finder when they are freshmen. Initially, I thought this test would be like any other skills finder that I didn’t foresee predicting my true personal strengths, but I found that my results were extremely accurate of my personality and how I tackle situations. If you’ve taken this assessment, truly familiarize yourself with your strengths and determine how you can make these apparent when talking to companies at Business Horizons. I’ve had a boss tell me that once she realized how to include her individual strengths in interviews and elevator pitches, she was able to confidently sell herself since she truly believed in what she was saying. To use a personal example, my top strength is “Harmony.” I would incorporate this trait in my elevator pitch as to how I bring a collective and team-centered attitude to any goal we are trying to achieve. Since I have several anecdotes to back up this claim, recruiters will get a true sense of how I value relationship-building, and how I would prioritize this at their company. If you have not completed the Clifton Strengths Finder, you can search for the program through the Virginia Tech website and enter your PID and password to take the individualized test.

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Reach out to your CWIB community

We are so fortunate to be members of an organization where women from all over Virginia Tech, not just Pamplin, can share their professional experiences and offer advice. Reach out to other CWIB members to see how they are preparing for Business Horizons. While it is crucial to refrain from comparing ourselves, we can still use each other to practice elevator pitches, hear about previous BH experiences, and even walk to the event together! I am always so empowered after hearing about how CWIB members have overcome obstacles and succeeded in their goals; it is reassuring to feel surrounded by like-minded women who are passionate about the same things you are.

CWIB Crest dark purple

I know Business Horizons can be intimidating, for newcomers and returners alike. Take advantage of these pieces of advice and I guarantee you will feel more confident in yourself. No matter how cliché it may sound, these recruiters are just people too. If you show your confidence in yourself, they will take you seriously and realize your potential. Good luck at Business Horizons CWIB!


Business Horizons will take place at Squires Student Center on September 5, 2019 from 10am – 4pm.


By: Emma Harwood


CWIB Fall 2019 Preview

Hey CWIB! I hope your summers have been fun and productive and you’re enjoying what is left of them! With the fall semester rapidly approaching, it’s almost time to return to classes, but it also means we’ll get to catch up with our CWIB friends and start a new semester off strong! Whether you’ve been interning, working, volunteering, traveling, or pursuing something else this summer, we hope you’ve learned a lot and are excited to leverage that experience. The beginning of the fall semester is packed with events that CWIB encourages you to participate in. Here is a preview of upcoming CWIB events so you can mark your calendars and not miss out!

First up is Pamplin Picnic, happening on August 30th which is the Friday of our first week back in classes. The picnic is from 4 to 6 pm on the Holtzman Alumni Lawn and you are all invited to enjoy food, music, and games (for free) to kick off the semester with Pamplin! Stop by the CWIB booth and visit the leadership team at the event to hear how our organization makes an impact not only within Pamplin, but also throughout the Virginia Tech community.

Pamplin Picnic
CWIB Leadership team tabling at the 2018 Pamplin Picnic!

On Wednesday, September 4th, CWIB is hosting its first workshop of the semester with Protiviti! The topic of the workshop is Business Horizons 101 and representatives from Protiviti will discuss resume building and elevator speeches. Many CWIB alumni, including the co-founder of CWIB at Virginia Tech, work for Protiviti, so it is a great company to build connections with through CWIB! Come out and get valuable Business Horizons tips from an employer’s perspective before Business Horizons the following day (September 5th from 10 am – 4 pm). Plus, food from Jimmy Johns will be provided by Protiviti at the workshop. Speaking of Business Horizons, click on the link above to view the attending companies and start planning which ones you want to connect with this year!


The busy week continues after Business Horizons with Gobblerfest on Friday, September 6th from 4 to 7 pm on the Drillfield. Stop by and visit the CWIB booth to gain more information on all we have planned this year, get to know members, and be inspired from your leadership team! Bring your friends too; we are so excited to meet future members!

On September 9th and 10th, CWIB is holding new member information sessions at 6 pm (location is still TBA). Come out if you’re a new member looking to join or tell your friends if they are interested in joining CWIB! That same week, the NYC Women in Business trek is happening from September 12th through 13th, so look out for more details to come on that, as well as information on other treks to take place this semester.

Our first monthly meeting of the semester is on Wednesday, October 2nd at 7 pm in NCB 260. Mark your calendars and come out to the first monthly meeting to reconnect with CWIB friends and hear from the new leadership team about what is in store for the fall semester! Our “Welcome Back” newsletter will be sent out next Monday, August 19th, outlining other important information, so be sure to give it a read!

october calendar
Mark your calendars for our first monthly meeting of 2019! October 2nd at 7pm in NCB 260.


We can’t wait to see you all at these events this semester and hope you’re excited as well!

By: Allison DeSantis



Helpful Business Resources

With a world as complex as ours, it is often hard to stay up to date on current events. During the summer, this may be even more difficult as we are not in class constantly hearing about business trends or corporate news. Technology, stock market fluctuations, growing innovative mindsets, demands of consumers, and many more individual factors make the business world especially difficult to stay up to date with. As women beginning our journeys into the corporate world, it is important that we remain knowledgeable about what is happening within it. That knowledge should include both large events as well as daily happenings, ranging from current events, to informing ourselves of the newest entrepreneurial tactics, business insights, and career advice. Our world is changing rapidly, but we can do our part to change it for the better. If we remain knowledgeable, we can make a difference as women in the business world.

No matter the platform(s) you choose to use as your resources, select one that empowers you with rich information and helps you grow as a businesswoman. You can look into social media pages, websites, podcasts, journals, printed options, and much more. Do your own research of the platforms and news sources you prefer and feel comfortable using weekly, and even daily. Many websites even allow you to modify and personalize what information you wish to see. According to our CWIB members, podcasts are a favorite when it comes to recent business news and operations. Below are suggestions of helpful business resources that many of our members use to help you get started!


So Money: This podcast is hosted by financial specialist Farnoosh Torabi. It aims to inform listeners of strategies involving money, developed by top business professionals. They share financial philosophies, wins, failures, and habits to provide insight into what listeners should or should not do involving their finances. You can even ask Torabi financial questions you may have!

So money

Business Daily: Staying up to date with international business is very important, as markets around the world are interdependent. This podcast is a perfect source of information regarding international business! It consists of weekly reviews of business news from around the world. This can be beneficial for our members who study abroad or are interested in working in another country at some point in their professional careers.

Business daily

Skimm’d from the Couch: On this podcast, co-founders and co-CEOs, Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, share their journey of how they started their company from a couch. They have influential female leaders and businesswomen as guests on the podcast as well. They discuss careers, failure, and what the road to success is truly like. It is a raw environment that shares the truth of the business world!

Skimmed from the couch

The $100 MBA Show: Hosted by Omar Zenhom, this podcast shares actual business lessons from real entrepreneurs. Zenhom reaches out to top experts to serve as guest teachers on the show. This podcast delivers solid business advice, in an attempt to provide applicable, actionable information for all listeners.

MBA show

RISE: New York Times Best-Selling Author, Rachel Hollis, hosts this tactical business podcast. She holds bold conversations with business powerhouses as well as leaders in personal development. She hopes to provide listeners with valuable information that they can apply to their own real-life situations. This podcast is a great source of empowerment for anyone listening!

Rachel Hollis

How I Built This: One of the most popular podcasters, Guy Raz, speaks about some of the world’s best-known companies. He talks about innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists, and the movements they formed. You can hear all about the extensive journeys of these companies and individuals involved.



Morning Brew: This newsletter sends out a daily briefing to its targeted audience, millennials. Specifically, it is designed for young business professionals. The newsletter consists of a stock market recap, a few short briefings of the most important daily business news, and a small lifestyle section. Students enrolled in Foundations of Business at Virginia Tech were even required to subscribe to this newsletter!

Morning Brew


Bloomberg Businessweek: This is an American magazine that is published weekly. It provides information about recent events in the business world. That information includes insights and interpretations of the people, companies, events, and trends that are involved in how and why the corporate world operates the way it does.



The Wall Street Journal: As a business-focused newspaper, The Wall Street Journal provides international daily news involving the business world. It is published six days a week by Dow Jones & Company, which is also a major stock market index. All students taking Introduction to Finance even have to subscribe to this newspaper, which can be accessed online or in print.

wall street journal


How Women Rise: Leadership expert Sally Helgesen and leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith co-authored this book, hoping to motivate their readers. Helgesen and Goldsmith reveal the most common habits that hold women back from getting a raise, promotion, or job. Specifically, women face different obstacles while striving for success in the workplace. This is both an inspirational and helpful read!

How women rise

No matter the resource(s) you choose to use, CWIB hopes that you use these suggestions to help further your own knowledge of today’s business world and its operations. By preparing yourself for all that the business world entails, you have a step up in your professional career. We cannot wait to see all that you do in the future!

By: Allison Wood


Member Spotlight: Camille Pacheco

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Camille Pacheco, a Sophomore majoring in Marketing Management, created Druzy Dream as a way to fundraise for a mission trip. Photo via @druzydream on Instagram.

Meet Camille Pacheco, an entrepreneur and upcoming Sophomore majoring in Marketing Management from Ashburn, Virginia. Besides being a CWIB member, Camille is also involved with Tri Delta sorority. In high school, Camille created her jewelry business, Druzy Dream, as a way to fundraise for a mission trip to Kentucky. Instead of more common methods of raising money, Camille and her friend, “came up with the idea to raise the money by making unique handmade bracelets using all semi-precious beads and selling them,” Camille says. “Our plan was to harness the power of social media, primarily Instagram, to post [pictures of] our jewelry. We shopped at our local craft store using coupons and set our price knowing the cost of our supplies. Much to our surprise we sold the first 10 bracelets within a matter of days and we were quickly developing a local following. What happened over the next year was nothing short of miraculous. We surpassed our goal of the $2800 needed for our trip in just one summer and Druzy Dream took off!”

Camille and Friend
The two founders of Druzy Dream! Photo via @druzydream on Instagram.

While Druzy Dream initially began as a fundraiser, the small business gained popularity both locally and nationally. Camille’s handmade jewelry was not only being sold and shipped locally, but her products began to be sold in boutiques in other regions, such as New England. With its growing customer demand and social media following, Druzy Dream was established as a Limited Liability Company (LLC). As her business grew, Camille was responsible for not only taxes and accounting, but many other functions as well. “I was now managing the Instagram page, creating new designs, shopping with wholesalers, managing inventory, making the jewelry and shipping. With so much demand we decided to create a brand ambassador program and website for Druzy Dream called Druzy Dream Designs,” she says.

Many entrepreneurs encounter challenges when starting their own company. For Camille, one of the main challenges she has experienced with Druzy Dream has been risk taking. “I take risks each time I invest money ordering supplies for new designs thinking that they will sell and not knowing for sure if the market is going to want them. A substantial amount of time is spent making and promoting jewelry that could potentially not sell.” Pacheco said. She also faces difficulties with product pricing while making sure the company profits, as well as time management since she is still involved with Druzy Dream during the school year. “It is difficult trying to balance the time I spend working on the company as a college student. My schoolwork is my priority now, [so] I work on Druzy Dream in any free time that I have… [For the school year,] I brought all my supplies with me to Virginia Tech and sell jewelry to students locally in Blacksburg.”

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Go check out Druzy Dream on Instagram! They feature all the different kinds of jewelry they make and sell. Photo via @druzydream.

Druzy Dream is very much involved with philanthropy fundraising on campus. The company has been incorporated into fundraising events for Tri-Delta’s philanthropy, St. Jude’s, by donating 20% of the proceeds and plans to offer this opportunity for other sororities on campus in the coming years.

Camille has been able to use what she’s learned from her business and inspire other women in their ventures as entrepreneurs. When it comes to her biggest piece of advice for women who aspire to be entrepreneurs, Camille says, “the most important advice I would give is to not be afraid to take risks and to do something different that you feel passionate about. Even though starting a company is a lot of work and filled with some sacrifices, it is an amazing feeling to be able to call something your own. In the end, all the hours invested and social activities and plans you have to forgo or cancel will be worth it. Druzy Dream has brought me such a feeling of pride and accomplishment… [and has given me] opportunities to inspire others to become entrepreneurs [through] workshops with women in shelters and been able to share my story with so many young people in my own community, a few of whom went on to become young entrepreneurs themselves.”

As she continues her education at Virginia Tech, Camille plans to apply what she’s learned in Pamplin to Druzy Dream and her other business ventures after college. “As a CWIB member, hearing how successful businesswomen were able to fulfill their goals and achieve their dream jobs gives me hope for my company and its success when I am older. These women have shown me what drive and persistence is needed to implement your goals.”

Don’t forget to support our fellow CWIB member Camille and give Druzy Dream a follow on Instagram! We are so proud of what she has accomplished so far and can’t wait to see where the company goes!

By: Abby Perkins



Seniors Spotlight

It’s that time of the year when seniors are eager to graduate and conquer the next stage of their lives, while also reminisce on all that they will miss about being a student at Virginia Tech. As sad as we are to see our amazing seniors leave, CWIB is beyond proud of the monumental impacts these women’s efforts have had on our organization, each other, and the Hokie community as a whole. Each one of them possess unique talents and abilities that will aid them in whichever direction they decide to pursue throughout their personal and professional endeavors. I’m very excited to highlight some of these seniors’ accomplishments, inspirational advice, and most memorable moments so that you too can make the most of your time here in college.

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Kinsey Donovan’s decorated graduation cap! Photo via Kinsey Donovan

CWIB’s pillars are to empower, prepare, and connect our members to internal and external sources that will assist them in accomplishing their professional goals. Several seniors have taken full advantage of this mission as they will go on to work for some very successful companies. Many CWIB members will be working for Protiviti, a global consulting firm, in their various offices in Northern Virginia, Charlotte, NC, and New York City. Andra Scaliti, Heather Sangalang, Lauren Carey, and Gigi Jones are among some of these seniors employed by the company. “Big 4” firms were also eager to hire from CWIB as Shannon Keye and Angela Zadrima will be working for Ernst & Young and KPMG, respectively. Additionally, Kinsey Donovan will be employed at Deloitte and Cara Yates accepted an offer from Marriott. All of these women were able to land these positions due to their hard work and excellent use of networking skills to prove they were the right fit for the job!

By being able to obtain these jobs, these women owe so much of their achievements to CWIB. Andra Scaliti tells The Chronicles, “CWIB taught me the high standards I currently hold myself and others to.” Being surrounded by other empowered women helped Scaliti gain the strength and confidence to tackle the business world in her own way. Cara Yates believes “CWIB gave me the opportunity to put myself out there and try things that I never thought I would when I came to Virginia Tech my freshman year.” After hearing those seniors’ experiences, Yates was inspired to be like them, so she applied for  leadership positions and is honored to now be one of the seniors younger members look up to and take advice from, especially through her writing with The Chronicles. Editor-In-Chief of The Chronicles, Heather Sangalang, owes so much of her professional experience to CWIB. “Through this organization, I have met successful fellow students, alumni, and other business professionals who have given me advice that has forced me to look at myself, see that I can be better, and work towards improvement,” Sangalang said. Similarly, Lauren Carey will take away skills such as “improving public speaking skills, coordinating and planning events, and communicating effectively with other members,” through being on the leadership team. While professionalism is at the core of what CWIB aims to convey to members, the personal aspect of being a part of the organization is also something the seniors will never forget.

CWIB has left a personal impact on each of these women. “My most memorable experience as a CWIB member was my first time on the NYC trek sophomore year,” Angela Zadrima said. She had never felt so inspired through an experience such as this trek. Going on treks with fellow members truly helped establish relationships among these women and was a main factor in growing closer as a group. In addition to group goals, personal achievements are also a priority for CWIB to highlight. Shannon Keye effectively put on all the events, workshops, and coffee chats that we were all privy to attend this year. She hopes that members got something valuable through attending. She feels that “You will get so much more out of your college experience by having access and opportunities (that others don’t have) to meet tons of different women who want to give you advice, tell their story, and help you succeed.” These opportunities are things many of us take for granted, just as receiving a degree from this university is an achievement we often forget means so much. At the last monthly meeting of the semester, Gigi Jones reflected on all the hidden treasures Blacksburg has to offer. Whether it is cute coffee shops or free access to Rosetta Stone, she wants to remind us of all that Virginia Tech has for us to discover and how we should take advantage of these resources. Stepping out of her comfort zone of the D.C. area and into Southwest Virginia is a personal triumph she is so grateful to Virginia Tech and CWIB for providing.

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Several seniors on this year’s leadership team. Photo via Kinsey Donovan

Once I realized that CWIB is where it is today because of these ladies’ efforts, their legacies are ones I will take with me moving forward. As simple as it may sound, approaching a new member at the first monthly meeting truly goes a long way, and half of us would not be as involved with CWIB if one of these leaders had not reached out to us. Kinsey Donovan believes this is her legacy — being able to connect with younger members. “I have had members come up to me and ask about my experience in my internships as well as if I can meet with them to talk through things, and that has been very rewarding, “ Donovan said. One method CWIB has truly reached members’ needs is through our online blog, The Chronicles. This resource is Heather Sangalang’s legacy as she is beyond impressed of how far it has come. “I wanted to turn this blog into something useful and impactful and I think that I was successful in that because I love it so much that I worked really hard on it until I got it to where I wanted it,” Sangalang said. Through inspiring her writers, providing helpful content to readers, and growing as a leader herself, Sangalang is truly the reason this blog is so successful as she was the main initiator of establishing all that it has accomplished. The only way to reach such high levels of success is through an attitude of complete professionalism. Andra Scaliti is an exemplary role model of what it means to be professional in your “words, dress, actions, and overall demeanor.” Her senior quote which really resonated with me is “It’s not what job you do, it’s how you do the job” encompasses the concept of professionalism. She is the most proper representation that “attention to small details goes a long way.”

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Heather (front row, middle) and her very first group of writers! Photo via Heather Sangalang

These women have accomplished some pretty amazing things for themselves and all of us in CWIB through their time at Virginia Tech. They each have a piece of advice they want to leave us with:

Angela Zadrima reminds us it’s okay to be selfish. “I learned the importance of understanding my own values and creating a life for myself that reflects those values. Sometimes this involves making difficult decisions, however you will get through it and you will be so much happier.”

Shannon Keye believes the only way to grow is to take advantage of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to ask for something you deserve.

Cara Yates doesn’t want us to second guess ourselves. “Rejection is scary, but not knowing what could’ve happened if you had just took the plunge is even scarier.”

Marissa Wharton stresses the importance of hard work. Even if you don’t know the exact direction your career, life, or relationships are going, working hard for what you want will never go unnoticed.

Lauren Carey reminds us not to wish every day away. “My four years here feel like they were gone in a blink and I wish I could stay here longer.”

Heather Sangalang wants us to make decisions that are best for ourselves. Whether this be academically or socially, prioritizing what you want out of your college experience will help it be all that you desire.

Gigi Jones tells us to take advantage of all that Blacksburg has to offer! Go beyond your comfort zone to explore and try new things.

Kinsey Donovan hopes we strive to be a “water fountain leader.” Be that person who others gravitate toward for advice and encouragement.

Andra Scaliti shows us all what professionalism is. She has realized that she is just as worthy as her male counterparts, which reminds her to speak up and always add something valuable to the conversation.

After reading their empowering advice, personal growth stories, and the thanks they have to CWIB, I hope you all take away that going after what you want is so much more achievable than you may think. We wish all these women the best in their respective personal and professional careers and are so excited to see the positive impacts they have on the people around them!

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Some of our CWIB seniors at their graduation photo shoot! Photo via Gigi Jones

By: Emma Harwood




How to Conquer Finals Week

As the end of the semester is upon us and final exams and project deadlines are rapidly approaching, there are many strategies and coping mechanisms that we can use to help us manage our time, studying, and stress. Finals season is commonly considered a stress-inducing time in college, but with a little organization, effective study strategies, and attention to your health and well-being, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some tips to keep in mind as we head into finals season!

1. Schedule and plan

First and foremost, create a schedule for your finals studying or final project work time. Planning when you want to start studying for each final exam and how much time you want to dedicate to that exam will help you avoid cramming, pulling all-nighters, and feeling underprepared! With multiple final exams, it can be tempting to put off studying for your later exams. Starting your studying for an exam earlier rather than later is always the best option and making a study schedule can help you do that. Take a pen to paper and actually write down your study schedule or put it in your Google calendar, but just make sure to hold yourself to it! Set specific goals for each block of studying, like “Monday evening, I will review chapters 14-16, go over my class notes for these chapters, and do 10 practice problems from these chapters.” This will help ensure that you’ve allotted enough time for reviewing all the material you need to study. If there were concepts and chapters that you didn’t quite understand at first, allow yourself more time for studying those sections. Creating a schedule for finals studying is a great way to stay organized and better prepare for your exams.

Make a detailed study schedule and stick to it for finals! Image via Pinterest.com


2. Maintain balance in your life

Studying isn’t the only thing you should include in your schedule when planning your time for final exam season! Carving out time for exercise and connecting with friends is important to maintain your physical and mental health. According to this Active.com article, exercise signals the release of several key hormones which help us focus and feel better, thus improving our memory, attention, and accuracy over time. Of course, getting sleep and eating should not be blown off during this time in the semester. If you want to retain information and perform your best on your finals, getting enough sleep is vital. According to this PsychCentral article about improving your memory, eating healthy and getting a good night’s sleep are essential to improving your memory. Eating meals can also serve as a time to take a break and socialize with your friends. Finding time to spend with friends is a great way to reward yourself by taking time away from studying in order to stay motivated during finals season.

3. Utilize good study strategies

Utilizing study strategies can be very helpful if you want to study for long periods of time. Try studying in intervals by setting a timer for 25-30 minutes where you focus fully for that period of time, then take a five-minute break when the timer goes off. This is referred to as the Pomodoro technique, which you can read more about here. When there is a lot of material you want to review, making study guides and summarizing your notes for each chapter is a great technique. Form study groups to make studying for final exams a little less painful. Your study partners may be able to help you understand topics that you struggle with and vice versa. Explaining concepts and topics to others will reinforce your knowledge of the material.

