Power Panel Recap

Collegiate Women in Business held their 6th annual Power Panel on April 8, and first ever Zoom Virtual Power Panel, with three incredible women as the panelists: Christina Daves, Jill Mills, and Vicki Petrides. The event consisted of a Q and A moderated by our VP of Showcase, Abby Riggs. Emma Harwood’s overall impression of the Power Panel was that “the panelists were truly passionate about conveying to us that women can do anything they want in the workforce. From flying planes, to starting a business, or working in male-dominant positions, we shouldn’t be afraid to speak our ideas into truth because we have a powerful effect on those around us.” This event was inspiring and everyone that participated in Power Panel walked away with important lessons learned.  Lauren Miles’ biggest takeaway was that “if you work hard enough and are determined to succeed, you will always be able to work out your path in life.” We are so thankful to these three women for giving us insight on their experiences and memorable advice. Grace Farmelo’s favorite piece of advice was from Vicki Petrides, “you are the only one who can limit yourself.” Below is a recap of the event for those who may have missed it or want a reminder of how empowered, prepared, and connected “she is.”

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This AMAZING graphic capturing the highlights of Power Panel was created by Shannon Cabrey, one of CWIB’s founders! You can find this graphic and other creative pieces on her Instagram, @shannydooodles

What was your biggest challenge after college when entering into your new professional life?

Vicki Petrides talked about how after graduating from college she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do. She didn’t have terrific grades and found herself second guessing her abilities. Her first year in the job market she received many rejections and decided graduate school was the best move for her to find her way. While in graduate school, Vicki volunteered and tried different jobs to gain experience and find her niche. She found that she really enjoyed doing statistical work for museums because of her love for art and history. When it came to settling down in a career she had two paths available to her, working for an art consultant or as a statistician at Abbott. After some deliberation she decided working for Abbott made the most sense for her at the time because of the stability offered by the job. Her first job at Abbott wasn’t exactly statistics, but she knew she made the right choice and enjoyed working for the company. With an interest in healthcare, Vicki stayed with Abbott and continued to move up in her career!

What was the biggest disadvantage of being a woman in your industry?

As a pilot, Jill Mills is a minority being a woman in her industry. When she started her career, only 2% of her field were female. Luckily, that percentage has slowly grown to 7% but Jill  says the  “entire industry has been geared towards men, that was the norm,” and she hoped to change the status quo. Being a female pilot, she never felt she  was any different but did understand others saw her as different. In fact, Jill recalled having to take a personality test as a means of entering the aviation industry from the get go, and the results said she wasn’t fit for the job because she was too much of a girl, “well that’s a good thing!” Jill remarked. It turned out that the personality test used in the aviation industry had been skewed towards men. Jill hoped to make the aviation industry more accessible to females and saw her disadvantage not as a fight, but more a test of patience. Her advice for women in similar positions would be “figure out how you can change your field for the better.”

If you had to choose one word, what do you think “she is “ represents?

Christina Daves chose the word collaboration, believing “you should surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and collaborate with them because they will lift you up further in your career.”

Vicki Petrides chose well-connected. Being well-connected helps Vicki in her remote job because she knows who to reach out to and who she can rely on to get things done.

Jill Mills chose powerful, saying she “truly believes that ‘she is’ means girls are so much more powerful, in a gentle way,  in a sense of staying strong, committed to your path and having a powerful inner self.”

What is one thing “she is” not?  

Christina said “she does not give up.” As an entrepreneur, Christina has inevitably been faced with moments where she wanted to give up. She was trying to market her CastMEdic designs but had been facing 5 months of “many doors closed.” Just as she wanted to give up, she received an email inviting her on the Steve Harvey show, an opportunity that launched her business. Christina said “you’re  going to fail, it’s a fact of life, but that’s okay as long as you grow and move forward from it.”

Vicki said “she is not at a disadvantage being female. As a woman in STEM, Vicki believes she is  actually at an advantage because she stands out and  people remember her. Vicki noted that “being a woman is something to be proud of, you bring a perspective others may not have if in a male dominated field.”

