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 


“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?”

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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 

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!


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

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

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