The Pomodoro Technique is one method for studying in intervals. Image via Naturalfactors.com

4. Minimize distractions

Minimize distractions like the TV, your phone, and music that you like to sing along to while studying. Having your phone nearby can affect your focus and productivity if you are tempted to constantly check your messages or go on social media. Try putting your phone somewhere out of sight when you’re studying. If you have to check it, try to avoid opening social media because scrolling through social media feeds can suck you in, consuming more time than you might have anticipated spending on your phone. Listening to music helps a lot of people focus while studying, but try to avoid songs and artists that will make you want to sing along rather than focus on your studying. Opt for music that is more lowkey, soothing, and maybe doesn’t contain lyrics, like classical or instrumental music. Recently, I’ve been searching “study” on Spotify and there are a lot of playlists that people have created with non-distracting, chill study music that helps you focus!

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Find a good study music playlist that you like and isn’t distracting! Screenshot via Allison Desantis

5. Alternate your study space

Another tip for studying for long periods of time is to switch up your environment. It is easy to lose concentration when you’ve been in the same room or spot for hours. If you’ve spent a lot of time studying in your dorm or apartment, change up your environment by studying in the library, an academic building, or a coffee shop. Tidying up your study environment in your dorm or apartment is also a great way to feel refreshed and de-clutter your mind in preparation for your studying.

Squires is one option for a finals study space and is offering free coffee, snacks, and de-stressing activities like yoga and playing with therapy animals during finals week! Image via Student Engagement and Campus Life at Virginia Tech

These tips might seem basic, but they are important to keep in mind as you start thinking about final exams. Stay positive during this time of year and remember that your grades and GPA are not the only things that define you. Good luck finishing up this semester; I know you are all capable of conquering finals!

By: Allison DeSantis



Following Up with Recruiters

Networking is an important aspect of the job search process and can be a great way to get to know recruiters in a more relaxed setting. Often times, recruiters will give you their contact information for after the event. Following up after an event may be unfamiliar but it is an avenue to foster a relationship with recruiters you meet, ultimately creating a great resource as you navigate through the job search process and transition into the corporate scene. These guidelines for following up will help you gain a solid foundation for contacting recruiters after networking.


1. Try to follow up within a few days after the event. It will be easier for your recruiter to remember you and your conversation if you follow up sooner rather than later.

2. Include the event name, time, and place you met. For example, “Hi ____, it was nice meeting you at Hokies On Wall Street on Friday.” This will help jog the recruiters’ memories and confirm that you were paying diligent attention to all aspects of the conversation during your time networking.

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3. Incorporate a memorable aspect of your conversation from the event in your message. Recruiters often meet and interview many students during recruiting season. Adding a memorable topic will ensure that the recruiter will remember you. For example, “I enjoyed speaking with you about marketing and aspects of building your own brand.” This will also help elicit further conversations on the job responsibilities you are most interested in pursuing.

4. Ask for advice. At the recent Hokies On Wall Street, an employee from Resy said, “Email people you networked with and ask for advice. It’s a great way to continue your conversation and learn from them.”

Thank you

5. Thank the recruiter. As recruiters are very busy, it’s important to express appreciation for speaking with you. This common courtesy will never go unnoticed and is crucial for maintaining your positive reputation in every professional interaction.

6. Connect on LinkedIn, which will make it easy to stay connected with your recruiter. When you send a request on LinkedIn, make sure to send a message with it so they know who you are. This can also open doors to connections with other business professionals. You never know who knows who, so expanding your network is always an asset in obtaining your dream job. There are many ways through which to follow up with a recruiter besides LinkedIn, such as Email or even a thank you card to a recruiter if he or she has gone out of his or her way to connect you with helpful resources.


7. Suggest meeting again. If you’re interested in continuing your conversations, suggest meeting for coffee, which is a good option to get to know each other in a more casual and personal setting.

8. Always proofread every message you send a recruiter. It’s always a good idea to have a peer look over your message before sending to make sure there are no errors. Little mistakes like punctuation or grammar errors reflect a lack in attention to detail and convey a sloppy work attitude. No recruiter wants to have this impression of you.

envelopeFollowing up after networking can show recruiters that you are dedicated, interested, and engaged, whether that be in them personally or the company they work for. While it can feel intimidating to reach out to a recruiter or if you fear that you are coming across annoying or pushy, do not let these thoughts stop you from pursuing an opportunity. Employees love to talk about the great companies they work for, so more often than not they will be more than happy to share more knowledge with you! If you follow these guidelines for contacting recruiters, you will be better able to stay connected with and build your professional relationships.

By: Abby Perkins


Summer Break Preparation

As finals approach and this year comes to an end, it is hard to keep our minds off of summer break. With that being said, CWIB has a few suggestions to help you plan for the most productive, yet revitalizing, summer possible! As college students, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with the stress of managing heavy course loads, extracurriculars, social events, and much more. The summer months can serve as a great opportunity to take a step back, catch your breath, and plan for the future without the pressure of deadlines weighing on your conscience. Whether you have an internship, summer job, or are giving yourself a summer off from either, here are five simple guidelines to ensure you make the most out of your break:


1.Keep a calendar, planner, or schedule- Just as you would during the year, managing your time during the summer is essential. You can include events relating to academics, socializing, personal time, or anything else important in your life. Regardless of what it is, staying organized can make a big difference in helping you establish what activities you want or need to accomplish. You have to make the most out of the three months we call summer, and planning can help you decide how you want to spend those months. Remember, it is important to balance work and play. Stay focused on your goals and aspirations all while enjoying your ample free time.

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Photo credit: PicsWe

2. Take time for yourself- Your body and mind have been through a lot over the course of the past school year. Stress can take a toll on us all, and it is important to give yourself time to recuperate. We often find it difficult to devote time to ourselves due to the hectic schedules we have during the school year. The summer months give us an opportunity to change that! Working out, eating healthy, and resting are just a few ways to nourish our bodies. Do whatever works best for you, but continue to make it a priority throughout the summer!

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Photo Credit: DeskGram

3. Do something you love- You only have a limited number of summers as a college student, so make them memorable. Spending your days doing something that gives you joy can go a long way in bringing you happiness throughout the next year. Whatever it may be, do it for you and your own enjoyment. Taking care of our own happiness is one of the most important things in life. As human beings, we conform to what others want to do far too often, but this summer can be a fresh start in taking care of ourselves and fulfilling our own desires! You have worked hard this past year, and you deserve to do something you love this summer.

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Photo credit: Pinterest

4. Think about the future. Planning for your future academic and career goals during a time that is not filled with stress can be very beneficial. You can rationally form the steps you will need to complete in order to get that job, internship, position, or any other aspiration. Ask yourself what do I want my future to look like? Then use this summer to your advantage. It can be a great way for you to grow into who you want to become! If you want something specific out of the upcoming school year, what can you do this summer to work towards that goal?

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Photo credit: J Miller & Company Twitter

5.Be proactive. It is easy to say you want something, but it takes strength to go and get that something. If you set a goal for yourself, work towards it. If you want to do a specific activity, do it. It is easy to waste away summer days because there is not a set schedule of classes or meetings you have to attend but strive to avoid those wasted days this summer. No one ever remembers the day they sat inside watching television for 14 hours straight. They remember the days they accomplished a goal or experienced something new. Make every day count.

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Photo credit: JuliaDub

No matter what you plan to do this summer, we hope you use the time as a way to grow, destress from the past school year, and make memories that will last you a lifetime. Use the upcoming summer months as motivation to work hard throughout the end of this semester!


By: Allison Wood













CWIB Spotlight: Ashton Hughes

Member: Ashton Hughes
Year: Junior
Major: Finance, Concentration of Certified Financial Planning
Fun Fact: Ashton’s favorite CWIB memory was going on the New York trek! She had a great time touring companies like Google and hearing from passionate women, and spending the weekend with other CWIB girls made the trip one to remember!

Ashton Hughes has been a member of Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) since September of 2016! She joined CWIB as a freshman because she had an older friend who went to Virginia Tech at the time who told her about it. Ashton decided to join the organization because she felt inspired by the CWIB founders and their professionalism. She has not left since. In the three years that she has been involved, Ashton has grown as a professional woman in business, and she now wants to apply her lessons to empower, prepare, and connect other CWIB women!

Besides from being a CWIB leader, Ashton is also a Hokie Ambassador! Photo credit: Ashton Hughes

In her career, Ashton aims to be a financial planner for individuals, families, and small businesses. Her personal goal is to continuously help guide others through every financial milestone in their life. On her journey to achieve her career goals, she was able to obtain an internship with Canal Capital Management, an independent financial planning and investment firm, this summer! Ashton credits CWIB with teaching her the skills that are necessary to go after the career you desire and empowering her to self-advocate and gain opportunities.

As Ashton prepares to enter her senior year, she wants to help empower younger members in ways CWIB has helped and empowered her. “CWIB has been an integral part of my career journey,” Ashton said. “CWIB taught me how to make my first resume, the do’s and don’ts of interviewing, and how to build my personal brand. This organization has given me alumni mentors and a network that has been so generous to me. Most importantly, CWIB has empowered me to feel confident in the professional world.”

Photo credit: Ashton Hughes

Ashton’s biggest motto in life is “I am my best advocate.” She found this motto when she realized that filling out an application with a resume and a transcript was not going to get her the best opportunities. She has learned about her strengths and her passions and now wants to teach others that succeeding professionally involves recognizing your weaknesses and capitalizing on your strengths. “School hasn’t always been a walk in the park for me,” Ashton said. “But I am intensely passionate about helping others succeed, and my strengths lie in communication. I learned that I had to make the extra effort to meet in-person with people, and have a genuine conversation.” Advocating for your strengths and knowing your weaknesses gives you the ability to present yourself in the best manner and succeed!

One piece of advice that Ashton would give to other CWIB members is to not wait around for opportunities but to instead go out and seize them yourself with confidence. She believes that if you want something to happen in your life, it is your place to make it happen. “If you see an internship or job with qualifications and you don’t meet every single one, apply anyway. Reach out to professionals for lunches, coffees, a phone call, and LEARN from them,” Ashton said. She believes that asking for advice from professionals can bring many opportunities, and that could all stem from just one email! Taking the step to put yourself out there is the only way for people to know and remember you.

The network of women which CWIB connected Ashton with has empowered her to advocate for herself! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

Ashton has found CWIB to be a place of education, empowerment, and mentorship and she has many goals for the future of CWIB! As the incoming Co-CEO of CWIB, Ashton wants the organization to be a network of driven women who are rooting for each other’s success. “As CWIB gets older I hope we can really tap into a strong alumni base all over the country,” Ashton said. “The job for us now is to really cement a clear and unique identity not only here at Virginia Tech, but beyond it as well.” She has committed to seeing this organization reach its potential and provide strong value to its members. “The fact that we have such a devoted and talented leadership team, staff writers, and general membership is what makes Collegiate Women in Business at Virginia Tech so special.” Empowering women is rooted in CWIB’s culture and Ashton wants that to see that continue for years to come.

Ashton is a prime example of someone who has seen the value that Collegiate Women in Business can bring its members. Anyone can pay dues, but if you really want to set yourself apart to get your dream internship and job, get involved in the organization! Ashton, we are looking forward to seeing you continue to empower other women in CWIB as one of the Co-CEO’s next year. Our organization is very lucky to have such dedicated, successful, and inspiring leaders like you!


By: Lina Al Taii





CWIB Hokies on Wall Street

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CWIB members at Hokies on Wall Street. Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

On April 4th, fifteen CWIB members headed to New York City to join Pamplin alumni for the annual Hokies on Wall Street event. Hokies on Wall Street is a networking event for Virginia Tech alumni and current students of all majors to come together and interact with each other about everything from their careers to their favorite memories in Blacksburg.

This year’s event was hosted by CitiGroup in their Midtown office. The event kicked off with a panel including Omar Asali, Chairman and CEO at One Madison Group, Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO of KPMG. Dean Sumichrast moderated the panel and asked them questions about their career journey.  When asked what one piece of advice she can give to people who want to grow their career, Tracy Castle-Newman emphasized the importance of commitment. She admitted, “Every time I got a promotion, I would stay at the office until 11 PM for a couple of weeks in order to learn the job and become good at it. I made that choice.” Omar Asali’s piece of advice was: be passionate about what you do. He explained that “if you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” The panel ended with the question: why is giving back important? Lynne Doughtie shared that she has been contributing money to Pamplin since she graduated. She went on to say, “When I got my first paycheck, I donated $15 to Pamplin. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Virginia Tech gave me so much and I have always believed that it was right to donate what I could.” The panelists did a great job inspiring the audience to work hard in their career to reach their goals and remember that Pamplin helped get them to where they are today, so there is value in giving back. After the panel, there was a networking reception where attendees chatted while munching on the delicious catered food. CWIB members thoroughly enjoyed interacting with many successful Hokie alumni.

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CWIB members with KPMG CEO, Lynne Doughtie. Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

CWIB members also had the chance to visit a couple of the world’s most iconic companies. On Friday morning, trekees visited IBM. CWIB members sat down with three women in marketing who explained their paths to IBM and offered advice on reaching one’s full potential and becoming successful in business. Allison Wood, a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management, shared that the IBM visit was one of her favorite parts of the trek because of the inspirational women she got to meet. “They are each so successful but are only a few years older than us. It really showed me what I can accomplish in just a few years if I put my mind to it,” she shared. In the afternoon, the CWIB members traveled to the New York Stock Exchange. The group was treated to a personal tour of the company from Laura Seamon, a Manager in Enforcement Counsel. Heather Sangalang, a senior majoring in BIT, shared that her favorite part of this visit was being on the trading floor. She admitted that “It was a surreal experience being on the famous trading floor that you see in movies. I found it really interesting to hear that the number of traders decreased from 5000 to 500 over the years due to the adoption of advanced computer programs and algorithms. It proved the significance of technology in business.” The visit ended with a panel featuring women who work in regulation. CWIB members asked them questions about their job roles, how they handle work in a male-dominated field, and why they think internships are important. After this visit, the group was free to roam New York City with each other, which allowed them to bond with new and old faces!

CWIB members during their visit to IBM. Photo credit: Neha Shah

Emma Roby is a freshman studying Finance who participated in the trek to expand her network and connect with professionals from companies she’s interested in working for. When asked about her most memorable moment from the trek, she shared, “My most memorable part of the weekend was touring the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, getting to experience what goes on down on the floor in person was incredible.” Roby encourages other CWIB members to participate in treks because they offer the opportunity to meet professionals in different fields, which can be helpful in deciding which career path you want to pursue.

CWIB members on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Photo credit: Gigi Jones

Lauren Carey, a senior studying Finance and Management, has attended Hokies on Wall Street for the past three years, explaining that it is her favorite event of the year. She enjoyed visiting the New York Stock Exchange for the opportunity to tour the trading floor and speak with a panel of women in the regulation sector. Lauren admits that her favorite part of the trek was bonding with other CWIB members. “I have made some of my best friends from CWIB and I cannot picture my college experience without it,” she says.

Kinsey Donovan, a senior studying BIT and Management Consulting, also considers Hokies on Wall Street her favorite event of the year and describes the trek as engaging, enlightening, and inspiring. It was her third and last year participating in the trek and explains that the Hokies on Wall Street networking event is what makes the NYC excursion worthwhile. “Being on the top floor of a New York skyscraper under the city lights talking to amazing people who love Virginia Tech and want to invest in the students makes the quick trip so worth it,” she explains. Her biggest takeaway from the trek was a piece of advice she received from an alum she talked to. He explained that the start of your career is a time to spend observing – observing managers, coworkers, and leaders in your company, so when you get to their level you’ll know how you want to interact with everyone.

CWIB seniors at their final Hokies on Wall Street. Photo credit: Lauren Carey

Abby Perkins, a sophomore studying Marketing, explains that she was pleasantly surprised by the trips to IBM and the New York Stock Exchange. Representatives at IBM focused on product marketing, while CWIB members got to learn more about the legal side of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Abby appreciated that the company visits consisted of more than just finance and BIT-related topics. “This trek taught me that there are so many opportunities for all majors at companies you wouldn’t normally expect, so you just have to keep looking for the job you want in places you might not be expecting,” she explains. The IBM visit was the most memorable part of the trek for Abby and she enjoyed how relatable the women were. “The women we talked to were very down to earth and you could tell that they wanted us to succeed in our endeavors. We had a great discussion not just about business but life as well and how transitioning from college into a job was for them,” she shared.

There are plenty of opportunities to bond with your CWIB friends and explore the city you’re in during treks!. Photo credit: Neha Shah

CWIB treks are a great opportunity to make connections with professionals, discover new companies, and get a feel for a city you may see yourself working in. They are also a chance to bond with your fellow CWIB members and grow a network of supportive friends who share similar aspirations to you. Freshmen and seniors alike take away something valuable from treks, whether that be learning about different career paths or making new connections at a fun, annual event!


By: Allison DeSantis



Preparing the Way for More Women in Sports

Sports are a major way to connect people of differing backgrounds. They bring about intense emotions as athletes and coaches can inspire the everyday person to reach for greatness. However, more often than not the image that pops up in our heads is of a male athlete, coach, or sports announcer. Women continue to struggle for equal respect in their athletic abilities. While women do not receive the same attention as men do when it comes to sports, we are taking the steps in the right direction. This comes from the support of male-dominated organizations providing women with equal opportunities.

A recent ESPN article caught my attention as the headline stated, “Buccaneers hire 2 female assistant coaches.” Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar were hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as assistant defensive line coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach, respectively (Schefter). This accomplishment made these two women the first full-time female coaches in the Buccaneers’ franchise.  

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Locust (left) and Javadifar (right) were the first female assistant coaches hired in Buccaneers franchise history. Image via FOX.

Both women were extensively qualified for these positions as Locust has had coaching experience with the Baltimore Ravens as an intern and as defensive line coach for the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron. She has additional experience playing the sport herself at the semi-professional level (Schefter). Javadifar comes from an athletic background too as she played college basketball at Pace University. She furthered her education at New York Medical College where she received her doctorate in physical therapy; from there, she completed her sports physical therapy residency at Virginia Commonwealth University (Schefter). There was no question that Locust and Javadifar take their work seriously. Thanks to Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, he took their accomplishments seriously too.

The National Football League (NFL) is predominantly composed of male athletes, coaches, and general managers, so women may often be overlooked when it comes to their inclusion within this organization. Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians stated, “I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football. Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.” While general NFL viewers would not initially picture women as a part of the team staff, Arians realized that it shouldn’t matter whether a man or a woman is a coach, as long as he or she knows how to coach. ” ‘I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University, and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game,’ Arians said. ‘I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy, and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program,’ ” (Schefter). Arians recognized the abilities of these women and that’s all he needed as confirmation they would be successful contributors to the team. Their gender was never a second thought.

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Bruce Arians is the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and made the decision to add Locust and Javadifar to his staff. Image via INSCMagazine.

Arians is known for his support of female coaches as he previously hired Jen Welter as a training camp intern for the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, where he was previously the head coach. She is considered the first woman to hold a position with the NFL (Schefter). Hopefully, he can serve as an example to other coaches that hiring women to work in sports is not such a crazy thought after all.

Locust and Javadifar join a total of 55 women working for NFL teams in football operations (Marvez). With the increased number of women working in this field, many would assume there is added pressure on them to prove themselves worthy of the position. In an article from Sporting News, Samantha Rapoport, the NFL’s director of football development, states, “ ‘What we don’t want is the spotlight on one female and her feeling it rests on her shoulders for women to succeed or fail,’ ” (Marvez). One woman’s accomplishment should be something special to her; it should inspire others to do the same, not frighten them that they will not live up to their own potential. So far, this has not been a problem among employees within the NFL as Rapoport complements the organization as being “an absolutely incredibly open, welcoming place to work.”

Samantha Rapoport
Samantha Rapoport is the NFL’s director of football development. She is “tasked with helping ensure females are afforded chances to prosper at all levels in a male-dominated league,” (Marvez). Image via McGill News.

Women who work in sports are becoming more and more common in the world we live in today where increased diversity is not only recommended but demanded by organizations. We can see this past the NFL as the National Basketball Association (NBA) has several women working for their teams, such as the San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon, who became the first female assistant coach in NBA history. Sports reporters like Erin Andrews and Laura Rutledge are paving the way for women in sports media positions. We can see that the opportunities for females in the sports industry are ever increasing across several aspects of the field.

Women such as those mentioned above are role models for women and young girls everywhere that they can be just as successful as men in the sports field. In the future, we can expect to see more women in leadership roles within sports organizations, so if this is something that is of interest to you, don’t be afraid to apply for internships that show you possess these same qualities and skills to be successful in the world of sports!

There are numerous jobs in the sports business. Be sure to check out Teamwork Online at this link to find opportunities that match your strengths and passions, and how they can fit into the sports industry.


By: Emma Harwood 



Lynne Doughtie: Inspiring Women to Climb to the Top

KPMG CEO and Chairwoman, Lynne Doughtie. Photo credit: KPMG Website

In a time of more women holding executive positions in companies such as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and General Motors (GM), Virginia Tech alumna Lynne Doughtie serves as an inspiration for women with a goal to excel at their jobs and reach their goals. She is a huge believer in building confidence and taking risks in order to have a long-lasting and successful career.

Lynne Doughtie is currently the CEO and Chairman of KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms that offer financial audit, tax, and advisory services. In 2015, Doughtie became the first female CEO of KPMG and has also held multiple leadership positions during her time with the company. As the CEO, her goal is to foster an environment in which the next generations are nourished and can face challenges the right way.

Doughtie began her career with KPMG in the company’s audit practice after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She originally found her love for accounting when she helped with her family’s business growing up, and decided that this was what she was meant to do.

Staying involved in Virginia Tech has remained an important part of Doughtie’s fulfillment. She is a current Cabinet Member and has served as President and Cabinet Chair for the Pamplin Advisory Council. She has also served on the Pamplin Accounting and Information Systems Advisory Board. Doughtie received the Virginia Tech University Distinguished Achievement Award in May 2018 and the Pamplin College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007 for her involvements and contributions to the university. Aside from her awards received at Virginia Tech, Doughtie has also been named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business and Accounting and Today’s Magazine Top 100 Most Influential People.  

Doughtie with Dean Sumichrest at the 2018 Pamplin Commencement Ceremony. Photo credit: Dean Sumichrest’s Twitter

Lynne Doughtie was invited to participate in a panel discussion at this year’s Hokies on Wall Street event that a handful of Collegiate Women in Business members were able to attend. During this event, she emphasized the importance of giving back to Pamplin. She said that she has been donating a part of her paycheck since she started her full-time career. Doughtie stated, “I only gave $15 and I was so proud of it. Virginia Tech did so much for me, so it has always been important for me to give back.” The CEO is a prime example of someone who lives out Ut Prosim in her life despite the fact that she graduated many years ago.