Jill said “she is not  incapable,” women should “stick to the course, stay with the course, and prove them wrong”.

If you could give your college self one piece of advice what would it be?

Christina said she would have told herself to “just ask!” Christina believes most people won’t tell you no because they probably want to help.

Vicki would have told herself to network more and not be afraid to tell people what you want! When she was in college she felt shy about networking. Now being on the flip side, she says that regardless of age or where you are in your career many people are eager to help you.

Jill would have told her younger self to embrace college. “Let the stress and struggles mellow down, because these lead you down a path to exactly where you’re supposed to go.”

As a woman, how do you balance your career with your personal life?

According to Jill, if you have a big goal understand that there will be sacrifices. She said “you may have to miss some events with friends as you are progressing in your career and in life.” All three women could agree choosing a partner who supports you and your goals is incredibly important to maintaining a balanced life. Christina has sought to be a role model for her daughter and her son as far as showing him what a strong woman looks like. As women, choosing a partner who believes in us as much as we do helps our own careers flourish, as well as represents to our kids what it looks like to be successful in work and life.

What are your thoughts on glass ceiling issues for women?

All three women agreed they don’t believe there is a glass ceiling for women anymore. Vicki believes that “you can only really limit yourself, don’t let anyone tell you no!” Jill replied, “ Women have been successful, we have the ability to do anything despite getting ‘no’s’ along the way.”

What are your future goals?

Christina has more recently discovered her true passion of speaking to people and helping them achieve their goals, she hopes to continue doing this as long as she can!

Vicki hopes to promote the voice of other statisticians to let them know they have a lot to contribute and can have a huge influence on the way the company and industry goes.

Jill dreams of flying bigger planes in the coming years, as well as focusing on giving back and being a part of the future of aviation.

Thank you so much to Christina, Jill, and Vicki for sharing their stories and inspiring pieces of advice with us! We will take your encouraging statements with us as we pursue our careers and believe we can achieve the goals we have for ourselves.

By: Lindsay Barnes


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Your Passions and Your Projects

Some lucky people find their passions in high school and go on to major in Biology or English with a specific career in mind. The majority of us, however, know a little about what we are good at and what we like to do, but not the career path that best fits us. Especially in the arena of business, there are so many avenues to take and paths to take them. Sometimes, it’s hard to stay inspired when your classes aren’t quite what you thought they would be or you are not exactly sure what job you want to work toward. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you find more purpose in your work and bring your passions into what you do daily.


   1. What feels like it has purpose and what feels like an obligation?

There are a lot of opinions thrown around about careers, but only you know what feels best for you. Of your classes and extracurriculars, what do you like to do best? What feels fun, easy, or like a welcome challenge? On the flip side, what feels like something you have to do instead of something you get to do? We tend to lean towards what we are good at and interested in. I suggest making a list of positions, activities, skills, and atmospheres you like and comparing that list to possible career options.

Maybe you are in a leadership role with your sorority and you love working with a primarily female organization, so you look for that in a career path. Or you volunteer with kids and would love to be involved with education but don’t see yourself as a teacher. These are all important things to know when thinking about what you want to do with your life.

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2. Are there any obligations you can get rid of? 

As we are currently in the middle of a pandemic, most events and obligations have been canceled. So maybe the better question is this: Of the activities you had before, what do you not miss? Of course, obligations are a part of life and there is something to be said for trying new things, taking a class you know nothing about and resume building, but as far as your future career, what would you prefer it not involve? As I like to tell myself, it is just as important to know what you dislike as it is to know what you really enjoy.

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3. Are there any projects/activities you are passionate about that you can add to            your schedule?

With the current state of events, as well as summer on the horizon, hopefully you have a little more time on your hands. Now is the perfect opportunity to begin a new venture — something you have been wanting to do, but always thinking it wasn’t the right time. Maybe it’s an art project, a side hustle, a blog, an Instagram account about plants — really anything you feel passionate about wish you had more time for in regular life. It is also a great time to research companies and organizations you are interested in or hope to work for in the future.

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4. What is your end goal? 

It might seem like an obvious question, and most of us would probably just say a job, but reflecting on what you really want in life can help you put your career path in context. Is climbing the corporate ladder your goal? Do you want to go to a nine-to-five for most of your life? Does where you want to live have jobs you are interested in? Would you prefer working from home or going to an office everyday? Would you like flexible hours or do you need more structure? Even within specific disciplines, there are numerous concentrations and companies that all do things a little bit differently.

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5. Do you want a career with your passions or a side hustle?

Although our skills and passions overlap, you may find yourself really good at a job you don’t completely love. That does not mean you have to force yourself to love it or even stay in that field. If you don’t mind it, maybe make your passion your side hustle and keep your job to help fund that project.

While college is a vital starting point for your career and future, the job you get right out of school doesn’t determine the rest of your  life. As you probably know from successful business men and women – people rarely stick with the path they start on, and that’s okay! You may change your career drastically multiple times throughout your life. What matters now is that you explore what interests you and what you may be able to do with those interests and skills you have.

By: Grace Farmelo


Power Panel Preview: Getting to Know Your Panelists

It’s that time of the year again! Power Panel, on April 8th from 7 to 8 pm via Zoom, is back for another year to celebrate the key values of CWIB; empower, prepare, and connect. Our inspiring panelists, all women in business who excel in their careers, will go live online to speak to their own experience in the workforce, take questions, and offer advice for navigating the modern working world as a woman. Learning from those who came before you is a valuable opportunity, so don’t forget to ask questions and get engaged during the event. Each of these ambitious women have a unique story they are excited to share with our members at the panel, but before then, here is a little bit of background on our speakers.

christina davesChristina Daves

Hometown: Northern Virginia

Education: Virginia Tech

Hobbies/ side hustles: Spending time outside, taking boxing classes, and mentoring students as a member of the Virginia Tech Marketing Board. She also features products on TV as an on-air spokesperson.

Role Model: Her grandmother, who moved from Russia to Berlin during the Bolshevik Revolution to start a new life. She endured Nazi rule in Germany, while being of Jewish faith, and even after horrible treatment from relatives who joined the Nazi party, she persevered and learned to forgive those family members. “She taught me to be strong, to always believe in yourself, do the right thing and the rest will happen.”

Christina Daves is the founder of PR for Anyone® and CastMedic Designs. In her role as a PR agent at PR for Anyone®, Daves helps businesses improve their social media presence by teaching people how to publicize their skills and knowledge online. This helps businesses quickly gain exposure and bring in many new customers.

When asked how she arrived at this point in her career, Daves claimed it was mostly by accident. After graduating college and losing her father to cancer, she let go of a potential job in Germany to pursue entrepreneurship. She planned events, sold real estate, and started a company that performed feasibility studies for potential buildings. Then, after owning a retail store with a friend for 10 years, she sold her share and befell an accident that put her in a medical boot. This boot was the beginning of CastMedic Designs. Daves found the boot to be an eyesore and designed fashionable ways to decorate it. Bringing her product idea to the marketplace, she realized that she had to educate her consumers about her new product and taught herself public relations techniques for social media. She and her product have been featured on many popular news outlets, like FOX and NBC, as well as a variety of magazines and newspapers. Noticing her success, people began to call her and ask for help gaining exposure for their own businesses. From there, PR for Anyone® was born.

In terms of obstacles in her life and career, Daves claims that as an entrepreneur, “you always have to be ready to pivot.” Losing her father was one of her greatest obstacles in life, but it has helped to shape who she is today. Her advice on facing life’s challenges is to learn how to “fail forward” and learn from your mistakes, as well as realizing that sometimes you may have to be patient and persistent to get what you want.

On another note, one of her greatest successes was publishing her two books, the second of which hit the #1 spot on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She also enjoys seeing her clients experience success from her PR services. She credits some of her current success to her experience as an officer for the Chi Omega sorority at Virginia Tech, in which the national branch implemented a system she had designed for her own chapter. This has given her the confidence to put her business ideas to the test and move forward from failure.To anyone looking to pursue a career in public relations, Daves says that “you don’t always have to follow the system.” By teaching herself the skills she needed to know, she created her own system and shares it with others. Hard work and adaptability are key, especially for women entering the workforce.