Doughtie is very involved not only in the Virginia Tech community but also on the Board of Directors of other organizations such as the National Academy Foundation (NAF), cancer-focused nonprofit LUNGevity and the Partnership for New York City.

Building confidence in your career is crucial if you want to reach your goals and have a fulfilling career. In an interview with Business Insider, Doughtie explains the way she thinks confidence is gained. She argues, “…it shouldn’t just come because you say: “I’m smart and I can do this,” I think it comes from action. It’s actually just — jump in, do it, impress the heck out of yourself, that’s how you get confidence. And then as each new challenge and opportunity comes, you jump in again.” This is a valuable point made by the CEO because no matter how well you do in your classes, it won’t matter if you don’t practice applying it somewhere. Therefore, it is a great idea to get involved in organizations on campus, do well on your projects at your part-time jobs, and/or get internships so you can apply what you learn in the classroom to these organizations. Just go out and do it.

Doughtie’s interview with Business Insider. Photo credit: Business Insider

Like all of us, Doughtie has experienced many challenges and disappointments in her career but has kept going by learning in new positions and experiences. In the same interview with Business Insider, Doughtie stresses the importance of your professional growth of always raising your hand for new opportunities and being confident in your abilities when taking risks.  She says, “When you feel you’re most uncomfortable… that’s actually great because it means you’re growing.” In continuing on this theme, she attributes her ability to take risks as the reason why she got all of her promotions because it’s the driver for growth in your career. She explains, “Careers are really long. At 13 years it seemed, like, “If I don’t do this one thing, my career’s over.” No, it was just starting. And I think that my ability to rise through the ranks at KPMG, I was clearly benefited by having a variety of experiences.” While it may seem scary to take on a new role or ask for a promotion, Doughtie’s career showcases that it is one of the ways that new doors will open for you that can present you with new opportunities to learn and grow.

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Lynne Doughtie speaking at the Women’s Leadership Summit hosted by KPMG. Photo credit: Forbes

Becoming the first female CEO in KPMG’s history made headlines in 2015. Lynne Doughtie recognizes that this is a huge accomplishment and continually strives to empower women in the business world to help them know that success is attainable. She believes that her success is due to watching others. She explains, “I feel a sense of responsibility to reach in and encourage and sponsor and mentor, and to show women that they can do this, and that’s very powerful. It goes full circle to how we started the conversation about even just me seeing my mother and my father, and the things that they did…and you can see yourself doing that.” As women in the business world, we should empower other women and be good examples of what a successful woman looks like. Here in Collegiate Women in Business, we strive to create a supportive environment that makes our members feel ready to achieve anything they want to. Female support is a powerful thing!

Lynne Doughtie has and continues to encourage women to use their unique talents and abilities as they strive for success in their career. As she continues to pioneer the way for women in the business world through her past and current leading roles, she truly sparks inspiration for women to climb to the top.


Power Panel Recap

On Monday, March 25th, Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB)  hosted their biggest event of the year: the 2019 Power Panel. This is an annual event in which CWIB invites the entire Virginia Tech community to take part in a night filled with networking, panelist speakers, and empowering insights. The theme for this year’s Power Panel was Choose Courage: Unleash Your Full Potential. Our three panelists, Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch (refer to the CWIB Chronicles’ article: Meet Your 2019 Power Panelists for more information), inspired attendees with their own courageous experiences of being a woman in business.

Our three Power Panelists: Tricia Harper, Frances Reimers, and Allison Sitch. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

The night began with a catered networking session with the panelists for CWIB members only, giving our members a unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with these incredible women. After networking, students from all across Virginia Tech’s campus arrived eager to hear from the three leading industry professionals attending the panel. The panel was then moderated by CWIB’s Chief Communications Officer, Neha Shah. Shah asked prompting questions throughout the night, and the panelists were excited to share their life experiences with the room.

Frances Reimers as CEO of Firestarter Communications, Tricia Harper as Partner at KPMG, and Allison Sitch as a PR representative for Marriott Hotels collectively highlighted four main ideas to live by in the corporate world:

Interests and Passions:

In order to reach your full potential, it is crucial to discover and define what you are truly passionate about. This can be anything from your major to a small interest in your life, and it can occur at any time in your life, as we are always growing. Reimers revealed how her majors and personal interests were very different, but in order to excel in her industry, she combined her knowledge and passions for each. Reimers shared, “The bridge may be foggy at the beginning, but with every step, it gets clearer,” referring to one’s journey in finding themselves and what they choose to do with their life.

Harper was focused on sharing the importance of being open-minded in terms of your passions. She advised the room to be grounded in who you are as a person and ask yourself what excites you. Then, you must be open to where that will take you in life. If you think about what you love, you will find things that are uniquely you, and those qualities will take you far in life if you let them! Simply put, “Do something that you will love,” said Sitch, agreeing with Harper. Motivating factors are a big aspect of discovering what you are passionate about as well. Harper announced how she is motivated by having an impact, even if it is small, every single day. “Everyone wants to change the world but no one is willing to make an impact on the person next to you,” she proclaimed. No matter what gives you passion or feeds your interests, find those factors and incorporate them into your everyday life, both personal and professional.

CWIB members bonding and networking. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians

Finding the Right Company:  

A big factor in determining your happiness while having a professional career is finding a company that fits you as a person. Knowing what qualities you hope to find in a company can go a long way in ensuring you have vast opportunities in the future. As an employee for Marriott Hotels, Sitch shared how important it is that a company recognizes the right that everyone has a future and potential. She finds joy in working for the family company, Marriott, because it is welcoming to all, not just to other companies, but to individual workers. In fact, the new president, David Marriott, has worked every role in the hotel. From making beds and checking people in, to handling the financial books, Marriott has developed a sense of gratitude for each and every employee, creating a work environment that benefits all who are involved.

Similarly, Harper wanted to find a company where she could have countless opportunities to further her career. KPMG allowed her to work with C-level executives directly out of college, and from there she began her journey to become a partner for the firm. Harper revealed that the people and values of KPMG are what has kept her at the company for nearly two decades. She noted the importance of finding a place to work where you will enjoy spending the entire day with the people, as your career is a big time commitment in your life. Reimers added how she always made sure to take part in nonprofits and give back to the community while she was working for other agencies, as well as in her own company. In starting her company, Reimers actually incorporated all of the aspects she desired to have in different companies into one single company. As she put it, she connected the dots!

Finally, finding a company that supports your goals as a woman is crucial. Marriott Hotels, Firestarter Communications, and KPMG all support women in the workplace, which is reassuring to hear. For example, KPMG has previously offered Harper sabbaticals, time off, and flexible work arrangements when her professional and personal goals were both prominent in her life. As a mother of three, and a successful partner at KPMG, Harper revealed her gratitude for the firm, as she did not have to choose between her career and her family. Harper proclaimed, “We always talk about work-life balance, but really it is all life,” and KMPG realizes that in its employees. Go out into the corporate world and believe that you can have both professional and personal ambitions!

Our wonderful panelists pose with CWIB members, Neha Shah and Andra Scaliti. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

Risk Taking:

A common theme among the journeys of each of the three women on stage included the idea of taking risks. Being unsure about the future is one of the scariest feelings in the world, yet it can lead to some of the greatest results. With risk and courage, comes growth as well. Growth becomes an indefinite journey and a significant one in our transitions throughout the business world. Sitch stated how important it is to always be motivated to learn, transform, and “become better.” “Success is never really final,” she added. Each panelist has taken risks in their careers, and it has led to great success for each one of them.

Sitch shared that the biggest risk she took in her corporate career was moving to the United States. Encouraged multiple times, Sitch agreed to leave her position overseeing 94 hotels around the world and transition to overseeing 5,300 hotels in America alone. She revealed that a mentor of hers once said, “As best you can allow your career to unfold,” and she has lived by that ever since her transition. Although the transition was not easy, Sitch declared, “I had the ability. I had the company. I had the courage.” Change may not always come easy, but taking risks can lead to amazing benefits. You simply have to know and believe in your own abilities.

Reimers believed in her ability to part ways from the advertising agency she was with to form an agency of her own, grounded in her desired ideals. She had to create a company from scratch, funded by her own savings. She personally came up with the brand, social media, logo, and many more details concerning the blossoming company. “We as women often talk ourselves out of something, and we need to stop that,” she announced to the audience. Having the courage to know where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do was the foundation she built her company on.

Lastly, Harper decided the normal, linear path to partner was not one she desired. She decided to take a non-client-based path, despite people telling her she would not make partner with that course. She relied on her courage to persevere in her journey to make partner. “Courage is really about anchoring to your cores values,” Harper said. She did not let those around her who were discouraging affect her perseverance, and neither should you!

Five of our CWIB members at the networking session prior to the panel. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.


Building connections is an important aspect of developing your professional brand and your personal relationships. Harper advises that you begin with a network you are comfortable in, and expand from there. Sitch recommends that you go into every discussion with an open mind, believing that people are good, and genuinely talk with those around you. Reimers reassured the audience not to let what happens in the office impact the relationships that mean the most to you. In our strive for success, we may experience failure, but we cannot let those difficult times define us. “Know the difference between what you can control and what you cannot,” stated Reimers. Another key component Reimers highlighted in relation to building strong relationships is understanding that life is not a competition with your neighbor. “You are enough, so stop worrying about how you measure up to others,” Reimers revealed in an empowering statement. Be present, and your abilities will guide you to success!

Present and upcoming members of the CWIB leadership team stand with the panelists. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

Overall, the night was filled with encouraging insight from our three panelists, Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch. We hope you take the advice given by each of these women and use it to make strides in the business world. We at Collegiate Women in Business cannot wait to see all that you become!  


By: Allison Wood



How to Get Experience Outside of Internships

As business students, the pressure to find an internship that will lead to the perfect job is thrown upon us as mere freshmen with no knowledge of how to do so and why it is so important. Simply put, getting an internship is the most common way to get experience, and in the business field, gaining work experience is the most important precursor to getting a job. As a result, many students strive to land the perfect internship and spend much of the academic year either trying to get interviewed for them or preparing for them once they have received them.

However, many don’t realize that there are other alternatives to getting internships! These can be smaller, but they still build your resume and give you that experience, without the stress of spending a whole year looking for them. Although they are smaller, they can still make a huge difference, especially for students who can’t afford to work an unpaid internship for the whole summer or have struggled to get any interviews. Ultimately, getting an internship would be ideal, but if you don’t get the perfect internship, you can still build your resume in other ways!

As a business student, one common misconception is that getting an internship is the only way to get a job! There are many other ways! Source: Capital Research 


1.Personal Projects

Starting a personal project is mostly about finding a way to display your abilities and build your experience in your career. For example, you can have a personal project in software development or code, and share this project with future employers during interviews! This definitely isn’t to be confused with any class project, as employers will immediately be able to tell if you show them something like that. Make it authentic and work hard on it for at least a few months to show your commitment to it. Also, more valuable lessons are bound to be learned if you spend more time on the project and you can share those lessons with your interviewer!

2. Externships

Although internships are the most common, externships are still out there and they can be very beneficial as well!  Externships are offered by many companies and are great opportunities to show your interest in a company! Although externships are unpaid and time-consuming, most of them don’t last as long as a regular internship. Times can range from a day to a month, but it all depends on what you get offered! Taking an externship gives you the opportunity to learn about your career through watching, but you will not get any hands-on experience from it. Many companies offer these as a precursor to actual internships! For example, Ernst & Young, one of CWIB’s sponsors, offers an externship targeted towards sophomores, with the purpose of it leading to an internship the following summer. This is also a great way to get ahead and get your internship planned out early!

3. Organizations

Whether you have realized it or not, the organizations that you are involved in have the potential to make a huge difference on your resume. Showing your commitment and growth in one area is extremely important. There are many organizations at Virginia Tech which can help you get experience in your field. For example, you can apply to SEED, a student-managed endowment fund to get real-life experience in investing and networking. If you are interested in gaining consulting experience, you can apply to join the Consulting Group at VT. The last example of organizations that provide amazing real-world experience is PRISM because they work heavily in marketing and advertising. You can even get these types of experiences in organizations that aren’t targeted towards business students by working hard and joining the leadership team! Do your research beforehand and be sure to find what works for you. These opportunities are the easiest to take advantage of because they are mostly free or highly-affordable, and much less time-consuming than summer internships.

4. Treks

Treks are something that only CWIB can give you and are so incredibly valuable in your resume building experience. On treks, you can travel to many different cities and visit many different firms. These are rare opportunities, and the costs are fairly-priced. Taking advantage of treks can give you connections with firms and people who you can reach out to in the future! On these short trips, you can learn about how each company runs and see first-hand what the job looks like. Needless to say, this is an extremely helpful experience to have before entering the workforce and all CWIB members should aim to go on at least one trek in their college career!

CWIB girls got to meet with employees at SiriusXM in New York this past fall and this was a fantastic way for the trekees to gain industry exposure! Source: CWIB

Ultimately, it’s important to not get discouraged! Interviewers want to see that you are capable of learning and are passionate about your field. Even if getting an internship doesn’t work out, there are plenty of ways to get experience for your career and build your resume! As a CWIB member, you will be given many opportunities to meet with recruiters at workshops or get first-hand experience on treks. These opportunities are highly valuable to your resume and you should aim to actively learn from each one.


By: Lina al Taii 


How Entrepreneur, Komal Ahmad, is Fighting Hunger Through Technology

Komal Ahmad is a woman on a mission to solve what she believes is the world’s dumbest problem: hunger. Her start-up company, Copia, is a technology platform that connects businesses with excess food to nonprofits. The businesses schedule pickups of their excess food on the app, Copia Connect, and Copia drivers come to pick up the food and deliver it to nonprofits in need. Nonprofits create profiles on the app to indicate their food needs and constraints and request recurring or on-demand food donations so that they only receive food on days when they are able to accept it. Copia has recovered over 1 million pounds of food and delivered over 900,000 meals according to its website. The 29-year-old was featured on Forbes 30 under 30 and Copia is recognized as one of the top three startups run by a woman in the U.S. to name a few of the numerous awards and recognition Komal has received.

Ahmad was featured on the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 List. Photo credit: Forbes

Komal studied International Health and Global Development at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. She had no plans of becoming an entrepreneur and starting her own technology company, but rather was training to become an officer in the Navy upon graduation. Meeting impoverished and hungry veterans is what really made her start thinking about issues of poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity. In this Forbes article Komal explains how she encountered a homeless man who was begging for food one day and felt compelled to invite him to join her for lunch. He was a veteran who had just returned from Iraq and hadn’t eaten in three days. Ahmad explains that she thought, “This is a veteran, someone who made a selfless sacrifice for our country, only to come home to face yet another battle…to add insult to injury, right across the street Berkeley’s dining hall is throwing away thousands of pounds of perfectly edible food.” After her lunch with the veteran, Ahmad was determined to alleviate the hunger around her but was told by Berkeley’s dining hall that there was too much liability in donating unused food to the local homeless community. Unsatisfied with this answer, Komal did more research and eventually convinced her university to start a food recovery program. Starting this program, Komal saw firsthand how hard it was to match places with excess food to nonprofits. She would call nonprofits in the area and they wouldn’t be interested in the food she had recovered or would only be able to take a small portion of it.

Komal allowed her passion to become her career. Photo credit: Experience Life 

Three years after graduating from UC Berkeley, Komal founded Copia in 2015 and experimented with various business models while she was starting out. First, she thought that Copia should be a non-profit, but found the time it took to apply for grant funding to be consuming all her time. So, she decided to see if the businesses she worked with would pay Copia a percentage of the tax deduction they receive from their donations in exchange for data about where their food surpluses are coming from. The businesses agreed to this arrangement. Copia quantifies the impact of the businesses that use its service, like how many people they feed by donating food and what their environmental impact is, so they can share that information with internal and external stakeholders. It’s really a win-win situation for businesses with excess food and communities with people in need.

Copia has recovered over 1 million pounds of food! Photo credit: Millenial

Komal has hit rough patches in getting Copia to where it is today. She admits that there were times when she was sleeping on a blow-up mattress at a friend’s apartment and rationing out a pizza for a week because she didn’t have any money. Additionally, without a business background, Komal has had to surround herself with people who have expertise in areas that she does not. Despite the obstacles she’s faced, her mission to find a solution to the world’s dumbest problem has pushed her to keep going.

Komal is solving the social problem of hunger through her business, Copia! Photo credit: Millenial 

In the future, Komal hopes that Copia can expand beyond food and redistribute items like clothes and books, understanding that many of the same logistics issues exist with the redistribution of these items. Her LinkedIn bio begins with “The reasonable woman adapts herself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to herself. All progress, therefore, depends on the unreasonable woman.” Komal has found success by believing that she is capable of solving a huge global problem through a simple yet well-thought-out solution. She has persisted through the trials of entrepreneurship and is on her way to growing Copia and recovering more food. Komal was once a student with a growing passion for a problem she saw in her community. She is proof of the fact that if you believe in yourself, you can turn your passions into a career and make a great impact on the world.


By: Allison Desantis 


Richmond Trek Recap

Taking part in treks with CWIB is a great opportunity to broaden your horizons and learn more about the business world in general. They always serve as a major source of encouragement for each trek attendee. Most recently, a group of CWIB members traveled to Richmond, Virginia in the hopes of learning more about the ins-and-outs of different companies and how to thrive as a woman in business.

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Trekees with their CarMax favors. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

The trek began with a visit to the headquarters of CarMax, a Fortune 500 company. The company greeted our members with donuts and a friendly networking session, where trekees spoke with some highly successful employees. The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) /Chief Information Officer (CIO) even took time out of his busy schedules to meet the six members of CWIB who attended the trek! Junior member Emily Vang stated, “This trek experience definitely helped me practice my networking skills, particularly when we were at Carmax and I got to talk with the CTO about using virtual reality (VR) as a tool.” Networking is a significant aspect of treks in CWIB, as members meet countless business professionals who can provide insight for furthering our careers, collegiate and beyond. Vang added, “I will definitely apply these skills when it comes to communicating with others in a business setting.”

Our members proceeded to learn from the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) that CarMax is extremely supportive of women in business, reassuring the trekees that they truly can succeed as a woman in the corporate world. The CHRO highlighted the importance of working for a company that sincerely cares about its employees. A team leader and member of the growing robotics division of CarMax shared how they put their focus on giving employees more opportunities to improve their skills while growing the company overall. In order to focus on this constant development, the robotics division wants to eliminate, or at least lessen, the burden of mundane tasks in the workplace. Following this encouraging discussion, trekees attended a panel of three employees from the Accounting, Finance, and Cybersecurity Departments. CWIB members learned about their roles and career paths before receiving advice on how to advance into a career path as future professionals. Trekees enjoyed speaking with the CarMax employees so much that they did not have time to go on the planned tour afterward! In fact, at the monthly meeting that followed the trek, each member stated that Carmax was their favorite company that they visited! Our members left this company feeling excited about the future.

Attendees of the trek then traveled to the Martin Agency, a highly regarded company in the advertising industry. Known worldwide, the Martin Agency represents clients such as Geico, Oreo, Timberland, Land O’ Lakes, and many more major companies. The CWIB members were taken on a personal tour of the agency’s growing office. After seeing their modern workplace, trekees met with two Virginia Tech graduates who shared with them the agency reel, which is a highlight of their past work. You can find Hokies working for companies all over the world, and one day that will be you! The CWIB members even got a sneak peek of a commercial for the agency’s latest client, Buffalo Wild Wings.

The Virginia Tech alumni were transparent with the trekees about their journies to careers in business, the ups and downs of the advertising industry, and what they wished they would have known in their collegiate years. Junior and future CWIB CEO Ashton Hughes shared, “I learned that the career path you start on may not always be the one you end on and that there’s nothing wrong with that!” A journey to success is never perfectly linear, which every college student must remember. The obstacles and changes in your journies to success help develop the businessperson you will be in the future. Hughes continued, “It was so eye-opening for me because I feel as college students we feel so much pressure to decide what we want to do as quickly as possible when in reality, you have the freedom to explore and grow after school.”

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CWIB members pose in front of a mural at the Martin Agency that celebrates diversity in the advertising industry. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

CWIB members finished the trek with a trip to Cary Street Partners, a financial planning firm. The visit was hosted by Virginia Tech alumna Christina Todd, a devoted supporter of CWIB and its mission. Trekees spoke with women from different fields in order to gain insight into different positions throughout the professional world. These women were from departments such as Human Resources, Legal, and Accounting. They highlighted how it is possible to take a career path in finance, even if it is not your major. It is important to always keep an open mind! The CWIB members heard from ladies who were just beginning their professional careers as well as those who have been working for decades. Hearing from women with varying degrees of experience taught the trekees how the business world used to be concerning for women and how much it has changed for the better. Junior CWIB member Delaney Russel revealed, “The most empowering part of the trip for me was listening to the testimonies of the women at Cary Street Partners. They reminded us that there’s never a direct path to life and you won’t always be doing what you thought you would be.” As women, we must have the strength to persevere through the ups and downs of our future career paths in order to become the powerful women in business we see more of each and every day.

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Our six trekees representing CWIB at Cary Street Partners. Photo courtesy of Marissa Wharton

Treks are meant to be an empowering experience for every member that attends, and this Richmond trek was just that. The reassuring nature of the testimonies from the business professionals at CarMax, the Martin Agency, and Cary Street Partners helped motivate our members to continue chasing their passions. According to Vang, the trek was inspirational because she “got to meet various successful women who had their own unique story of how they got to where they are today.” Everybody has their own stories of success, and CWIB is excited to see each of its members create their own path in the business world. Another aspect of treks that is always memorable is the female support each trekee receives. Hughes shared, “The most significant part of the trek for me was seeing just how many women from the three companies wanted to come and speak with us.” As women in business, we have to stand together during our strive for success in the often male-dominated fields we will be entering into. Hughes continued with, “They shared so many tips for helping us succeed.”

Finally, treks are simply a glimpse into our potential futures! VP of Treks Marissa Wharton states, “Treks are such a great way to take a step back from campus for a couple of days and really see what life will be like after college.” Physically seeing companies and learning about how they operate is one of the best ways to discover what your interests are in terms of a potential career! From everyone here at CWIB, we hope you use treks to the best of your advantage and cannot wait to see the paths you all carve out for yourselves.


By: Allison Wood


Meet Your 2019 Power Panelists!