For Christina Daves, ‘She Is’ means that women support one another and collaborate in the workplace. “When women collaborate and lift one another up, magic happens!”

jill millsJill Mills

Hometown: Born in Kansas City, Missouri. Lives in Virginia currently

Education: Virginia Tech

Hobbies/ side hustles: Running, triathlons, snowboarding, and mountain climbing. In her spare time, she lobbies for aviation and international safety issues as a member of the Technical Staff for Flight Safety Foundation. She also fund-raises for kids with cancer and heart disease at an organization she co-founded, Swing For A Cure.

Role Model: Her career role model is Jane Garvey, the Federal Aviation Administration Chief and a leader in the aviation industry. In her personal life, she looks up to her dad, Joseph Hahn, “for his tenacity and huge dreams.”

Jill Mills is a 737 Captain and Line Check Airman at United Airlines. In her position as Captain, she coordinates all teams needed for a flight and ensures that the plane is flown to its destination on time. Her ability to collaborate with others is crucial, as she works with many different departments, including flight planning, maintenance, flight attendants, and ground personnel. As a Line Check Airman, she flies with new pilots and upgrading Captains on behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration and as a representative of the flight training program.

Mills gained experience with flying early in life, and confesses to life-long love of planes. Coming from a military family, she has fond memories of flying with her dad and brother on weekends. She did not believe that her love of flying could lead to a career in aviation at the time, because women did not fly in combat. That was until she discovered the ‘general aviation program,’ which offered a career in flight outside of the military. After graduating from the Pamplin School of Business at VT, she made her way through flight school, taught others how to fly, and flew corporate jets as a way of gaining experience before applying to fly at a commercial airline.

As a female pilot, Mills faced many obstacles. When she began her career, women only made up 2% of the industry. In fact, she claims some people would leave the plane before take-off upon discovering that she was a woman, or would mistake her for a flight attendant. But, she credits her father for encouraging her and recollects that he “did not see any difference between the boys and me.” She also endured many common challenges for all pilots, including passing her flying skill test and long hours, but those experiences ultimately helped her gain respect from her colleagues. Regardless of what has stood in her way, she has chosen to see “the humor in most of the negatives,” and still loves her career.

Mills is proud to have been both an instructor and a Captain for a major airline. She also enjoyed knowing that she made a difference in her industry after the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill passed, since she lobbied on different aspects of the bill for many years. Mills believes that aviation is an amazing field of work because it combines so many different interests from the world of business. Her business degree has helped her explore other areas of work in her industry, such as hiring, safety, and lobbying. It also broadens the horizons of business and allows it to run smoothly across the world. In her words, pilots “literally move the world.”

To be successful as a pilot, she says you must have a stellar work ethic and ability to focus on the goal at hand, because “once you make a plan, it’s like being dropped off in the middle of the snowy woods without anyone there to help.” Being strong and not letting obstacles take you off track from your objective are also key characteristics of a good pilot. Mills encourages anyone entering the working world to discover what you love to do and “make it your life!” And, that it’s okay if that takes some time because if you listen to your heart, you can always make your dream a reality.

For Jill Mills, ‘She is’ means that women can do anything if they “work hard enough and dream big enough.” At her place of work, she illustrates ‘She is’ when she puts her Captain’s uniform on, because she knows how much work it took to earn it.

vickipetridesVicki Petrides

Hometown: Born in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Currently lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Education: University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and University of Cincinnati

Hobbies/ side hustles: Spending time with family, biking, swimming, and gardening to name a few. Skiing is also one of her favorite activities.

Role Model: Her father, Lee Hill. He has always inspired her to be at her best and gave her the confidence to follow her dreams. She remembers the lessons in business he taught her and her sister while they were growing up, including how to give a proper handshake and how to debate sensitive issues. She believes that he continues to teach his grandchildren these lessons, as well.