Collegiate Women in Business’ most empowering event of the year, Power Panel, is taking place on Monday, March 25th, so I want to give you all a sneak peek at the amazing women who will be speaking at this year’s panel! All three of them will provide helpful advice, inspiring stories, and deep insight into their values that help them strive to be courageous in their respective careers. With the everyday challenges that arise on the job, they are required to make courageous decisions that leave a positive impact on themselves and the people around them. They all started off as motivated students such as ourselves, eager to learn as much as they could before tackling the workforce. Before these women answer your most pressing questions, here’s an introduction to each of them in order to get to know them a little better.



Frances Reimers  

Hometown: Cheyenne, WY

College Education: University of Wyoming; University of Minnesota Duluth; Johns Hopkins University

Favorite Pastimes: traveling, watching sports, going to theater/concerts, cooking, fashion

Favorite Quote: “You can bullshit the fans, but not the contestants.”

Frances Reimers is the founder and CEO of Firestarter Communications, which requires her to manage all aspects of the company, such as Accounting, Human Resources, Legal, and Marketing. When asked why she was motivated to establish her own Public Relations (PR) firm, Reimers responded that it was necessary she do so. “I had accomplished all that I could at my previous agency. I knew the services I wanted to provide and the clients I wanted to serve, so I saw no logical reason to delay creating my own firm,” Reimers said.

Reimers is proud of what Firestarter offers in order for their clients to “create, grow, manage, and protect their brand.” The services they provide include “personal brand and message development/enhancement, strategic planning, creation, and management of social media and content marketing, media representation, reputation management and repair strategies, and personal brand training for individuals and teams,” Reimers explains. Her clients range from individual athletes, such as NFL players, to entire small businesses. Reimers must educate and be educated about the specific needs of each entity she works with. “Many people don’t fully understand what PR  professionals do and the expected return on investment of their work. I spend a large amount of time with each client educating them about marketing and public relations best practices, project timing, and expectations,” Reimers said.

Every day, Reimers gets to help others reach to be their best selves. She loves being an educator by teaching clients about the creative process of business and feels this creates a strong client-vendor relationship. Reimers feels that “If I’m successful [with clients], what I do will serve them well not just at the moment, but for the rest of their life.” In addition to working with all of her clients, Reimers involves herself in philanthropic activities that are meaningful to her. Her PR career and volunteer work assure her that she has left a lasting impact in her profession and on her community, which is incredibly rewarding.

Tricia Harper

Tricia Harper

Hometown: South Dakota; spent high school in Chesterfield, VA

College Education: James Madison University

Favorite Pastimes: Anything outside on our farm (gardening, running around with the kids, cleaning the coop); and journaling. I’ve been journaling since high school 23 years ago…

Favorite Quote: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to START to be great.”

Tricia Harper was the first in her family to graduate from college and was persuaded to choose a major where she could start a career immediately following school. Accounting naturally came easy to her, so Harper made an effort to specifically talk to the accounting firms. “I immediately was attracted to the Partners from KPMG, as their style and approach, even in the interview, just resonated with me,” Harper said. As soon as she started interning at the company, she found that KPMG really does care about their employees as individuals. Since then, she is pleased to have spent the last 20 years working here! Harper admits she tends to lack confidence, so establishing relationships with co-workers over time is really helpful to her. “It’s important to find people you trust, and that are courageous enough to speak with candor, which I define as the equal blending of truth with love!” Harper said.

Harper is currently the President of KPMG’s Network of Women, which provides opportunities for career advancement for women in the workforce. “Over the last several years we have done some really cool events to stretch our women,” Harper said. Some of these events include improv to find your voice, alumni networking, and workshops focused on risk-taking and building one’s brand. As Harper continually strives to reach her potential, she feels that “being asked by our current Chairman and CEO to serve as her Chief of Staff for the last 5 years” has left the most lasting impression and shaped her as a leader.

As women in the workforce, there is more pressure on us to have a consistent work-life balance. Harper’s greatest achievement with KPMG is not only the fact that she was elected into the Partnership position two years ago but how she was able to do it at this firm. While this process took longer for her than other peers, she was able to achieve this despite changing her career path several times, taking a sabbatical in order to prioritize her three children, and working from home so she and her husband could start a ‘hobby farm.’ I respect Harper so much for this, as she is a proper representation of how women can successfully be there for their families and establish their career simultaneously, even in times where this may seem impossible. Her courage and persistence showed her that this was the path she knew she was supposed to follow.

Allison Sitch

Allison Sitch

Hometown: Southampton, England

College Education: Suffolk Hospitality College, England

Favorite Pastimes: time with my family, traveling to new destinations, & watching live music performances

Favorite Quote: I have two:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Gandhi

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” -Margaret Thatcher

Allison Sitch works in PR for Marriott Hotels. In the hospitality industry, PR is very important, as Sitch tells The CWIB Chronicles thatA great PR person must be prepared to deal with things that make them uncomfortable…It’s a delicate dance to reassure customers that you’ll get to the bottom of something while simultaneously reassuring employees that you have their back.” She stresses that the “fluffy work” PR employees get a reputation for clearly doesn’t play a role at Marriott. “The team I work with is best-in-class at moving quickly to address issues and opportunities real-time and in multiple languages…We are recognized as an essential lever in an arsenal of tools that must be brought to life to safeguard the brand reputation and also to complete a marketing mix,” Sitch said.

Sitch’s job requires that she always puts the customer first, and there are many different types of customers she interacts with daily. “The public-at-large, the media, our own senior leaders, investors, hotels owners, and employees” all request her services. “Listening to their requests, understanding their needs, being able to translate information into strategic plans and actions, and then deliver in a way that demonstrates a benefit to the business is probably our biggest mission,” Sitch said.

In order to reach her potential in her career, Sitch shares the attributes that help her thrive in the PR Hospitality industry. Having a great attitude, being energized about your work, and therefore, working hard at your job are essential components in Sitch’s course to success. She stresses that you should “Never burn your bridges.” Establishing relationships with people who help you learn and grow are crucial for your advancement. “I believe you learn from the people you love to work with but learn even more from people you don’t enjoy working with as much…You have to take the good with the bad,” Sitch says. Finally, if you desire to be a leader, you must “be a leader that others choose to follow.” People choose a job not only for the work but for the type of people the company recruits. “They choose to give their loyalty and work for those they respect, admire and are inspired by,” Sitch said.

In addition to leadership, female empowerment is at the core of Sitch’s mindset, as it goes hand-in-hand with giving everyone an equal opportunity. Sitch is fortunate to work for female leaders who prioritize enhancing opportunities for women. She also gets to “work in a discipline that boasts many exceptional ladies and my circle of positive female influence also extends into the world of Public Relations agencies, editors and journalists.” She realizes that there are “So many brilliant women out there that have not waited for the call to progress, they have just done it,” so what is stopping each of you from doing the same?

After reading about each of Reimer’s, Harper’s, and Sitch’s backgrounds, I hope their stories have already motivated you to reach your full potential. Don’t miss out on your chance to be empowered even further when these women speak at Power Panel, located at The Inn at Virginia Tech on Monday, March 25th at 7:00 pm. Come with questions and an open mind to learn more about how you can always choose courage, no matter what obstacle you are facing.   

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By: Emma Harwood 


Ernst and Young Spotlight: Building a Better Working World

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Photo credit: EY Website

Meet Ernst and Young (EY), a global professional services firm that provides advisory, assurance, tax and transaction services to their clients in a wide variety of markets. We are also very proud and humbled to share that they are one of the sponsors of Collegiate Women In Business (CWIB)! Among the 260,000 employees worldwide, there is a culture of high performing teams who bring diverse perspectives together, to work towards their motto of  “building a better working world.” We spoke with CWIB member, Shannon Keye, and campus recruiter, Wes Barrow to find out how Ernst and Young builds a better working world while simultaneously supporting women in business.

One way that EY is building a better working world is with “big initiatives of going digital, trying to push engagement teams to use digital platforms for everything that they do. This builds a better working world because the services they provide help their clients to help others,” says Shannon Keye, who has accepted a full-time offer after completing two internships with the firm. “[The company] is forward thinking and wants to beat the rat race to digital ties.” EY also aims to support “high performing teams with diverse mindsets by sourcing [diverse] talent through our campus recruiting and helping candidates that historically haven’t been in the candidate pipeline. [For example], EY hires people with autism in Philadelphia,” according to Wes Barrow.

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Photo credit: EY Website

“Being able to give back to the community in a variety of ways,” is one of Wes’s favorite parts about the company culture at EY. “[Ernst and Young] is big into community service through internal programs called Connect Day where we shut the firm down and go out and serve the local community entirely for one business day. We also have a program called College Map where we go to underserved high schools and talk about career progression and transitioning into the workforce out of high school or into college pursuit.”

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Photo credit: EY Website

When it comes to women at Ernst and Young, there are multiple resources to guarantee that they get the support they need to succeed. One of those resources is the Professional Networks, which are “organizations within the firm that give you the opportunity to meet people of any level. You can ask them for help and lean on them if you need to,” says Shannon. “You can network with other employees that you share a culture, race, or gender with, such as other African Americans or women.” Wes participates in a “working parent network because I’ve got [two sons and a daughter]. I’m able to connect with other parents about going from the younger to teenage years. We’re all about connecting and incorporating values.” EY also aims to support women within the firm and in business in general through “conferences geared towards the increase [of[ women  [in certain fields] such as the Women in Technology Conference that we use as a recruiting tool, and also looking at all aspects of the firm to make sure we have a good gender balance.” According to general data, Wes says that more than fifty percent of hires are women!

Photo credit: EY Website

Both Shannon Keye and Wes Barrow agree that the opportunities and relationships built are their favorite aspects of working for Ernst and Young. Shannon “really likes the mentorship program, where you’re given a peer advisor, and a counselor who is more experienced. I would IM them all the time to ask any questions I had, and they were so helpful. It was really nice to be able to lean on them.” The diversity that Ernst and Young has to offer was another important aspect that attracted Shannon. “I saw diversity, people of color and women in leadership positions.” For Wes, one of the best aspects are “the relationships that are built both internally and externally. [Also,] the professional development opportunities you get are outstanding. We are a people culture; we are only as good as the people that we have and they’re only going to be good if we continue to create opportunities for everyone at all levels.”

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Photo credit: EY Website

At a firm like Ernst and Young that focuses on bringing strengths and weaknesses together through building a better working world, serving the community, and supporting every kind of employee with the resources they need to succeed, you are sure to achieve your personal and professional goals! Collegiate Women In Business is so fortunate to have had the support and mentorship of Ernst and Young over the years. If you’re interested in this firm, keep an eye out for future events we have with them or reach out to members who have worked/work there!


By: Abby Perkins 


Being Confident in Male-Dominated Fields

Being a woman in business can be intimidating, especially knowing the stereotypes about women being less intelligent, mentally-strong, capable, and successful. As business students, we are entering a career known for being predominately male. We may also choose to pursue jobs in STEM fields, which are also known to be male-dominated. To prepare yourself for these careers, be sure to develop some of your interpersonal skills and educate yourself about your respective field so when you are in challenging situations, you can find the confidence to stand up for yourself and others!

On CWIB Treks, you can meet other women in different companies and learn about their experiences and the challenges they face in the industry! Photo credit: Gigi Jones


Whether you are in the workplace or in school, you may face similar experiences where you have to stick up for yourself as a woman in a male-dominated field. One of the most important things to be able to do is speak up for yourself and the women around you when you notice inappropriate behavior, stereotyping, or discrimination of you or them. In a classroom situation, this can mean speaking to the women in your class if you notice something that might be inappropriate, and directly asking them how comfortable they are with the situation. In the workplace, that may mean telling a supervisor about the incident and asking for guidance. No matter where you are, the most important thing to remember is to speak up and stand your ground as a confident woman! When you show that you have the maturity to defend yourself, your peers are more likely to take you seriously and adjust their behavior to respect you and/or the women around you. Prove yourself!

CWIB believes in the motto: “Empowered women empower women.” Be that woman who motivates other women to be confident in their careers! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

Women in STEM and business face many challenges from their peers and their superiors. Although seeing women in STEM and business fields is more common today than it was 20 or 30 years ago, there are still very low amounts of women in top positions at companies. According to the 2017 Women in the Workplace study from LeanIn and McKinsey, women represent 47% of entry-level professionals, 29% of vice presidents, and only 20% of C-Suite executives. The decreasing trend up the corporate ladder shows that men still dominate executive positions. Another alarming statistic is that only 4% of top leadership positions are held by women of color, while white Caucasian men comprise 68% of this group. The women who broke those barriers created opportunities and hope for all future women in business, and this responsibility falls on us now to make the change even greater. Setting goals for yourself as a businesswoman can build a legacy that will touch many women, not just those in your direct contact. For example, Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM, had a goal of establishing diversity and inclusion within her company. She came up with an initiative to extend parental leave and make it easier for women to return to their jobs afterward. She saw the need for women to have more time at home after they have a child, so she created the program that allowed them to have that!  As you begin to picture yourself and your future career, set some goals and standards to guide you when you get opportunities to create change. Not only will holding yourself responsible for making a difference help you, but it will also open greater doors for women like you many years from now!

Power Panel is a great place to learn from successful businesswomen. Come out to this year’s event on March 25th! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

The best way to prepare yourself is by learning from other women and hearing their stories! In CWIB, every story is valuable and we bring women from many different walks of life to speak about their own experiences in business. From our advisors, Dr. Michelle Seref and Professor Nadia Rogers, to our own leadership board, there are many women available to you to learn from! Make sure to take advantage of your opportunities at CWIB workshops or coffee chats with business professionals, and use your time at those events wisely to learn as much as you can! These opportunities are rare! One of the most empowering events we host is Power Panel, where successful women come speak to us about their career journeys and host a Q&A session open to students from all majors! These events are direct opportunities to prepare yourself for your career, and taking advantage of them will give you the chance to learn how to be a confident and empowered woman, no matter what career you are entering!

Ultimately, gaining the confidence to empower women and speak up about stereotypes requires time and experience! As you go through your time in college, you will have many opportunities to learn from other women, ask questions, and prepare yourself for your career. Confidence is the first step to making a change, and speaking up in every situation requires it. Taking the time now to prepare yourself and learn from others will provide you with the courage and drive you will need in the future!


By: Lina Al Taii 



Working Effectively as a Team

In college, you’re definitely going to belong to at least one team, whether that be for a class, sports team, or internship. Learning how to effectively work with others during your college career is important because there are few careers post-graduation that don’t involve working on teams! I’m sure we’ve all had experiences working on a team that weren’t so effective, whether that be because of lukewarm commitment from certain members, clashing personalities, or conflicting ideas. Here are some aspects of effective teamwork to keep in mind when you’re in those situations so you can get work done efficiently!

What teams are you involved in? Do you believe they work effectively? Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business 

Define a clear mission and approach

Clarifying what your team is trying to achieve and how it aims to do so is an essential task to complete early on in the project. Members must share a commitment to the goals and understand the expectations for the amount of work and time they need to commit to the project or organization. If you find your team is lacking structure, try setting clear roles for members. This way,   what is expected of them. Remember, everyone comes to a team barring different strengths and skills that they can offer. Clarifying the team’s overall mission is important, so that team members know how their individual efforts are playing into the final product or outcome.

Everyone comes to a team with different strengths and skills that your team can utilize! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

Foster an open environment where dissent is welcome

The great thing about a team is that it brings together people with diverse backgrounds and skillsets. When you have different perspectives and opinions on your team, the chance of producing innovative ideas increases. According to an article about effective teamwork from The Balance Careers, “the team creates an environment in which people are comfortable taking reasonable risks in communicating, advocating positions, and taking action.” If members of your team are not comfortable disagreeing or proposing new ideas, your team might be experiencing a groupthink situation. According to Psychology Today, groupthink occurs when a well-intentioned group makes irrational or non-optimal decisions out of the urge to conform or fear of dissent. You want to watch out for groupthink when working on your teams because respectful disagreement and discussion will ultimately improve the outcome of your teamwork. An effective team environment is one where everyone feels comfortable sharing their opinions.

In an effective team environment, everyone feels comfortable sharing their opinions! Photo credit: Heather Sangalang

Resolve problems and conflicts

Resolving problems and conflicts is important if you want your team to be effective and efficient. While it may be tempting when friendship is involved, picking sides during team member personality conflicts does not support the resolution of the conflict. Your team should work towards a mutual resolution of problems and disagreements. According to a Forbes article, all members feel visible, valued, and involved in effective teams. Therefore, if one member doesn’t feel this way, something needs to be addressed. If a conflict or clash comes up on your team, it needs to be resolved, so that you can continue tackling your goals. Nobody will be motivated to work if there is tension in the group, right?

Working on teams will continue to be a part of our college and post-graduation careers, so let’s work on growing our teamwork skills now! If you feel like your team is lacking in some of these areas, communicate that with them. Other members of your team might be feeling the same way and will appreciate you stepping up. CWIB believes in your power to lead effective teams and empower your peers to achieve your goals!


By: Allison DeSantis 


“One Girl” Can Impact the World

As women who live in a country where pursuing higher education and developing a career becomes more common as time progresses, we often take for granted these monumental blessings. Less than 100 years ago, women were rarely seen in the United States’ workforce, while today women are still fighting for this right in other countries. Just realizing this makes me take a step back and consider how all the opportunities I’ve had are some dreams another woman can’t even imagine achieving.

Philanthropy at CWIB is dedicated to this issue in particular. “One Girl is an organization that focuses on bettering the education for females in countries throughout Africa,” states Philanthropy Chair, Abby Riggs. Some of their efforts include partnering with various programs to award scholarships to students, as well as teaching them how to run their own businesses through an initiative called Business Brains. Sitting in cushioned seats in air-conditioned lecture halls is another aspect of our education system that these women are not privy to. Therefore, One Girl additionally strives to improve the physical environments where these women learn.

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So what role does CWIB actually play in the implementation of this philanthropy? Abby tells us that we have had percentage nights at different restaurants in the hopes of raising money for One Girl, however, she admits that this has not led to the profits she had hoped. A goal of her’s is to change that for this semester — “We are planning a GoFundMe competition

that members and their friends and families can take part in. We expect this simple yet effective fundraising method to raise impactful amounts for One Girl.” This easy and time-efficient idea is perfect for busy college students who want to make an immediate change in another woman’s life. Abby encourages all members to look out for more information at monthly meetings and in newsletters regarding this opportunity!


Helping those who are less fortunate than you is truly a rewarding and empowering experience. Philanthropy has always been a passion of Abby’s. “One of my favorite projects I’ve been able to take part in was serving in Ghana for three weeks. I got to personally see the issues in education there so I have a personal connection to our philanthropy.” Her passions have been put into great use as Philanthropy Chair, and she is so thankful to be surrounded by an incredible leadership team who supports her efforts. Whether it is participating in a service trip or anonymously paying for someone’s coffee in line in front of you, Abby tries to implement philanthropic acts every day. She grew up watching her mom display secret acts of kindness and knew she wanted to live this way too. “Philanthropy is giving of yourself with no expected return,” she says. No matter the size of the act, it will positively impact another’s life.

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Abby volunteering with a group of students in Ghana. “I got to personally see the issues in education there so I have a personal connection to our philanthropy,” said Riggs. Photo via Abby Riggs.

One Girl is the perfect philanthropy for CWIB because we cannot stress empowering women to live up to their potential enough. However, more often than not, we are too focused on figuring out what empowers ourselves that we forgo the opportunity to help someone else in the process. “It is so easy to get caught up in the surface level side of college– grades, Greek life, resume building, etc. This causes us to often forget the reason many of us chose to come to Virginia Tech– the motto “Ut Prosim”, that I may serve,” Abby says. By looking outside of ourselves and our own interests, we open ourselves up to a bigger world through interacting and serving others. Abby summarizes this concept perfectly in a comment that really resonated with me — “In ten years, what will you remember more? The grade you got on your economics exam or the impact you made on these female students who might have never had the chance to learn about economics without your help?”

Abby and student
Abby and a young girl she met during her three weeks serving in Ghana. Photo via Abby Riggs.

As empowering as philanthropy can be, it is also extremely humbling. Like myself and many of us, Abby admits that she forgets how blessed we are to live in a country where we can attend college and pursue our goals. This is why she has made it her mission to advocate for One Girl because it “takes [her] out of Blacksburg and brings [her] back to the small, windowless classroom that [she] taught in. It reminds [her] of the eager, wide-eyed students sitting in front of [her], so hungry to learn.” This is what being a Hokie, and being a part of CWIB, is all about — using our talents and abilities to serve others and make a difference in our community and beyond.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s all spread the word about One Girl and empower each other to get more involved in CWIB’s philanthropy events! Just remember: One act, One donation, One Girl can all impact the world for the better.

To learn more about One Girl and their initiatives, visit their webpage linked here!


By: Emma Harwood 


Deloitte: Mentor Spotlight

Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) would not be the organization it is today without the amazing support we get from companies year in and year out! In today’s article, we will be highlighting Deloitte. Not only does Deloitte support CWIB, but they are also the number one recruiter of students at Virginia Tech. Let’s dive in and get an inside look at what Deloitte is all about!

Two of CWIB’s founders, Shannon Cabrey and Catie Kidwell, have been working at Deloitte since graduating in 2016. Photo credit: Shannon Cabrey

To get started, CWIB reached out to Marilyn Aliaga and asked her about the company culture of Deloitte and the different programs offered to personnel.

  1. What is your role, and how did you find yourself at Deloitte Global?

“I am currently a Senior Business Program Specialist at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“Deloitte Global”) and support the Deloitte Global Talent Acquisition team, specializing in Strategy and Operations. Prior to joining Deloitte Global, I worked at Deloitte Consulting LLP, where I supported the Human Capital Consulting practice and spent a couple of years in the Deloitte & Touche LLP Technology Risk Advisory practice as well. I actually interned with Deloitte & Touche during the summer following my junior year at VT and have been with one Deloitte entity or another ever since!”

  1. Deloitte’s stated purpose is “to make an impact that matters.” How has a company culture been fostered where people feel like they matter?

“Personally, during my second year with Deloitte & Touche LLP, my colleague and I had an idea for an event that involved asking some our lead female partners to share their backgrounds/stories with younger female practitioners to elaborate on how they got to where they are in their careers. We had the opportunity to pitch the idea to one of our female partner sponsors and soon enough we made the “Letters to My Younger Self” Washington, D.C. event a reality – we had ~75 of our Greater Washington Area practitioners join and hear four female partners read personal letters that they wrote to themselves, where they detailed their setbacks, achievements, and overall advice. It is an awesome feeling to be at an organization where I was able to experience first-hand the investment and support from our leaders, to offer practitioners at every level.”

  1. Can you touch on Deloitte’s Leadership Development programs and how you have grown as a leader during your time with Deloitte?

“During my first year at Deloitte & Touche LLP, I looked up to my older team members for guidance and help, but very quickly learned that I was expected to teach and guide interns and younger staff as I progressed in my career. My team leaders have continuously provided me with opportunities to push myself out of my comfort zone through leading client meetings and managing workstreams, but they’ve always been there to support me whenever I’ve needed the help or honest feedback.”

CWIB member, Sara Khorramshahgol, interned at Deloitte this past summer!  Photo credit: Sara Khorramshahgol

Next, we asked Kristy Laughlin to speak on her role at Deloitte & Touche LLP and how the company practices corporate social responsibility.

  1. What is your role within the company and how did you find yourself at Deloitte?

“I am a Senior Manager in Deloitte & Touche LLP’s Risk and Financial Advisory practice out of the Arlington, Virginia office. I found myself at Deloitte as a student at Virginia Tech, much like how many of you may find your first job!  I was an Executive Officer of Pamplin’s “Information Systems Society” at the time, and we invited employers to speak to our student members once a month in Pamplin to explain the various career paths available.  Deloitte came to present to us one month and I was instantly drawn to the culture and people within the organization, as well as the leadership opportunities available. I was selected to attend the Deloitte National Leadership Conference that summer and learned more about Deloitte and what types of services Deloitte provides to clients.  The following summer, I participated in the internship program and then started full time after graduating from Virginia Tech.”

  1. The Chief Inclusion Officer speaks of “tone at the top” and how important setting an example from higher leadership is when fostering an inclusive work environment. Have you felt or seen the effects of this trickle-down method?

“As a Senior Manager, I have witnessed Deloitte leadership emphasizing how critical it is for us to foster team environments where everyone on the team feels that they can connect, belong, and grow. I’ve seen the effects of this when I am in meetings with Deloitte leaders, and they make sure to call on everyone at the table to share their thoughts during meetings, regardless of their career level or background, and treat them with the same degree of respect.”

  1. Corporate Citizenship is important to your company – what opportunities have you been presented with to give back?

“This started for me on day one at Deloitte, when I was at the Deloitte National Leadership Conference as a sophomore at Virginia Tech.  During the conference, we dedicated an afternoon to working at a local food bank where 500 Deloitte leadership participants like myself volunteered in packing food kits for families in need.  As an intern and throughout my career as a full-time employee, I have participated in Deloitte’s annual “Impact Day” where all Deloitte people spend a full day away from the office and out in the community helping others.

Deloitte has also supported me giving back as a Board Member at Virginia Tech, serving as the Vice Chair of the Pamplin Recent Alumni Board (RAB) and as a member of the Accounting and Information Systems (ACIS) Emerging Leaders Board (ELB).”

Virginia Tech students are incredibly lucky to have a successful and passionate alumni network that is willing to share their stories with us. We would like to thank Deloitte for its continued support of CWIB and our mission of empowering, preparing, and connecting our members. A special thank you to Marilyn and Kristy for taking the time to share their experiences with us!

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CWIB’s Chief Technology Officer, Kinsey Donovan, also interned with Deloitte this summer. Here is a picture of her at Impact Day. Photo credit: Kinsey Donovan

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see http://www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.

Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.


By: Cara Yates 


Do’s and Don’ts when Contacting Employers

The way we represent ourselves in online correspondences can say a lot about the people and employees we are or may be in the future. It’s often easier to convey certain messages by communicating in person, but mastering how to communicate electronically is critical in the professional world. Whether you are contacting a potential or current employer, DO follow these three main guidelines:


  • Use a formal tone
  • Format with an introduction, body, and conclusion
  • Represent yourself well


Using a formal tone is crucial in showcasing your professionalism. Contact with an employer is of a business nature and should be treated as so. It is always best to err on the side of formality than to set a poor first impression by being too casual. To begin, your subject line should convey the main idea of your message. Two to six words are recommended, as one-word explanations are not descriptive. You want to grab the recipient’s attention to ensure they will read your message. Next, use a formal greeting, such as “Dear,” using the employers last name and proper prefix, such as “Dr. Brown” or “Mrs. Smith.” After your initial email, follow the lead of the employer in their response. If they addressed you with “Hi _____” and signed their message with “Kevin,” then your next greeting should be “Hi Kevin.”

One significant factor to consider when it comes to tone is the syntax you use. According to Career Cast, nearly 50 percent of all emails imply an unintended tone. Communication online can be easily misunderstood, so diction is incredibly important to focus on. To avoid misinterpretation, use words and phrases that are easily understood. For example, instead of  writing “Be ready for Thursday,” you can use “Please bring the sales report to Thursday’s meeting.” Specificity is key! You do not want to leave anything up for interpretation. Also, do not use language that is only common to your way of speaking such as college slang. Finally, avoid long and complex wording, as this gives the reader a higher chance of misunderstanding.

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Examples of different greetings to use. Graphic provided by The Balance Careers

With the help of a beginning, middle, and end format, your emails will have the structure needed to inform and connect with your recipient. Your introduction should include a quick greeting, showing you are personable. “I hope your job search is going well!” is an example of a great preface for a friendly conversation. Although it seems excessive, it really does make a difference in their view of you. “It was great meeting you at Business Horizons” is also an example of a charismatic statement, which simultaneously reminds the reader of who you are. Another introduction often used is a statement about why you are reaching out, such as “I am contacting you about your job application.” Regardless, your introduction sets the premise for the entire string of communication. You want to show you are both affable and proactive in your professional career!

The body of your correspondence contains the most important content. Here, you want to give your reader the information they will need to complete the task you are asking of them, an explanation of what you are informing them of, or any other data needed to accomplish the goal of your message. It is important to avoid rambling, while also ensuring all of the content needed for the email is present.  You do not want the reader to wonder what the purpose of your email is, but you do not want them to stop reading halfway through your message simply because it’s too long. Include only what is necessary!

To conclude, provide action steps, a salutation, and your full name. Actions steps can include a date and time to meet, a statement of your excitement to hear back from your reader, a proposition, or anything else to advance towards the goal of your correspondence. Examples of a salutation are “Best regards,” “Thank you,” “Sincerely,” or any other polite closing. Follow the salutation with your full name, avoiding any nicknames. You also want to include an electronic signature with your contact information. Remember, your conclusion is the last opportunity to show the recipient of your efforts!

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Seven pointers to remember. Graphic provided by Cupcakes and Cashmere.

Representing yourself well may seem like a simple task, but individual details can make a big difference. Re-read your email multiple times before sending it off. You can even have a friend or colleague edit it for safety measures. Also, make sure to fact check all of your information to make sure everything is accurate. Are names spelled right? Are dates correct? A great tool to use for proofreading is Grammarly! It is an online grammar checking, spell checking, and plagiarism detection platform. You can download the software onto your computer in just a few minutes! A misspelling, grammatical error, or improper punctuation can be the reason another candidate was hired or promoted over you. Show the workplace what you are capable of! Electronic communication is also an opportunity to give the recipient a glimpse into your writing skills. Employers are impressed with those who are effective in their writing, while also being concise and to-the-point. Whether you are writing an email to an employer, colleague, or a client, knowing how to compose messages is a crucial business skill. It’s a component of your professionalism.

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An important overview of email guidelines. Graphic provided by The Balance Careers.

Regardless of the reasoning behind sending an email to an employer, use it as an opportunity to convey your determination in relation to your career. Use these guidelines to protect yourself from making simple mistakes when it comes to electronic communication. CWIB believes in all of you to communicate effectively and professionally with your employers, potential or current, and leave a lasting impression on them!


By: Allison Wood 





Who Runs the Workplace? CWIB Girls!

Most college students enroll in higher education with a similar goal: to end up in a career that they enjoy. You put in the work, made sacrifices, and probably had a few sleepless nights during your time in college so that this goal could become a reality. However, recent graduates often do not understand some of the hardships that come with starting a business career. One of the main issues being confidence, and making your mark in a company where some of your colleagues may have up to 30 years of experience on you.

Although unfortunate, confidence in the workplace is often harder for women to attain than men. An interesting statistic I saw in an article from Forbes was that A Hewlett Packard internal report discovered that men usually apply for a job or promotion when they meet only 60% of the qualifications compared to women who only apply if they meet 100% of the qualifications. Society has progressed in that there are a lot more opportunities for women to feel empowered, however, we still struggle every day to make a name for ourselves in a business context. An article on Chron provided insight into this. They noted that “In order to help businesses incorporate gender equality into the workplace, the United Nations organization, UN Women, has established “Women’s Empowerment Principles,” which recommends that businesses establish gender equality goals that should be incorporated into manager performance evaluations.” Our blog’s female CEO article series highlights women who have mastered the art of confidence in order to dominate industries that are historically male-dominated. These women seemed to make it look easy, but that is certainly not the case. Therefore, I  have a few ideas to help you achieve the confidence you all so rightly deserve.

  1. Find a female mentor in your workplace. This is a great first step when it comes to building confidence. It may seem intimidating to speak with a woman at your job who holds a higher position, but odds are she has felt the same exact things you might feel when you begin your career. Your mentor, whether official or not official, can give you some great insight as to what steps they took to earn the position that they have now. It also just helps to have a friend you can confide in during your 40-hour workweek. Having a champion in your corner who believes in you make it easier for you to believe in yourself. During one of my internships, I became close with a female colleague who was an alumnus at Virginia Tech. She encouraged me to help with various projects in the office, and thanks to this push, I gained the confidence to write an article that was eventually published on the company website. She helped me to discover my love for writing, and I wouldn’t be a part of The CWIB Chronicles without her!

    Build up
    Finding a female mentor gives you the opportunity to bounce ideas, seek advice, or just have someone to talk to throughout the day. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business
  2. Volunteer to take on challenging projects. A reason that women may lack confidence is that we have heard throughout history that men are superior to us. We were conditioned to believe that men are bigger, stronger, and smarter. If one good thing came from that, it is that we know we have to work twice as hard to get what we want. If you take on a challenging project and it turns out successful, which will most likely be the case, your colleagues will take notice. Having other people, men or women, give you recognition for a great job is another way to feel empowered at work.

    If you are looking to hear more about how to be confident in the workplace, come out to our annual Power Panel on March 25th. The women on the panel can provide insight into how they empower themselves in their workplaces. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business
  3. Implement strategies to be more self-aware. We all have unique strengths and recognizing what they are ensures that we are able to implement them into our everyday lives. You should also recognize your weaknesses so that you can work to improve on them. Here at  The  CWIB Chronicles, us staff writers complete peer evaluations so that we can figure out what works well and what can be improved on in each of our articles. This empowers all of us to exploit what we are good at and offer suggestions to make adjustments, fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect and overall making this a great committee to be a part of.

    Asking your peers for feedback is a great way to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. This makes it easier to implement what you are good at in your everyday life and also to make improvements. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business
  4. Have a positive attitude, especially when it is hard to do so. It is inevitable to have missteps when you are at work. Maybe you received a negative comment from a coworker, or a decision you made doesn’t pan out like you thought it would. Beating yourself up over mistakes can be detrimental to your confidence. Instead, recognize what you could’ve done better, and make sure you don’t make those mistakes again. Most importantly, exude confidence even when you do not feel confident so you can lift yourself back up!
    Keeping a positive attitude even when you make mistakes is a great way to project confidence to the rest of the world. It is okay to recognize your mistakes and make adjustments, but do not let one small misstep impact the rest of your day! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business


  5. Be happy with your successes. Having a career can be mentally taxing and it can be hard to see all of the good that you are doing in your job. Keeping track of all of your “wins” throughout the day is a great way to show yourself that you are doing a good job and there is a lot for you to be confident about. Keep a folder in your email account with emails that relate to your successes, maintain a journal that lists out all of your achievements, and/or treat yourself to something you love after you accomplish something you’ve been working hard for!  Everyone deserves to celebrate themselves every once in a while. This can be as simple as going out to dinner with friends or even sharing one of your accomplishments on social media.

    Take the time to give yourself a “thumbs up” and recognize everything you have accomplished. Amid the stress of a full-time career, it can be hard to see how all of your hard work is paying off. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business


Starting a new job fresh out of college is a very scary thing to do. We hope that implementing these ideas at work will make it a little less scary. By being in CWIB, you all are clearly no stranger to taking steps that will ensure a successful future in business. You’ve made it this far and have done a great job doing it, so allow yourself to see how successful you have been and will continue to be in the future!



Do’s and Don’ts of a Virtual Interview

As technology evolves and becomes more functional, more and more companies are beginning to use it as a way to interview prospective employees and to save money. A couple of significant advantages of going virtual is that they can save on both the travel costs and time spent sending employees to college campuses and other recruitment locations. If you have a virtual interview in the near future, here are a few do’s and don’ts to think about for a successful experience!

Caption: Keep in mind that your interview is not going into a black hole once it leaves your computer screen. If you move on to the next step of the hiring process, you will likely meet with the same people who watched your interview. Try to put your best self forward and display your personality in your video! Photo credit: Your Career Intel

1.DO Be Extra Prepared

Unlike an in-person interview, virtual interviews require you to prepare not only yourself but your technology and your environment. If you have roommates, it’s important to make sure they are aware of where and when you will be during this interview so they do not interrupt you. Further, it’s important to consider the network you will be doing the interview on. For phone interviews, a landline is the most reliable method. For virtual or Skype interviews, having a strong internet connection can be the most important. For instance, you may think going to the library and reserving a private room may be a good idea, but when there are a lot of people in the same location, the network connection may be slow or pause. In addition, it’s important to prepare your space. A clumsy background can be distracting to the viewer, but a clean stark white may also seem too formal. Try to find a balance of neutral and clean to complement your interview.

Caption: Virtual interviews come in many different forms! If an employer tells you there is a virtual interview, it’s important to clarify the form of the interview and the specific details! Photo credit: INC

2.DON’T Write Out Answers

It can be helpful to have your resume on hand during an interview, or a few notes on a flashcard. However, there is a difference between referencing notes and writing out word-for-word answers to common interview questions. Of course, it is still a good preparation technique to practice answering common interview questions, but reading them off a paper during your interview is not a good idea. Not only will you look unprepared and unconfident, but reading off a script will also blatantly affect how the interviewer perceives you and your professionalism. For a successful interview, be confident, trust yourself, and speak naturally.

3.Do Dress (Half) The Part

Although you won’t be meeting anyone in person, dressing professionally and making sure you appear polished and neat is important. In fact, it’s even more important to dress the part for a virtual interview because, without your physical presence, the interviewer can only get a sense of who you are and if you are a good candidate through two ways. The first is what you say, and the second is what they see. If they see that you look professional, it shows you care about this opportunity. One tip is to make sure that you test your location and webcam in advance. The lighting in the room and the view from your webcam all affect how you look. Plus, if you test and know that only your upper body will show, you can stay in your sweatpants and just dress your top half!

Caption: To avoid being caught off guard during the interview, or having to improvise when your technology or plan doesn’t work, make sure you prepare ahead of time! Photo credit: EZ Talks

4. DON’T Be Shy

You may be confused about how the virtual interview process works for your specific situation or you may simply be unsure about how to ask questions. Some companies, such as EY, use virtual interviews through pre-recorded videos on a platform which allows you to practice before you submit your final attempt. Others expect to call you on Skype or over the phone and interview you in real time. Prior to your interview, you should confirm the details and the procedure for the virtual interview in order to avoid any complications. During your interview, it’s important to speak up and ask questions about what the next step will be and when you should hear back. Being proactive will help you in the long run!  

5. DO Practice Before 

You may have experience with interviews and feel like you don’t need to practice for this one. However, it is important to practice every time, especially for virtual interviews. You may feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a webcam or on a Skype call, or you may not know how to speak on the phone without being able to see the person you are talking to. By practicing beforehand, you can see how you look and find areas to improve on when you are speaking. Another important step is to have someone else watch your recorded practice interview. This is useful because they may notice something about you from their perspective which can help you improve. A key tip for webcam or Skype interviews is to practice looking at the webcam and away from your image on the screen. Although it may be hard to not focus on how you look, it’s essential to show that you are paying attention to the interviewer and not something else.


A virtual interview can be daunting at first, but learning how to prepare for it can make a career-changing difference! These interviews will become more and more common as technological innovations increase, and knowing how to approach them will only help. CWIB hosts many interview preparation workshops with companies which can be very helpful for learning about a specific company’s process. Make sure to take advantage of these workshops to keep learning about interview skills!


By: Lina al Taii


Asking Questions in an Interview

While an interview is a chance for a company to get to know you and your skills, it is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the company and the role you’re interviewing for. After all, you want to work at a company that is a good fit for your personality, career goals, and work style, right?  In addition to finding out if this company is the right place for you, asking questions shows that you came prepared and are actually interested in working there. This article from The Muse cites recruiter Angela Smith explaining, “If an applicant doesn’t have any questions for me, that’s a red flag. I’m thinking that they either don’t care or can’t be bothered to do research about my company.” Therefore, make sure to do your pre-interview research!

During the interview, more questions will likely pop into your head, but it’s a good idea to have a few prepared. That being said, make sure you’re not too focused on forming questions during an interview that you stop paying attention to what the interviewer is saying; they might answer some of your questions along the way! Also, you don’t want to stump your interviewer with difficult or confusing questions. Keep your questions specific, but open-ended (avoid yes or no questions). This will give the interviewer a chance to dive deeper with their answers!

An interview is a chance for you and the interviewer to learn more about each other! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

I’ve broken down the types of questions to ask in an interview into four sections: about the company, role-specific, interviewer’s personal experiences, and next steps. These are by no means the only questions you can ask during an interview; they are just a few ideas to get you started!

About the Company

Team culture, work-life balance, and diversity of a company are all important aspects to consider when deciding which company to work for. You are going to be spending a good chunk of your week there, so you need to ensure that you’re going to like where you are! While there are a plethora of questions you can ask about the company, here are a few ideas.

  • How would you describe the culture of (insert company name)?
  • What values are most important to the company?
  • What are the company’s long-term goals and plans to achieve those goals? (Tailor this one based on the company: Are they developing new products, expanding into new markets, growing specific teams/departments within their company, etc.)
  • What are the company’s current goals and how does the team support those goals?
  • Would you describe the work environment as more collaborative or independent?
  • Does the company have any diversity and inclusion initiatives or networks?
  • Do employees participate in any team events outside of work?
Company culture is an important factor to consider when interviewing! CWIB visited Custom Ink on the D.C. Trek, a company that’s known to have a great culture. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business


It may seem obvious to many of you, but you want to ask questions about the specific role you applied for in an interview. Many interviewers give a rundown of the role at the beginning of an interview so some of your questions might get answered. Here are a few questions to ask if you find yourself wanting more information about the work you’ll be doing

  • What kinds of projects would I be working on?
  • What projects have interns/associates worked on in the past?
  • What would the training process be like?
  • What are the main technologies/software/platforms I would be working with?
  • What skills do I need to excel in this role?
  • What would a typical day in this role look like?


Interviewer’s Experience

The interviewer’s own experiences can be a great wealth of information to tap into during an interview. They are a professional in an industry you aspire to work in, so they have some nuggets of wisdom to share. Asking your interviewer questions about their experiences will also build rapport and show that you value their perspective. Here are a few questions you could ask your interviewer about their career.

  • How long have you been with (insert company name)?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face as an (insert specific role) in the (insert industry)?
  • Has your role changed since you’ve been with the company?
  • What is your favorite part about working at the company?
  • What advice would you give to someone aspiring to work in this industry/role?
Don’t be afraid to pick your interviewer’s brain! Learning about their career journey and experience with the company can give you a lot of insight. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

Next Steps

If the interviewer doesn’t explicitly explain, you might want to ask about the next steps in the interview process. Asking questions like these will show that you’re still interested in the internship or job after the conversation you just had.

  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • Will there be another round of interviews?
  • What is the timeline for the selection process?
  • Do you have any concerns about my background being a good fit for the role? (This might be a scary one to ask, but it gives you the chance to put the interviewer’s concerns at ease and gives you valuable feedback for the future.)


Hopefully, these interview questions were helpful in offering some ideas on how to get the most out of your interviews. Some questions cannot be answered on the internet, so don’t be shy to ask the genuine questions you want to be answered about the company! Good luck interviewing this spring!


By: Allison DeSantis


Taking Control of your Life: Advice from Female Entrepreneur Rachel Hollis

College is the time to prioritize what we want. With all the available opportunities, it can be strenuous to maintain good grades, apply for jobs, and balance a social life, all while the opinions of others are stuck in the back of our minds. We continue to question the decisions we make. “Should I change my major too?” “Do I need to have an internship lined up just like she does?” “Is it a bad thing I don’t go out every weekend like them?” The problem with these thoughts is that they do not focus on YOU! Too often we let the comparisons of others interfere with what we really want. Female entrepreneur, Rachel Hollis, has a few things to say about this. As founder of The Hollis Company, as well as the lifestyle blog The Chic Site, Hollis’ priority is to empower women to take control of their own lives and live authentically as themselves.

Rachel Hollis is the founder of the lifestyle blog “The Chic Site,” as well as the business The Hollis Co. She is a best-selling author, wife, and mother of four. Photo via The Magic Brush Inc.

Rachel Hollis created The Hollis Company as a motivational force to propel women into living better lives while focusing on positive personal growth. She states that the motto of the business is “Giving women the tools to change their lives” (“The Hollis Company”). They offer life and business coaching online, in addition, to live events based on her podcast “RISE,” focused on motivating audiences to achieve their goals. From relationships to business ventures, Hollis encourages women to live up to their potential and stop putting off what they have wanted to accomplish.

Rise conference
Rachel hyping up the crowd at her conference “Made for More.” Photo via shedoesthecity.com

Before running the Hollis Co., Rachel began writing her lifestyle blog The Chic Site to connect with other women in a relatable way. Whether it was sharing a new fashion trend or discussing her personal growth journey, Hollis successfully created a community of empowered women who felt they could  “Live unapologetically as [them]self” (Hollis). By “taking ownership of your hopes and dreams and values” you are prioritizing what is important to you, and not what other people think of you (The Hollis Co).

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Here’s a piece of the Home Page for “The Chic Site.” From sharing dinner recipes to fashion favorites, Hollis is proud to say her blog is “helpful in the lives of our readers” (“The Hollis Company”).

It can be hard to take a step back and focus on yourself when we constantly see what others are doing, especially through social media. After exploring Rachel’s uplifting content, I have compiled 5 pieces of her best advice for staying confident while prioritizing your goals:

1.Be your own Cheerleader

Hollis reminds women that “Nobody cares about your dreams the way that you do” (The Hollis Co). We must be proud of who we are and what we have accomplished, no matter how small.

2. Lift Up Other Women

It’s important to remember that “We should not be threatened by each other” (The Chic Site). Our time for success is right around the corner! Don’t be jealous; it’s not a becoming trait.

3. Don’t Apologize for Anything

We make choices for a reason, so we shouldn’t feel bad if those choices are not the same as what another woman would do. If we are proud of our decisions, no matter what they are, then there is no need to be sorry for them.

4. Stick to a Schedule that Works for You

Figure out when you are productive and accomplish the most pertinent tasks at this time. It may mean working alone if others are on a different routine, but when it comes to your success, you must prioritize your schedule above anyone else’s.

5. Never Stop Learning

In order to figure out what you truly want out of your life, you can’t be satisfied with mediocrity. There are always opportunities to gain more information and better yourself in your field of interest.


Following Rachel’s advice has undoubtedly helped me on the path to achieving my goals. It is definitely hard not to compare ourselves to others in the competitive atmosphere of college we find ourselves in, but prioritizing our personal values will surely lead the right people to fall into our circle. There is nothing more motivating to others than meeting someone who is confident in their own abilities!  

If you found any of this information encouraging, be sure to check out some of Rachel’s best-selling books dedicated to self-care, improvement, and motivation.




If you want to check out Rachel’s blog, click here! Also, follow this link if you want to check out her company’s website.

By: Emma Harwood


How to Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

       Introducing yourself to company representatives for the first time can be scary, especially if you’ve never been to an event like Business Horizons before. A key thing that you should bring with you to professional events like these is an elevator pitch. If you take the time to prepare and practice one, you will feel much more confident in making those first introductions!

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What is it?

        If you haven’t heard of an elevator pitch before, it is basically a sales pitch for yourself that would last about the same amount of time as going up an elevator. It is a great way for a company representative or recruiter to gain insight into your experience and determine why they should hire you. Using an elevator pitch is an important tool to have at the career fair because it allows you to showcase your strengths and abilities. Remember that it won’t make or break your conversation with the representative, but it can help things run more smoothly.

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How to prepare for it

The first step you should take to create an elevator pitch is to make a list of your experiences that you would want to tell a company employee or recruiter about. Try to narrow it down to a few of your favorite ones that are relevant to the work that the company you are interested in does. The goal is to share the experiences that would show that you are qualified to work for them.

Don’t forget to tie in your interests. Doing so will prove to the recruiter that you would be passionate in that role you are after. For example, if you’re talking to a technology company, you can talk about your appreciation for project management, familiarity with certain coding languages, or support for future innovative technology tools that are being implemented in that industry. Plus, when you talk about things that bring excitement to you, you will give off great energy, which is what you want to have during this first impression!

Next, make sure to do your research. If there are specific companies you want to talk to at Business Horizons, it’s a good idea to do some research about them so you can include aspects about you that best align with their mission. Recruiters will be impressed that you took the time to learn more about them because it showcases your interest in them. Also, it leads to better flow in conversation. It’ll be easier for you to ask meaningful questions and give exceptional answers.

Once you have finished compiling and organizing the important details of your pitch, start piecing it all together. Tell them your name, year and major at the beginning. Then, transition to the meat of the pitch. Whether you decide to talk about your experiences or interests first does not really matter as long as you touch on both and connect them appropriately. Lastly, end with expressing your interest in the positions that are open at that company.

Remember to keep it clear and concise. Since it’s supposed to be an introduction, there’s no need to go into details or explanations unless a recruiter wants to expand on something you’ve said. According to Deloitte’s Elevator Speech 101 Article, “the clearer and more articulate you are in delivering who you are and why you want a certain position, may result in your name being placed at the top of the call back list for a second or third interview.

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Once you have everything you want in your elevator pitch, practice in front of a mirror or a friend. Practicing will help you be more confident when the time comes to deliver! The way you deliver your pitch is just as important as the content discussed previously.

First, make sure you talk at a steady speed. Quickly reciting your pitch may make it hard to hear or understand certain things you say. Taking a deep breath before starting will calm your nerves and prepare you to deliver a great pitch. Second, make eye contact with the person you are speaking with because it allows he/she to stay focused on you. Plus, it is just professional. Lastly, avoid fidgeting with your hands or hair. Besides from being distracting, it also shows the recruiter that you are nervous. Practicing your pitch several times will allow you to build the confidence needed to say that pitch at the career fair!

Engage the recruiters with your elevator pitch tomorrow! Photo source: VT Career and Professional Development

There you have it! An elevator pitch shouldn’t be something to stress about as long as you take the time to think about and practice what you want to portray to the representative or recruiter. It’s important to keep in mind that this is most likely going to be the given company’s first impression of you. Present yourself professionally, recite your pitch with confidence and energy, and emphasize that you are a perfect candidate for the job. You have a short time frame, so fill it wisely!


Good luck tomorrow at Business Horizon, everyone!


By: Abby Perkins




How to Be Successful at Business Horizons

Business Horizons can seem intimidating at first, as hundreds of companies are in attendance, but it is nothing to stress about. These companies are coming to Virginia Tech because they want to hire Hokies like you! With a few tips and tricks from this article, you should be ready to fully conquer Business Horizons on February 6th!

Perfect Your Resume:

One of the most crucial components of a successful job, internship, or externship search is a resume that will catch someone’s eye. According to Forbes, a recruiter spends an average of 6.25 seconds looking at a candidate’s resume before deciding whether he or she is fit for the job. Your resume should contain a proper heading, your education information, job experience, activities or clubs, and accomplishments. It is essential that there are no irrelevant details, as the longer it takes for a recruiter to read it, the smaller your chances become of landing an interview. When attending Business Horizons, you should bring about 20 copies of your resume, give or take a few depending on how many companies you plan to approach. In order to look professional to the recruiters, it is also best to place them in a padfolio or neutral-colored folder. Companies want to hire organized, prepared employees!  

For an in-depth guide on what each of the resume categories entails, watch this Virtual Resume Workshop video provided by Pamplin Career Services. In addition, the Virginia Tech Career and Professional Development office offers free resume reviews. Learn more about it here.

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As you can see, hundreds of people attend Business Horizons, which is why it is important to stand out! Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Daily.


Make a Good First Impression:

Your first impression to a recruiter can be a make or break opportunity. You will be thankful you took the time to make yourself look presentable before heading to Business Horizons! First, your attire should be business professional. This means you may wear dress pants or a skirt and pair that with a dress shirt or blouse, and a blazer. You can also opt to wear a dress as well. No matter what outfit you choose, complete it with closed-toed heels or flats. Remember, everything must be modest! Heels should be 2.5 inches or less. Dresses and skirts should come to around the knee, and nothing should be too tight. Also, it is preferable to keep patterns and colors to a minimum. It is also best to keep hair, makeup, and jewelry simple. You do not want to distract the recruiter in a negative way. Finally, make sure you greet the employer with a smile, eye contact, a personable “Hello, my name is ____,” and a firm handshake. Acting and looking professional can go a long way! It will help give you the confidence you need to make a great first impression on employers.

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Members of the New York City trek pose in perfect examples of business professional attire. Photo by of Gigi Jones


Prepare For the Big Day:

In order to prepare for Business Horizons, view the different companies registered to attend right here! What companies do you want to prioritize? Where is their booth? How many companies do you want to see? These are all important questions to ask yourself to ensure you are prepared to walk through the doors of the career fair. One of the most impressive characteristics of a potential employee or intern is that they are knowledgeable about a recruiter’s company in advance. Know your information about the companies you are targeting! This information could include the history of the company, the culture in their office, popular projects the company has undertaken, or important business deals. It is also essential to know the current situation of companies you are interested in, such as expansions to the company. Additionally, have questions ready to ask certain companies. That is a great way to show how you are prepared. Remember, you should want to learn about this company if you strive to work there!

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A Virginia Tech student chats with a GE job recruiter at a previous Business Horizons fair. Photo courtesy of the Virginia Tech Daily.


Practice Beforehand:

A great way to prep for the business fair is to start networking early by attending the company day on Tuesday, February 5th, from 10 am to 2 pm in the Pamplin Atrium. Hajoca, Select Group, nCino, Future Housing Leaders, IBM, CIA, and Accenture will all be there! Even if you are not interested in these specific companies, it is still a great opportunity to practice networking before Business Horizons. It will also benefit you to practice what you will say to the recruiters with a friend, teacher, or fellow CWIB member. This will help release nerves! Practice using the information you have researched while incorporating different components about yourself. This is also a great opportunity to practice your handshake, tone of voice, and eye contact. Rather than spending time worrying about what to say to recruiters during the careers fair, you will be relieved and confident that you practiced ahead of time!


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Any member of the CWIB leadership team pictured above would gladly help you prepare before Business Horizons! Photo courtesy of Collegiate Women in Business


Follow up:

During your time at Business Horizons, ask for business cards. It is important to have an email, address, or the phone number of the company or recruiter to ensure that you can follow up with them after meeting. As stated before, there are hundreds of people who attend the career fair. Therefore, recruiters may unintentionally forget your name or what you discussed. In order for the company or recruiter to remember who you are, you should follow up with them within 24 to 72 hours. It is best to email or send a thank you card, but if neither of those are possibilities, you can call them on the phone. Thank them for their time and consideration of your resume, reiterate your goal, remind them why you are qualified, and highlight that you would love to work for their company. These follow-ups should not be excessive in length or time. Also, make sure to be polite, rather than forceful, when you are contacting the recruiter.

Following-up reminders! Photo Courtesy of The Balance Careers


Good luck at Business Horizons, everyone! You all are well-qualified individuals and with the right preparation, you will do fantastic on Wednesday. If you need any help with resumes or need any further assistance with preparing for the career fair, feel free to reach out to a CWIB leader!


By: Allison Wood 


Maintain Your Brain

The CWIB Chronicles is a resource that helps to empower, prepare, and connect our readers so that they are as ready for the professional world as possible, upon graduation. With this responsibility, we have tailored countless articles discussing a wide range of business-related topics such as networking, interviewing, even what to put in your work bag. However, we know that college students are a lot more than just future business leaders. They are friends, service volunteers, sports fans, animal lovers, work out fanatics, adventurers, etc. We each have qualities that make us incredibly unique and it is important that we express ourselves, even when preparing for our future careers.

Although CWIB’s main goal is to prepare college students for careers in business, we also encourage members to seek out their passions. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

College is obviously an incredibly hectic time in our lives. With homework, projects, presentations, and exams at every turn, it seems almost trivial to take time out of your day to simply do something that you enjoy. Nonetheless, actually taking time for yourself can help to reduce your stress and clear your mind so that your schoolwork does not consume you. Something I usually do to clear my head do a quick workout. Not only does this help to keep me physically in shape, but working out also releases endorphins in your brain which can create a positive sensation in your body. Now, we are not saying that you should go to the movies with your friends when you have two exams the next day. We are simply saying that life is about balance, and you should make time for the things you enjoy while also keeping your commitments in check.

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CWIB plans fun events for members to destress from schoolwork like this Trivia Night with Seed and Basis last year. Stay tuned for more socials this semester! Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

One of the worst things a college student can do is not live a balanced life, the obvious reason being that your mental health could suffer. According to the American Psychological Association, 61% of college students who are seeking counseling made reports of anxiety. Depression and stress are other factors that college students cite as a trigger for counseling.  Many students fear doing anything other than work throughout their four years can deter them from getting a job. What if I told you that is not the case? Employers see resume after resume and interview several candidates at a time; it is now more important than ever for students to share what is unique about them so that they stand out. Who knows, you and a potential interviewer may have a similar passion you can discuss before easing into the actual interview. Whether you have a unique hobby, volunteer on certain days of the week, or just simply have something you are passionate about, this can only help you achieve your professional dreams.  

There are ample opportunities to seek out new experiences and find your interests with CWIB. For example, this image was taken at our fall trek in New York. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

Sustaining a balanced school life is more than just accomplishing everything that you need to throughout the day. It is also about living a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy diet can help to ensure that you have enough energy to make it through the day, without any midday crashes or two-hour naps. Going off of this, everyone knows that you are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but how many college students can honestly say that they do this? It might be time to make a change. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, pulling all-nighters can actually hurt your GPA. Dr. Kushida, associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University Medical Center, states that “There are data that sleep loss leads to learning and memory impairment, as well as decreased attention and vigilance.” If you want to feel physically better and perform better in class, a more improved sleep schedule can be one way to kick start a more balanced lifestyle.  

CWIB encourages members to place a focus on their mental health and take out personal time for themselves each day. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

The main point of this article is that we want the readers to see how important valuing your time and energy is. Yes, we enroll in college with the goal of getting a job upon graduation. Your focus should be on your schoolwork and on seeking out experiences that will help you prepare for this endeavor. However, this can always be done in a healthy way, allowing you to make time for little things that make you happy. Again, there is something different and unique about all of us. College students have passions of our own, and we should be able to share them with the world while maintaining our physical and mental health.  


By: Cara Yates


Networking on a Daily Basis

Learn why it’s important to network with peers and professors!

Photo credit: E Releases

As the new semester begins, it’s important to start strong and use new classes as an opportunity to meet people and make connections. Networking is a skill that’s important to use not only in clubs and professional organizations but as well as in your daily life. You never know when someone who may seem like just a normal acquaintance can become the source of good opportunities in your future. For example, the person you are sitting next to in your class might seem like another ordinary college student like you, but by taking a chance to talk to them and make a connection with them, you are opening yourself up to opportunities that may arise from your friendship with them!

Networking is a broad term that may refer to many different ways of connecting with people. The way most people think of it is in its formal sense, such as meeting older professionals at career fairs or networking events. While those are very important places to network, starting simple with the people surrounding you can be great practice because they are easily accessible and there is usually less pressure.

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Use this guide to networking to make lasting connections with those you meet! Photo credit: EarnMyDegree

Networking on a daily basis is much easier than it sounds. The most important thing to remember is to be friendly and talk about what you have in common with the other person(s). Common ground is always a great way to form a lasting connection with others because it allows you to get to know other people. It’s also important to not only talk to people with the sole intention of making a connection but to talk to them and get to know them with respect. This applies to both networking on a daily basis as well as networking at professional events with companies. Once you find a mutual topic that you two can talk about, it’ll be easier to digress into other topics (like future job opportunities, perhaps!)

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CWIB goes on several treks on the east coast that allow members to network with countless professionals!. Locations of treks include New York, Washington D.C., and Nashville. Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

One great networking opportunity for anyone in CWIB is to simply reach out and connect with upperclassmen in CWIB. Though it may be daunting, remember that they were in your place and can help you! “During my sophomore year, I had a coffee chat with one of the co-founders to ask for advice on how to land an internship. I didn’t just walk out of that meeting with tips on how to get an internship, but I also formed a relationship with her,” senior Heather Sangalang shared. “The following year, she reached out to me and told me about an internship opportunity with the firm she works at now, and if I did not make that connection the previous year, I may not have this job opportunity! I am where I am now because of making this connection.” This goes to show that getting to know your peers is not only great because you get to gain a new friend, but also because it’s wonderful to enter the professional work-world with connections.

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Some CWIB leaders attended a Pamplin networking event and mingled with other Pamplin faculty and alumni! Photo credit: Pamplin College of Business

Aside from getting to know your peers and forming professional connections with them, it is also a good idea to talk to your professors and get to know them. The best way to form a connection with a professor in your field is just to introduce yourself, visit during office hours, and get to know them! Many times, you may learn a lot about the field or career you want to enter by speaking with your professors. In my case, when I spoke to my Economics professor, I got the opportunity to participate in economics experiments and studies, and get paid for doing so! Networking also applies to club or organization sponsors, advisors, and other professional people you may be in contact with. If you make the effort to get to know them, you can learn a lot about how they got to where they were, and the different routes you can take in your career. This is also a valuable part of networking, and a fantastic incentive to step out of your comfort zone and talk to others.

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Monthly meetings are attended by several of members, so chat to one (or two, or three!). Photo credit: Collegiate Women in Business

Ultimately, the choice to speak up and meet people or sit back and observe quietly is your own. Remember, networking in college before entering the professional world doesn’t have to begin at job fairs or organizations. Taking the first step to start in your classes on a daily basis will prepare you for the professional world and give you the opportunity to practice with your peers. Collegiate Women in Business events are great places to practice your networking! The next monthly meeting is on February 6th, so we encourage you to approach someone you don’t already know and start up a conversation! See you all there!


By: Lina al Taii




Back to School: Spring Semester Edition

Starting a new semester can be hard, especially after a long, break. Whether you’ve been working, traveling, relaxing, or doing a combination of these activities, it’s time to get back into the mode of busy, school schedules. By returning to the right mindset and taking steps to prepare, you can go from falling into that Spring semester slump to feeling motivated and ready to take on another semester! Here are some pieces of advice I have to start the semester off right:

  1. Get comfortable with your class schedule – Make sure your class schedule is all set for the Spring semester. I’ve definitely been in the position of constantly checking add/drop during the first week of classes to see if a spot has opened up in a class, so I could take it with a different professor or at a different time! Of course, it’s not always possible to do this, but it’s worth a shot! Talking to friends who have taken the classes you’re about to take can also be very beneficial. They will have an opinion about the professor they took the class with and may offer some tips for success. In addition, going to class the first day and getting a feel for the professor’s lecture style and course policies is necessary to solidify your opinion about a class when there’s still time to add/drop. Another tip to think about is, if you want to make a good first impression in a class, go up and introduce yourself to the professor or stop by their office hours to talk about the course and your goals. This is a fantastic way to start building a good relationship with your professors when you still have some free time the first week of classes.
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    PScheduler is a schedule builder created by a VT student!
  2. Start planning – The new year is a great time to revamp your planning system. Planning or journaling is a great way to organize your schoolwork, club obligations, internship tasks, or work schedule as well as lifestyle things, like meal or workout ideas, books you want to read, friends you want to spend more time with etc. Bullet journaling is a great outlet if you’re looking for freedom and customizability. It’s like brain-dumping your life into a journal! This Medium article offers helpful tips about bullet journaling if you’re interested in learning more about how to start one for yourself! It also explains how writing by hand engages multiple senses (visual, kinesthetic, and tactical) which helps to better commit tasks and goals to memory and signals to your brain that they are important. Personally, pairing my calendar on my laptop/phone with a traditional planner has helped me a lot with the organization in college!

    Planning will help you organize your school, work, and social activities! Look out for all of our exciting CWIB events this semester! Photo credit: CWIB
  3. Be open to new opportunities – The Fall semester isn’t the only time to get more involved in campus organizations, try something you’ve always been interested in, or land a summer internship! Many student organizations and local companies put out applications during the Spring semester in preparation for the next year, like the CWIB leadership application that is out now (APPLY NOW!) or the Student Success Center that accepts applications for course tutors in February to build their staff for the following year. During the Spring semester, there is also still time to find summer job opportunities With Spring Business Horizons scheduled for February 6th, you can network with company representatives looking to hire interns, externs, and full-time employees. Leveraging your own connections with friends, family, and past co-workers is also a tried and true way to land a summer internship in the Spring. Just don’t give up on the search!
    We know you are going to be a total boss this semester! Photo credit: The Aggie


We know all of you will get back in the swing of things and have a phenomenal Spring semester. With bi-weekly articles, The CWIB Chronicles is a fantastic resource for you throughout the semester, so remember to keep up regularly!


By: Allison DeSantis



Ginni Rometty: A Pioneering Force for Women in Business

CWIB Chronicles features Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM.

Women are pioneering their way through the business world as emerging leaders of major companies, and Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty is one of these women. Beginning in January 2012, Rometty became Chairwoman, President, and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). According to IBM’s website, the company is committed to creating a more innovative world in which advanced technological change will be coupled with increased human productivity. That being said, Rometty is in charge of a fast-paced environment where her decisions are constantly revolved around how IBM can better society.

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Ginni Rometty has been the Chairwoman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of IBM since January 2012. She is the first-ever CEO in the company’s 100-year history.
Photo credit: IBM

IBM sustains a $79.1 billion revenue and operates on a pre-tax income of $12.9 billion, according to the company’s webpage. The main components of the business revolve around healthcare and life sciences, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and quantum computing. The company is, “Driven to discover,” stated on their website. They are in charge of over 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located over 6 continents, stressing their influence as one of the leading corporate researchers. With this responsibility comes the right leaders for the job. This is where Ginni Rometty plays a crucial role.

While she became CEO in 2012, Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 and held several leadership positions before advancing to the top of the company. Her education from Northwestern University gave her a bachelor’s degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering, showcasing the knowledge she had acquired in order to take on the responsibilities at IBM. For example, Rometty led the “successful integration of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and services experts,” early on in her career at IBM, according to an article on IBM’s website

One major goal of hers that stood out, in particular, was her dedication to diversity and inclusion. To ensure these qualities actually exist in the workplace, Rometty has extended parental leave and made it easier for women to return to their jobs through a “returnships” program. Ginny was awarded the Catalyst Award in 2018 for advancing diversity and women’s initiatives, which was included in her biography on the company’s website. In addition, she strives to equip workers without college degrees for “new collar” jobs within technology. According to the same article, “The IBM-created Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) education model is a six-year program that prepares students for career success by combining high school with a community college degree, mentoring and internships — all within existing local education budgets.” This initiative stresses Rometty’s desire to increase jobs in an ethical manner.

Going off of ethics, Rometty was a part of IBM when it became the first to “publish long-held principles of trust for AI, data responsibility and data transparency, according to the same article. Ethics is crucial in a business conducting technological feats, so it is imperative that their CEO’s mindset is focused on taking these ethical boundaries into consideration. Rometty’s ethical standards were developed early in her life, beginning with difficult family situations.  

Coming from a poverty-stricken family, Rometty appreciated the concept of hard work early on. Her father left her mother and three siblings when she was 16 years old. They had to live off of food stamps until her mother went back to school and landed a good job. This inspired Rometty to take her education seriously, as she was rewarded with an honors degree and a full-time position with General Motors right out of college. A year later, she accepted an offer from IBM and her career soared from there.

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Rometty and family. She learned the power of hard work from her mother after her father left them.
Photo credit: Bloomberg

In a Makers article, Rometty said, “Growth and comfort never coexist. If you want to grow as a leader you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You welcome risk because you know you come out better on the other side.” Ginni Rometty’s words left a resounding impact on me as she has proved you are what you make out of your situation. Her passion for achieving the best for yourself and the world around you has been a leading indicator of her career success. She was named to Bloomberg’s “50 Most Influential People in the World” and Fortune’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” according to an interview on Makers.

Rometty’s inspiring drive to grow and succeed has provided an exceptional image to women of what they are capable of achieving in the corporate world. Her involvement goes beyond working at IBM, as she is co-chair of the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Group, serves on the Council on Foreign Relations at Northwestern, and is a member on the board of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, according to her biography. Rometty’s corporate and volunteer experience is a representation that women can truly do it all.   

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Rometty believes growth is crucial to a business’s success. “Growth and comfort never coexist.” -Ginni Rometty
Photo credit: Business Insider


By: Emma Harwood


Mary Barra: Driving the Auto Industry into the Future

Mary T. Barra is making history as the first female CEO in the automobile industry. She has brough great success to GM in her lifelong career there.

Mary T. Barra believes the auto industry will change dramatically in the next five to ten years and aims to be a driving force in that change as Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of General Motors (GM) Company. Barra envisions a world with zero crashes, to save lives; zero emissions, so we can pass down a healthier planet to future generations; and zero congestion, so the precious commodity of time doesn’t have to be wasted sitting in traffic according to the GM Website. Holding the position of General Motors CEO since January 15th, 2014, Barra is the first female CEO of a major global automaker. Barra is focused on strengthening GM’s core car, truck, and crossover business while leading a mobility transformation in our society through innovations like electric cars, autonomous driving (self-driving cars) and car sharing. Barra aims to put the customer at the center of everything the company does. She is truly leading transformations in the auto-industry and shaping the future for women in business!

Mary Barra of General Motors
Detroit, MI – May 9, 2018 – Mary Barra stands for a portrait at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Barra is the Chairman and CEO of General Motors Company. She has held the CEO position since January 15, 2014, and she is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.

Before becoming CEO, Barra was no rookie to working at GM, having worked there for 37 years! She served the company in many prior roles, such as Executive VP of Global Product Development, VP of Global Human Resources, VP of Global Manufacturing Engineering, and Plant Manager of Detroit Hamtramck Assembly. In fact, Barra began her career with GM in 1980 as a General Motors Institute (Kettering University) co-op student at the Pontiac Motor Division. Her true introduction to the automobile industry dates back to when she was an 18-year-old electrical engineering student whose job was to inspect fender panels and car hoods to pay her college tuition! After Barra graduated with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering in 1985, she attended Stanford Graduate School of Business on a GM fellowship and received her MBA in 1990.

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Mary Barra has been with GM since the beginning of her career and now she has reached the top. Photo credit: Forbes

When it came to the race for GM’s CEO position in 2014, Barra was up against three men who held executive positions within the company and were seen as strong contenders for the role. According to Forbes, it has been said that Barra has accomplished more in three years than most CEOs do in 30 years. Barra’s personality is described as quiet and her leadership style is described as team-building and consensus-seeking centered, yet concise and decisive when it comes to making decisions, according to a New York Times article.

Barra has made decisions that other GM leaders never dared, like pushing to deliver the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the industry’s first affordable, long-range electric car, in record time, beating automakers like Tesla, according to Forbes. The record earnings of GM, driven by lower costs and higher prices on strong-selling vehicles, over the past three years since Barra has been CEO prove how effective her leadership has been to the company. When asked if she had any interest in switching careers, Barra responded, “I am 150% committed to General Motors. This is an incredibly exciting time because not only do I believe we are putting the best vehicles on the road that we have been in my career here, but when I look at the opportunities we have with autonomous (vehicles), with electrification, with connectivity, I’m very passionate about it…,” according to Forbes.

2016 Wired Business Conference
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: Editor-in-Chief of WIRED Scott Dadich speaks with Chairman and CEO of GM Mary Barra on stage during the 2016 Wired Business Conference on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired)

Barra’s role as CEO of GM makes a statement in a world where just over 20 of the Fortune 500’s chief executives are women, according to the New York Times. Given the male-dominated culture of the auto industry and GM’s historical importance to the U.S. economy, the feat is even more notable. In 2017, Barra was listed number two in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women and number 5 on Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

In addition to her role at GM, Barra also serves on the Board of Directors of the Walt Disney Company, the Stanford University Board of Trustees, and the Detroit Economic Club. She is also married with two children.

Barra’s leadership of GM is breaking down barriers for women in the auto-industry and driving innovations for positive change!

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Barra wears many hats, from GM CEO to a mother of two. Photo credit: Business Wire

By: Allison DeSantis


Cover Letters Uncovered

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Not all job applications require cover letters, but knowing how to write one is still a useful skill to have just in case you need to in the future.. What is a cover letter exactly? A cover letter is used by employers to gain more insight about your resume, personality and why you would be a good fit for the job. In this LinkedIn article, Jeff Lareau defines a cover letter as, “an introduction that complements your resume, shows a bit of your personality, and addresses issues that might otherwise go unaddressed on your resume alone.” To write a strong cover letter, it’s important to address a specific person, include examples of how you would succeed at the job you’re applying for, and make yourself stand out from other applicants.

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Before starting your cover letter, make sure you research the company you are applying to. According to a Glassdoor article, it’s important to “write like yourself, but also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to. Researching the company will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply.” In addition to researching, another thing you should do before starting this document is map out your ideas and make an outline. Writing down certain details you want to include and having a rough draft ready can ensure you don’t forget anything.

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After writing your outline and researching the company, find out who will be reading your cover letter so you can address them by name instead of saying “To Whom It May Concern.” You may need to make the effort to send an email or make a call to find out, but it will be worth it as it shows your employer that you are willing to take the extra mile. Think about it, the greeting is the first thing that the reader sees, so make a good first impression by making it personalized, rather than generalized!

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Now you can start writing the body of your letter. Be sure to start off with a strong introduction paragraph, including what position you are interested in, how you heard about it, and a short thesis statement as to why you think you are qualified for the job. In your body paragraphs, you can expand on experiences you included in your resume and talk about how you can apply what you learned from them to the job you are applying for. It is not necessary to list out every single job experience you have. Try focusing on elaborating on 2-3 roles that you believe will showcase that you have the prior experience needed to get this next job. The goal of this section is to highlight the important parts of your resume! This would also be a great time to talk about your Top 5 Clifton Strengths and how you have used them in other experiences. These body paragraphs are an opportunity to showcase your personality and differentiate yourself from other applicants. Even though this is the body of the letter, try to keep these paragraphs concise and to the point. The cover letter shouldn’t take too long to read!

For your conclusion, sum up why you are interested in the job and what you hope to add to the company. In the same article by Career Advice from Glassdoor, they recommend leaving your reader with a strong “call to action [and a] reason for them to contact you.”

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You’re done with your cover letter! Before you submit, be sure to proofread for irrelevant information, typos and repetition. Don’t forget to include contact information in your letter, such as your email and phone number.



Happy Thanksgiving from CWIB!

Hello CWIB! We hope that everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving and a relaxing break. College can definitely be a very stressful time, especially as finals start to loom closer and closer. Amongst all the chaos, this is a great opportunity to take a step back and be thankful for all that we have. It is hard to believe that, not too long ago, there were no organizations like Collegiate Women in Business whose sole purpose was to empower, prepare, and connect young women so that they can establish a framework for a successful future. To honor this, we decided to interview a few of our members to get their take on why they are thankful for CWIB!

Collegiate Women in Business is so fortunate to have so many talented and passionate members. The organization is what it is because of all of you! Photo credit: N/A. 

Isabel Barker is a freshman who is currently business undecided. When asked why she is thankful for CWIB, she stated, “It [CWIB] gives me the opportunity to meet other girls interested in business fields as well as prepares me for what’s to come after college! It has been really beneficial also because the speakers help to put the information I’m learning in my classes into context, allowing me to visualize the possibilities of different career paths.”

Another determined freshman, Kate Skowronek, had a similar answer. “I’m thankful for CWIB because it has given me the opportunity to meet motivated women that are always willing to give advice and share their experiences.” One thing that motivates the CWIB leadership team is hearing that the events we put on are helping our members. We look forward to our next set of guest speakers next semester and how they will make an impact on the young women in our organization.

Guest speakers offer our members real-life perspectives on being a woman in business. Photo credit: Alexis Edwards

Caroline Sisson is a senior majoring in human development. She said, “I am thankful for CWIB because of the amazing opportunities to network and learn more about how to be a successful businesswoman. Especially not being a business major, the workshops and meetings provided me with information and support to confidently pursue my career goals.” It is amazing to see how Collegiate Women in Business is able to equip women with the tools they need to be successful, even if they are not business majors.

Caroline Macri is a freshman majoring in BIT. One of the main things we promote in CWIB is women helping women. Caroline notices this and said “I’m thankful for CWIB because it has afforded me the opportunity to meet other women in business who have perspective on real-world challenges. CWIB also benefits young women by giving us an established network of support.”

Collegiate Women in Business acts as a support system, allowing women to make mutually beneficial relationships with one another. Photo credit: Alexis Edwards

Not only does Collegiate Women in Business empower women to chase after their professional dreams, but it can also assist in making them a reality! Dania Rivas, a junior in BIT, was incredibly grateful for this. She said, “I was able to visit EY on the DC trek and I grew very interested in the company after attending the panel with women who work there. I was able to learn a lot about EY’s work-life balance and the dedication of the firm to its employees. They pushed me to apply to their externship which led me to an internship for next summer.” Make sure you keep an eye out for the treks coming up next semester, you never know what could happen!

Our treks are not only a great way to network and make connections, but they are also a way to make lasting memories with new friends.  Photo credit: N/A

The individual women you meet through CWIB can also help change your life. Sara Khorramshahgol, a junior BIT major, reflected on when she first met one of the Co-CEOs of CWIB and the impact she made. “She asked me to speak at one of the meetings and even though I was a super shy freshman, she really boosted my self-confidence. That’s when I thought CWIB is like my girl tribe. Meeting her and other members in CWIB who are just as empowering is what I needed during my time at VT.”

It is amazing to see the positive impact Collegiate Women in Business has had on our members. From inspiring women to step out of their comfort zones, to even being a small part in helping our members secure their dream jobs, we continue to live out the mission our founders created back in 2014. As those final exams and projects come up, and your stress starts to be a little more than you can take, remember to take a deep breath and reflect on all of the wonderful opportunities Virginia Tech and CWIB has been able to give you!




Top 5 Must Have Business Apps

As college students, our phones can sometimes be more distracting than useful. However, if you have the right applications and use your phone to boost your productivity, there is a lot to gain! There are many apps which you can get to make better use of your phone time, like calendar and planner apps, time management apps, and stress-reducing apps. Let’s use our phones to get prepared for the business world. After all, a well-organized, well-informed, and relaxed employee has a better chance of being successful than one who isn’t any of these things! Start by downloading these 5 productivity apps today!

1.Full Contact | Contact Manager

If you’re a business student, you’re definitely going to receive a lot of business cards at various professional events. These can easily be lost in your bag or your car, so download Full Contact | Contact Manager because it allows you to easily transfer your business cards to your contacts book. By taking a photo of the business card, this app stores the information on the business card on your phone. It’s that easy! Contact Manager is also connected to LinkedIn, so that person’s LinkedIn profile will show up once you add it to your contacts. This can be useful for keeping track of who you met, and reconnecting with them!


2. Flora

Time management is something that most business students are striving to improve upon, especially with your phone available at all times to distract you! To solve your concentration problem, get Flora. This app motivates you to stay off your phone. To stay focused, you set a timer and each timer comes with a plant! If you exit the app and use your phone, the plant dies. As you continue to use it, you can grow different plants and create a nice garden! You can also challenge your friends to do it with you, and the plant’s life depends on you and your friends’ concentration. If one person uses his/her phone, the plant dies for the whole group! This app takes concentration to the next level.


3. LinkedIn

As a business student, having the LinkedIn app on your phone should be just as essential as having Instagram or Twitter. This app is useful for networking, which is a skill that you will develop throughout your time as a student before entering the business world. It’s convenient to have the app so when you meet someone you can find his/her LinkedIn account and avoid forgetting! In addition, LinkedIn’s news feed allows the user to click on news stories that contain important information about relevant business events and business tips. LinkedIn is a great resource for business students to use to be exposed to the business world wherever you are! Do you want more tips on how to use LinkedIn? Come to CWIB’s LinkedIn workshop on November 28!


4. My Study Life

This is the organizational app of your dreams. Catered specifically to students, it organizes your classes, tasks, and exams. This app also sends you reminders to do your work so it isn’t just a planner or a calendar. The best part is that it syncs across all your devices so you can use it on any device at any time! You will never let a homework assignment or exam slip your mind again!


5. Headspace

No matter how much work you have to do, every student needs some relaxation time. Meditation is a good way to refocus your mind and refresh your perspective. However, many people find it hard to keep their mind clear during meditation, so guided meditation is a great way to start. Headspace is a guided meditation app that motivates you to be mindful. This app features different themed sessions, like ones specifically for sleep, anxiety, stress, and focus. Maintaining a work-life balance is extremely important for your long-term success, so start now by taking a few minutes every day to recharge and energize your mind!



New York City Trek Recap

On November 1st, nine CWIB members traveled to New York City for a one-night, two-day trek in the hopes of bettering their knowledge of business operations and networking skills. Treks provide members with first-hand exposure to companies around the country as well as the opportunity to network with successful business professionals, and this trek did just that for these ladies!

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The nine trek attendees in Times Square, NYC. Photo courtesy of CWIB historians.

The trek began with a visit to the Fox Networks Company, where the girls were led on a tour by Steve White, the Director of Ad Sales Finance, who explained the ins-and-outs of different company operations at Fox. White then took the girls to a conference room where they were met by Wendy Lee, Senior Vice President of Revenue Analysis at Fox Networks Group. This was an impactful moment for each member of the trek, as Lee has worked as a powerful female in media finance and revenue analytics for 23 years! According to freshman CWIB member Cameron Long, Lee helped the attendees “gain knowledge of how to be a successful woman in the workplace, and how to overcome obstacles in the process.”

Lee highlighted the importance of continued learning throughout one’s career. She emphasized how you can never, and should never, stop learning. She graduated from New York College at Oswego, but still took different classes at New York University School of Professional Studies and Harvard Business School throughout her career. She has also completed 15 Certificate Degrees in Business Management, Finance, and Operations. As a result of her determined mindset, she never fell behind in her male-dominated industry. Instead, she excelled. With hard work, you can become anything you put your mind to!

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Trek attendees preparing for their trip to Fox Networks Company. Photo by Gigi Jones.

Following the visit to Fox Networks Company, the CWIB trekkers traveled to the Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square for the 9th Annual New York Women in Business  Event. The event was sponsored by Pamplin alumna Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director and COO of Global Institutional Equity Distribution at Morgan Stanley, and put on by the Virginia Tech Women in Business (WIB) Leadership Team. This team includes Kay Hunnings as Associate Dean for Administration, Bonnie Gilbert as Director of Alumni Relations, Donna Wertalik as Director of Marketing, and Amy Weishaar as Assistant Director of Special Events. The night was all about connecting with and empowering one another as women in the business world. Castle-Newman stated, “I’m honored to sponsor such an amazing event that brings together women from various professional experiences to share their stories of success and failure. Each year the WIB team executes the event with fresh ideas that attract over 100 alumni. Looking forward to celebrating the 10th Anniversary.”

The event began with a networking session, where current Virginia Tech female students connected with successful Virginia Tech alumni who are in the business world today! Current CWIB member, sophomore Reagan Harwood, explained, “I loved networking with all of the Virginia Tech alumnae and learning about their different professional journeys. Everyone was so helpful and kind.” This exemplifies how the night was simply about uplifting one another to better each others’ success in the future. “It was so much fun talking to these incredible women,” Harwood added. The alumni want the best for each and every member of Pamplin, and they showed that throughout the entirety of the Women in Business event.

Pictured here are seven of our current CWIB members with two CWIB alumna, Corrigan Serpa and Annie Bokulic at the WIB networking session. Photo courtesy of Pamplin College of Business.

After networking, everybody joined together for an interactive activity. Students were placed at different tables with various alumnae, and each table was given a topic to discuss. All of the topics involved being a woman in the business world, such as “How to Stand Out in a Meeting.” Each table shared their discussion with the rest of the event members, creating a room filled with empowerment. Donna Wertalik directed the discussion, constantly emphasizing the importance of believing in ourselves as women in the workforce. Bethany Frady, a sophomore and CWIB member, said, “What stuck with me the most was to just be confident in yourself.” Confidence was a pillar throughout the night; it can go a long way in one’s success!

The following morning, the trek attendees made their way through Times Square to SiriusXM. The girls were greeted by Alison Smith, Program Manager of Talent Acquisition, who informed the group of the many complex pieces that go into producing their hundreds of radio stations. Frady stated, “It gave me a new perspective about the company and how they collect data to gather information about their listeners.” The trek attendees were also welcomed into a conference room with four female employees, whose jobs ranged from marketing to management to engineering at SiriusXM. They made it known that women in the workplace can be powerful and impactful every day. Long explained, “They made me feel like there are plenty of opportunities for women in the workplace, and that obtaining success is very possible.” Treks are not only informative, but they are inspirational!

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Inside the SiriusXM office! Photo by Alison Smith.

The main idea of the New York City trek was learning how to stand up and stand out as a woman in business. Led by three members of the CWIB Executive Board, Gigi Jones as Co-Chief Executive Officer, Shannon Keye as Chief Operating Officer, and Angela Zadrima as Chief Financial Officer, the trek attendees were able to learn how important initiative is in the business world, while they explored different companies and met with countless Virginia Tech alumni. Harwood shared, “Being able to speak to the impressive businesswomen at Fox, SiriusXM, and the WIB event helped give me valuable insight into the real business world and advice on how to succeed in it.” Your drive to work hard, learn more, and stand out can only help you and your success! The members of this trek saw that first-hand through their encounters with powerful female leaders in business.  


By: Allison Wood




Networking for Introverts

Do you feel overwhelmed when asked to present in front of a group? Does the thought of meeting new people and putting yourself out there make you anxious? After a long day of socializing, do you feel drained and exhausted? If these traits apply to you as they do for me, you would consider yourself an introvert. Defined by the article, “What is an Introvert” on introvertspring.com, an introvert is someone who is “interested in one’s own thoughts rather than the physical environment.” They develop their strength through “calm, minimally stimulating environments.” While the negative stigmatism surrounding introverts is that we are standoffish, this is most certainly not the case. Introverted qualities include a “ love of introspection, a need for solitude, and a slower, more focused communication style.” After taking all of this into consideration, we are then able to present our best selves to others in social settings.


When it comes to the workforce, these characteristics prove extremely beneficial as employees who are self-reflective and attentive will produce effective results. Now how about the process of actually landing the job? Introverts may be at a slight disadvantage with all the networking events, conferences, and interviews that go into getting that dream job offer. However, there are many ways to combat the stress of meeting new people and being in unnatural situations.

Something very important to remember is that networking is simply meeting new people. Think about a time you’ve met new friends. Obviously, you had to work at that friendship; maybe connecting came easily, or maybe you had to spend time together to see if you had common interests. When encountering recruiters, imagine that they are a new friend to make. According to an article published by Forbes in 2014, it is crucial to “build rapport and trust that business will happen.” Try to refrain from putting so much pressure on meeting a recruiter. When making new friendships, you don’t think “Wow if this doesn’t work out I’ll never meet another friend.” So, try to develop an optimistic and confident mindset before attending networking events. Stay calm and collected while remembering that these individuals are just people too.

CWIB private networking session

Preparing for an event is equally as important as performing highly once you are there. One tactic I find very helpful is writing down what I would like to say to recruiters, my goals of what I hope to get out of the experience, and encouraging statements to inspire myself. These do not have to be long paragraphs, just bullet points of questions to ask or phrases of your personal statement that will leave a positive impression on those you meet. Reviewing these notes beforehand will leave you much more confident. This will help alleviate the stress you feel when asked a question on the spot. Additionally, this introspection will assist us in identifying what we truly desire out of a networking session, therefore leading us to ask more direct questions in order to achieve specific results. These desired results could include an internship, externship, or even an invitation to the company’s next event.


As introverts, we are more concerned with deepening relationships than having as many friends as possible. This is a terrific character to have when meeting future employers! They want to add committed, dedicated people to their team who feel a sense of obligation to their company. In the same article published by Forbes, the author states that you should “focus on making just a few solid connections. People can sense when you’re simply speaking to them to grab their card and go.” I for one definitely feel the pressure of “it’s all about who you know” when getting a job; however, even if you have 50 random connections, these will not lead you anywhere in your professional career if you have not worked to develop true relationships with a few of these individuals. This is also an added benefit for you as the job-seeker. Why introduce yourself to many employees at companies you have no desire of working for? Seek out those businesses you see yourself thriving at, have a meaningful conversation with those recruiters, and your passion will be apparent.

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Networking events and conferences can be long and strenuous for anyone, so it is completely okay to take breaks! Get a drink, refresh at the bathroom, or take a walk outside before reentering. An online article published by Businessese in 2017 states that “Crowds can be overstimulating and disrupt focus,” so this alone time is truly beneficial and will leave you recharged and ready to go back into the event. Remember this the next time you attend Business Horizons; it is a perfect event where introverts can feel drained and only want to hide in the background as I did. Step out of the room and recollect your thoughts. Even a few minutes away will help you feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle to next conversation!

Looking around at all the other attendees at networking sessions may seem discouraging if they seem to know what they’re doing, but everyone gets nervous when it comes to meeting employers, not just introverts! Our unique character traits will help us in the long run to find those meaningful relationships that lead to our dream job. While the entire job search process is stressful and requires you to be in situations you are not used to, introverts can use their qualities to their advantage. No longer look at introversion as a setback; always remember to show your best and most authentic self to recruiters, as this is the person who will show up to work every day.




Harvard Trek Recap


Caitlin, Gabrielle, Andrea, and Neha at the Intercollegiate Business Convention, hosted by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business!

    On October 27th – 29th, CWIB members, Caitlin Nguyen, Andrea Pena Matheus, Gabrielle Bryda, and Neha Shah, traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to attend the Intercollegiate Business Convention (IBC), the largest student-run business conference in the world, hosted by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business. Founded in 2005, the Intercollegiate Business Convention (IBC) is striving for expansion and equality in hopes to bring the experience to as many young women as possible according to the IBC Website.

     Attending CWIB trekkers got to hear from keynote speakers, attend breakout sessions focused on specific industries and career-related topics and network with company and business school representatives! This year’s keynote speakers included Anne Fulenwider, Editor-In-Chief of Marie Claire magazine, Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of United Nations Foundation, and Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, an innovate digital investment platform for women according to the IBC Website.

     The trek goers also met with VT alumni at MSLGroup, a global public relations and communications company and Akamai, an internet security company. Of course, they managed to fit in time to explore the lively city of Boston in the evening! It was a productive and memorable weekend for these CWIB ladies in Boston!

Meeting with two Hokie alumni at MSLGroup, a global public relations and communications company!

     Caitlin Nguyen, a freshman business undecided major, chose to go on the trek to attend the esteemed Intercollegiate Business Convention and hear from successful businesswomen about their stories and what inspires them. Caitlin is drawn to the diverse network in Boston and can picture herself working there in the future! Her favorite part of the trek was the breakout sessions at IBC, because she was able to build personal connections by introducing herself to the speakers that inspired her. Huda Kattan was one of the IBC speakers that inspired Caitlin. An internationally recognized makeup guru, content-creator, and co-founder of Huda Beauty, Kattan went against the norms of her culture and family to grow her social media following and start a beauty brand that offers groundbreaking products according to the IBC Website. “Her story spoke volumes to how hard work and dedication can make any average woman a successful businesswoman in anything she is passionate about,” Nguyen told The CWIB Chronicles.

I gained knowledge on not only what it takes to become a “successful” entrepreneur and businesswoman, but the trek also drove a strong work ethic within every woman who attended, as we all seek equality and power to be heard in our future.” – Caitlin Nguyen

     Computational & Systems Neuroscience and Economics double major, Gabrielle Bryda, shares that she also enjoyed the breakout sessions at IBC, namely the “Connecting with Business Schools” session. “This session was extremely beneficial for me and confirmed my decision to pursue my MBA after working for a few years post-graduation. I learned valuable information about how to boost my application for business school and was given the opportunity to network with directors of admissions at various top business schools,” Gabrielle told The CWIB Chronicles. Gabrielle shares that she enjoyed the company visit to Akamai because she sees herself working in the technology industry and got to have a conversation with a hokie alumnus and his co-workers!

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Trek attendees with VT alum, Brett Langstaff, at Akamai!

     Andrea Matheus, a sophomore Marketing and Management double major and International Business minor shares that this was her favorite CWIB trek she has been on so far, because of the opportunity to attend a business conference featuring inspirational women speakers and also visit companies to get an inside look at the corporate world. “My favorite part was getting to hear some of the panelists and making a strong connection with some of them,” Andrea tells The CWIB Chronicles. Andrea shares that she networked with a woman who works in an ad agency and attended portfolio school, which is what she hopes to do after she graduates!




      CWIB is proud of Caitlin, Andrea, Gabrielle, and Neha for taking a weekend to explore Boston and attend the Intercollegiate Business Convention! Writing this recap definitely made me recall how exciting of an experience participating in last year’s trek was! We are so glad they returned inspired and motivated by trek and we wish them luck in their future endeavors!





By: Allison DeSantis



College Budgeting 101

     As college students with many financial obligations, it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of our money.  It only takes a few purchases and the next thing you know, you can find yourself behind on rent, short on cash, and maybe even calling home for some extra help. Luckily, all it takes is a few minutes to budget and your money will be well-managed for that future time period. This article is all about helping CWIB’s members get better at controlling their finances. Once you graduate and enter the real world, you are going to have a lot more expenses to keep track of, so why not start practicing now?

Where To Start

   Sometimes we make purchases without thinking. Start by looking through your bank account and keeping track of what you spend. Whether it’s in an excel spreadsheet or in a physical notebook, writing down your purchases is helpful for looking back and seeing which areas you’re spending too much in. Excel even has multiple templates that will analyze your spending and saving for you. All you have to do is plug in the numbers!

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Getting Down to the Numbers

        In the same notebook or spreadsheet, make a list of your expenses for the month and allot a specific amount of money to cover these expenses. For example: rent-$500, groceries-$45 per week, gas-$80, and entertainment-$60. Don’t forget to set aside money for miscellaneous purchases, such as lunch with a friend, Benny’s on Friday night, or school supplies. If you find that you’re having trouble with spending more than you budgeted for miscellaneous spending, take cash out of your bank account and use that instead. Then once it’s gone, don’t take out more until the next month/week.

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Budgeting With Your Phone

If you want to keep a closer eye on your budget and expenses, using a mobile app is a great way to go! Here is a list of some apps that not only make budgeting even easier, but will also remind you when to pay your bills, calculate your credit score, and more!

  1. Mint: Personal Finance & Money – This app is free and puts all your financial statements in one place, tracks your spending and credit score, and reminds you to pay your bills.mint
  2. Fuget: Budget Planner Tracker – A free app (that also offers an upgrade for purchase) that keeps budgeting simple and easy. This tool tracks income and expenses and maintains a balance so you know how much you have left to spend.image
  3. Clarity Money Budget Manager – Besides helping you find and cancel unnecessary subscriptions, track expenses and savings goals, and keep tabs on your credit score, this app is completely free!clarity
  4. EveryDollar Easy Budgeting App – With optional in-app purchases available, EveryDollar offers free features of a personal budget planner, expense tracker, connections to savings experts, and more.image (1)


Saving? What is That?

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        Trying to save up for a new laptop or that new outfit you want to buy? Set specific saving goals with a certain item in mind to motivate yourself. Try to put small amounts of money every week or month and save up for it a little at a time. In some mobile banking apps, you can set savings goals within your savings or checking accounts and when you put money into that goal, they’ll keep track of how close you are to reaching it.

If you sit down and spend a few minutes every week or month to dedicate to organizing your spending, budgeting will become a breeze! Keeping track of what you purchase, taking out cash for spending and setting specific saving goals will help you stop stressing about money so you can focus on your classes and preparing for your future!


By: Abby Perkins 




Here She Comes- Introducing Heineken’s First Female CEO

One of the main goals of The CWIB Chronicles is to empower our readers so that they have the confidence to chase after their professional dreams, no matter how big they may be. Being a woman in business has always been somewhat of a challenge. This is represented by the fact that, according to Business Insider, there are currently only 25 female Chief Executive Officers (CEO) out of all Fortune 500 companies. Fortunately, there are some pretty spectacular women who have been breaking the glass ceiling and showing us that our dreams are valid. In a new series of articles, The CWIB Chronicles will be highlighting some of these women, starting with the first female CEO of Heineken.

Source Credit

What better way to start with a splash than with our first feature, Maggie Timoney? Timoney rose through the ranks to become CEO in a business where it is even rarer to see a woman in charge, the beer industry. According to the website Bravo Alpha, a study conducted at Auburn University found that only 29% of women represented brewery workers.  This statistic may be so low simply because of the fact that over the years, the beer industry has often appealed more to men. This is further exacerbated by the fact that the number of women who are sole founders or owners in the beer industry is only between 2 and 4%, this statistic was pulled from The Guardian.

          However, on September 1st of this year, a huge push for more female representation was made when Heineken made Maggie Timoney the first female CEO of one of America’s top five beer producers. As reported by the website Food & Wine, Timoney began with the company in 1998. The Heineken Americas Region President had nothing but great things to say about Timoney when making the announcement. Highlights included, “Maggie is a competitive and energetic leader who is known for inspiring the team,” and “she has the right mix of strategic vision, people leadership and grit to ignite future growth for Heineken USA.”

          Timoney has been making great strides her whole career. Her profile on Bloomberg states that at Iona College, she was a huge asset to the women’s basketball team, setting a school career scoring record and is currently a member of the Iona College Sports Hall of Fame. She graduated from Iona College with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration, and then went on to become the captain of the Irish National Women’s Basketball team. As for her professional career, Timoney began her professional corporate career at  Sound Distributing, an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler. After switching over to Heineken, she held many positions including Managing Director of Heineken Ireland Limited, the Chief People Officer of Heineken USA, and finally the Chief Executive Officer.

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Let Timoney serve as an example, her competitive drive and desire to excel led her to serve in one of the top positions in all of the beer industry. It is a very impressive feat becoming a CEO in an industry that has been dominated by men all of its existence. Timoney, however, does not let this define her. According to Brewbound, when asked in an interview what “different perspective” she would bring to the beer industry, Timoney said, “I’ll be judged on my results, not on whether I’m a male or female.” We look forward to seeing the success this powerful individual will bring to the Heineken brand.


By: Cara Yates


Freshman Spotlight: Michelle Akl



Michelle Akl

Major: Business Information Technology | Minor: Music

Fun fact: She plays the piano!

Michelle Akl is a freshman majoring in Business Information Technology and minoring in Music. She is from Springfield, Virginia. Although she is still figuring out her way around Virginia Tech, joining Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) was her way of taking a step to meet people who are also interested in business.

Michelle heard about CWIB from a friend and decided it was a good idea to join. Being surrounded by young women with similar goals at CWIB meetings and other events has inspired her to work harder in school. She also joined to have fun and make memories with other members while simultaneously developing her professional identity.

She hopes that CWIB is the right place for her to learn how to become a leader and gain more confidence as she goes through college. By joining CWIB’s mentorship program, Michelle is hopeful that she will be able to gain meaningful insight and advice about leadership and academics because she wants to thrive as a Pamplin student.


Michelle also would like to be able to network and gain experience in the business field by going on a trek and meeting people through the many events CWIB hosts with alumni speakers and companies. Although she hasn’t been able to go on a trek this fall, she hopes that she can attend one during the spring semester in order to build her connections and learn more about different workplaces.

Her biggest goal for this year is to gain more knowledge about the business field. She wants to focus on learning strategies and tips which will help her succeed in the future, and she believes that the best way to do so is by learning from other people who were once in her shoes!

Outside of CWIB, she likes to play intramural volleyball and walk dogs for the club, Bonding with Animals through Recreation on Campus (BARC). Michelle is also a member of the BIT club and the Cedars of Lebanon club. If you see her at an event, she encourages you to say hi! She is looking forward to building more friendships in CWIB.

Michelle’s advice to other freshmen in CWIB is to plan for events ahead of time to make sure you have time for them! She also thinks freshman year is a great time to go on a trek because you get to visit real-life workplaces where you can converse with working professionals who can help you gain the necessary knowledge needed to make decisions about your future career!  

Welcome to CWIB, Michelle! We are so thrilled that you chose to make this organization a part of your college journey. Your ambition is impressive and we cannot wait to see the amazing things you’ll contribute over the next four years!


By: Lina Al Taii



Overlooked Hints for Interviews

We all get nervous before interviews, but focusing on the small, often overlooked, details can help the process! If you focus on the small aspects of an interview, the big ones will come with ease! Here are four simple tactics that can go a long way in your interview process:

1.Preparation – There is more to preparing for an interview than having a great resume, the perfect business attire, and a firm handshake. One of the best ways to stand out to employers is to show them how you have prepared for this interview by knowing facts and statistics about their company. You should research into the success of the company, specific numbers in relation to their business, milestones made by the company, and other similar information. It is better to know detailed information rather than basic information that can easily be found in the company’s description. Another way to prepare for interviews is by having answers ready for the common interview questions (examples seen below) you will be asked. A great resource to utilize is Glassdoor. On this website, you’ll find questions that were asked in previous interviews at that specific company so you may get similar or exact ones to those! Having confidence in your answers to these questions will set the scene for a more relaxed, smoother interview. Awkward pauses will be a thing of the past!


2. Questions – It is important to ask questions in interviews to show you care about and are interested in the specific details of the company you are applying to be a part of. Many people do not know, though, that you are allowed to have those questions already formed before the interview even starts! Having questions already planned can help you avoid asking irrelevant questions, or not being able to think of a question to ask at all. It is important to not ask questions just for the sake of asking a question, either, which often happens when people don’t prepare ahead of time. It is important to ask your questions when they fit into the flow of the conversation or to save them for when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Also, make sure not ask anything that is easily available on the company’s website. Impress your interviewer with your curiosity in their company!


3. Personal Statement – Have your personal statement, a quick description of yourself, both as a professional and a human being, that shares your best attributes and goals, essentially memorized so that you can relay parts of it in response to certain questions you may be asked, such as, “Why should we pick you?” You can use parts of it when you get stumped by the interviewer as well. For example, if the interviewer asks you, “Why did you quit your sport after sophomore year?,” you can respond with, “Because of my determination for excellence, as seen by my placement on the Dean’s List, I had to refocus my priorities in order to continue my success.” By using bits and pieces of your personal statement, you are able to respond to the interviewer in a professional manner, all while relating your response back to yourself in a positive light. For more help with creating your personal statement, check out this previous CWIB Chronicles article.

4. Tone of Voice – This is an often forgotten aspect of interviews, but it is an extremely important one. You cannot simply rely on your outgoing personality to get you through an interview. If you do, you will likely get nervous, and your voice will reflect it. If your voice sounds nervous, your interviewer will think you are not confident in your abilities, and will likely not want you for their company. Having a calm tone of voice comes with preparation, though! Use your friends, peers, and other acquaintances to your advantage. Have them conduct a mock interview with you! This will calm your nerves, and thus your tone of voice when talking to your interviewer. Another important aspect of the tone of voice is continuing to use a professional tone even when an interviewer may ask a challenging question. The worst way to respond is with a defensive attitude, including a defensive or aggressive tone of voice. Remember, what you said is just as important as HOW you said it!


Overall, sticking to a professional persona throughout your interview is the best decision. Prepare for your interview, ask questions, know your information, and speak respectively. You will be set for success if you follow these often overlooked tactics!


Good luck to all of you in your upcoming interviews!


By: Allison Wood


CWIB Sponsor Spotlight: KPMG


KPMG is a professional services firm that operates internationally and serves the needs of businesses, governments, public-sector agencies, not-for-profits, and capital markets. KPMG has tax, audit, and advisory practices as well as strategic alliances with many of the world’s leading software and service vendors. It is one of the Big Four Accounting firms, along with Deloitte, Ernst and Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. KPMG was one of the first Big Four firms to foster an industry-driven structure, where they organize along the same industry lines as their clients. The industries that KPMG serves include asset management, alternative investments, consumer and retail, healthcare, energy, and natural resources, entertainment and media, and technology to name a few. Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) had the opportunity to interview a couple of Hokie alumni, Laura Vitale, Campus Recruiter, and Jason Kies, KPMG Partner, to get the inside scoop on working at the firm and learn why the people and culture make the firm so unique!

Fun fact: Lynne Doughtie, U.S. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of KPMG, is a Virginia Tech alumna!


No day is the same

When asked about the day in the life of a KPMG employee, both Laura and Jason shared that no two days working at the firm are ever the same. Laura says, “..our main goal is to serve our clients to the best of our ability each day. With that, on any given day our employees could be solving a client problem, meeting with top-level executives, working with their engagement team to complete test work, participating in networking events, or assisting with recruiting efforts at their alma mater.” While there is a wide range of roles and responsibilities that KPMG employees take on, depending on their department’s function, Jason shares that direct client interaction is a big part of work at KPMG. He says, “most partners and employees have meaningful interactions with our clients on a daily basis that make a real impact on the issues they are having.” Kies goes on to share that staying up to date with laws and regulations, market trends, and client specific needs are critical things that employees and partners do at KPMG to complete their work effectively. Flexibility, adaptability, and professionalism are key traits to possess if you want to work at a firm like KPMG!


People and Culture

Both Laura and Jason admit that the people and culture of KPMG are what sets the firm apart from others. Some of their favorite aspects about the firm have been the mentorship, leadership and training courses, and diversity networks that KPMG offers for professional growth. Laura shares, “There’s very much a “pay it forward” culture at KPMG, where the more senior employees want to help grow and mentor the newer employees.” She explains that every new hire at KPMG is assigned a People Management Leader (PML) to help them set goals and track their performance throughout the year. Jason shares that there is an “entrepreneurial spirit” at KPMG. While Jason began his career in Audit in KPMG’s Richmond, Virginia office, he did a four-year rotation in Zurich, Switzerland where he worked in Audit and Advisory. He then moved to New York to work in the Private Equity Group, taking on a very different role in maintaining client relationships, driving new opportunities and doing issue resolution and independence. As evidenced by these responses, there are endless opportunities for both personal and professional growth at KPMG!


Women in the Workforce

KPMG has a culture of supporting women in the workforce that is imperative to the firm and apparent through the mentorship and networking initiatives they have created. Laura is involved in the KPMG Network of Women (KNOW) and shares that this network of women and men across the firm is committed to fostering women’s networking, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. This organization has connected her to professionals that she would not have otherwise met had she not joined KNOW. Lynne Doughtie, VT alum and U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG is a prime example of the strong women in leadership roles at KPMG. Laura shares, “I’ve worked for and with several strong women throughout my career and have had several female mentors whose advice and guidance has been pivotal to my success.”


CWIB’s Chief Financial Officer, Angela Zadrima, interned at KPMG last summer (she also accepted a full-time position!) . Her client was The World Bank. Here is a picture of her with Co-CEO Gigi Jones, who worked at The World Bank! CWIB is everywhere!

What can you, CWIB members, do to work at a company like KPMG?

Laura shares some advice for students striving to work at KPMG!

  1. Have a solid resume that highlights your strong grades in the core, major classes and any active roles you have held in organizations you’re passionate about!
  2. Build relationships. Laura explains, “get comfortable being uncomfortable and start networking!” Attend recruiting events so recruiters can put a face to a name when looking through a pool of applicants.
  3. Nail the interview! Show that you are a leader, team player, passionate, and an excellent communicator, and most importantly be yourself!


By: Allison De Santis


Washington, D.C. Trek Recap


On October 11th-12th, CWIB attended their second trek of the semester to our nation’s capital– Washington, D.C. These ladies were fortunate enough to meet with Cvent, Capital One, and Custom Ink, gaining valuable advice and professional lessons from powerful women in different careers. They took away from each session a better idea of how their personal strengths can fit in any company, whether or not the job necessarily relates to their major. As long as you continue to strive for your goals, your career path will fall into place.

The CWIB attendees were truly able to connect with the professional women they met with, especially at Cvent and Capital One, as several Hokie alums were present! Each of these ladies provided excellent advice on how to stand out in an interview. Tori Pollard, a junior CWIB member, recalls that “They encouraged us to ask questions that enriched the conversation.” They stressed how crucial it is to engage with the interviewer in order to show your passion for the job. Neha Shah, Chief Communications Officer, really appreciated how highly all the employees spoke about their respective companies, while simultaneously describing the strenuous transition from college to the workforce. Hearing the realities of the entire job process from women who have already encountered trials and successes proved to be effective in helping the CWIB members grasp how they can prepare to do the same. Plus, it’s always wonderful to see what our Hokies are accomplishing in the real world!


Despite all the wonderful experiences at each company, Shah and Pollard both felt exceptionally welcomed at Custom Ink. “They were very caring– providing us with goodies such as a bag, a book, mugs, and even free t-shirts!” Shah said. She also felt truly empowered when the employees described their company culture. “I think the idea of playing a part in [the] execution of what someone designs and creates is an amazing job and only highlights a small portion of the sheer amount of talent in this world,” Shah told The CWIB Chronicles. Her eyes were opened to all the possibilities a particular company has to offer, as each woman’s unique skill sets are irreplaceable assets to the right business. Pollard also felt inspired through Custom Ink’s networking session as “they encouraged us to volunteer for as many new things as you can going into your job, allowing you to absorb and apply new skills that you learn.” Going above and beyond with your responsibilities, as well as eagerly anticipating new business needs, will help new employees find their place in the company and show others their passion for their work.

In order to become a thriving company, obviously there have to be some obstacles along the way, but it is only when a business embraces those difficulties that they can achieve their goals. Shah was extremely humbled when she realized Custom Ink was a start-up company a few years ago, as they “heard about some of their struggles and the belief they had in making sure the company didn’t go under.” This was very powerful to her to hear about such a genuine experience. The overall tone of the company and the way the employees carry themselves truly stuck with her, as she realized she wanted to be a part of a similar culture.

The main reason CWIB attends treks is to help empower, prepare, and connect our members to careers in the real world. Every professional encounter is a step in the right direction in determining your own goals. Pollard believed that “attending these panels and networking sessions gave me an opportunity to connect with professionals and practice my elevator speech.” Shah benefitted by exploring the different business paths. “More often than not, your major doesn’t have to do with the work you’re doing,” Shah said. For example, Shah spoke with the moderator of the Custom Ink panel, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as a graduate student in positive psychology. As a psychology minor, Shah felt “It was an interesting turn to the conversation when we started talking about Psychology and she pushed me to learn about this specific topic and reach out to her with any questions.” This perfectly shows how diverse the business world is and how various majors and minors can lead to a successful career within the broad industry.


With hearing all this amazing information, don’t you want to apply to the next trek? Shah and Pollard highly encourage all CWIB members to apply for any and all future treks. “Treks provide you with the ability to make connections with other girls in CWIB. The experience allows you to explore a new area outside of your comfort zone,” Pollard said. “I was able to bond with all the amazing, hardworking, and empowered members on this trek,” Shah said.

Visiting an amazing city, networking with successful professionals, and growing closer to your CWIB members are just three benefits of attending treks. The DC trek did not disappoint the attendees, as they gained valuable tips and made lasting memories that will serve them well in their respective future careers. This was neither Shah’s nor Pollard’s first trek, yet they both agree it was one of their favorites! DC is an ideal location for many internships, so being able to meet some of these potential employers was a great way to get their foot in the door.

All of the attendees would like to thank Cvent, Capital One, and Custom Ink for their excellent sessions and dedicated efforts in making their experiences so worthwhile! The CWIB ladies are beyond grateful to have shared this experience together, as they grew closer to fellow members, as well as get connected with the panel of professionals at each company. As always, don’t forget to listen to Shah’s advice to “dream big and know that you can make anything possible!”


By: Emma Harwood