Vicki Petrides is the Principal Research Statistician for Abbott Laboratories. As a statistician, she designs studies to assess the performance of laboratory diagnostic tests. She also reviews and summarizes the results of those tests and explains the results to regulatory authorities. Her role requires her to interact with scientists, doctors, engineers, marketers, and regulator professionals across the globe. She is also the Statistical Working Group Co-Chair for AdvaMed, a medical device industry trade association. As Co-Chair, she organizes an annual joint statistical conference between the FDA and her industry and consults on issues affecting the diagnostic industry.

When asked about her career path, Petrides explained that she took a job at Abbott after graduate school based on her interest in health care research. She recollects that this was a groundbreaking time for medical research, as Abbott was developing a drug to help HIV patients that was being reviewed by the FDA. This exciting development inspired Petrides to continue working at Abbott, where she continues to enjoy the exciting work her industry offers. A source of pride for Petrides in her career was when she became the lead statistician on Abbott’s cardiac troponin test. She was working on this project as research on troponin’s effectiveness at diagnosing heart attacks was being published. Allowing the use of troponin for heart attacks “transformed standard medical practice” and continues to do so today. She appreciates knowing that she contributed to the improvement of cardiac disease care, especially since her family has a history with the disease.

One of the most notable challenges in Petrides career was balancing her work life and her family life after the birth of her first daughter. She asked to work part-time after returning from maternity leave, but her boss asked if she could work full-time from home three days per week, instead. She says that the challenge made her feel “simultaneously excited and nervous,” but that the situation ended up working well for her. Her experience as one of the first people in her organization to work remotely actually helped her to succeed in her career because instead of setting her back, it provided her with an opportunity to explore a new method of working that elevated her skills and productivity in the eyes of her colleagues and superiors.

To anyone looking to join her in her field of work, Petrides says that statistics is always exciting and versatile in the way it can be applied to other fields. She claims that she once considered pursuing a career in assessing museum visitor experience satisfaction, and that she knew classmates that became economists and survey research scientists. Young women interested in statistics should be confident, according to Petrides. New employees often make the mistake of spending too much time solving a problem by themselves or of pretending to know more than they really do. You must learn to ask for help, foster relationships, and celebrate successes. “Enjoy yourself and keep in mind what is most important to you.”

To Vicki Petrides, ‘She Is’ means that women are valuable team members with great ideas. Women are leaders “who take measured risks, seek new challenges, and overcome what others perceive as obstacles.” At her place of work, she demonstrates ‘She Is’ by being a spokesperson for her colleagues and promoting their skills, mentoring, and giving her colleagues the same kind of confidencer her father gave her.

After getting to know a little bit about these fantastic women, I am sure you are excited to hear from them face-to-face! If you would like to hear more about their professional journeys, their struggles, and their triumphs, make sure to tune in on April 8th at 7pm, using this Zoom link https://cwibchronicles.us16.list-manage.com/track/click?u=99609e65f0e244bc90f6fa6c0&id=1108105b98&e=738cb4ddf8. If you want to keep up to date with the event details, check out the Facebook event page here, https://cwibchronicles.us16.list-manage.com/track/click?u=99609e65f0e244bc90f6fa6c0&id=29cf362ec6&e=738cb4ddf8.

By: Lauren Miles 

Prepare for Next Fall: Tips and Resources to Help you During Course Request

It is that time again; time to start thinking about next semester and to start developing your class schedule for the fall. At the moment, it may seem that next fall is so far away and we are not quite sure what next semester will entail. During these stressful times I wanted to write about resources I found that helped me create my schedule for the next semester. The process can be stressful because you feel like you don’t have time to see your advisor while trying to create the perfect schedule with no time conflicts. I know many of us are organized students and I am sure some of you may already know these things, but I wanted to put all of the important information in one area for anyone that has questions or needs more guidance! I hope you find this helpful and hopefully by the end of the article you will feel confident, or more confident, in creating your schedule for next fall. I hope by next semester we will all be back in Blacksburg and attending the football games!

course requestThe first thing we should start with is where can you find out when Course Request opens, and when does it close. The best place to receive this information is on your Virginia Tech email. Typically, your advisor will send out an email the day course request opens. In that email it will say when it will close and resources you can use for help. The image on the left is taken from the email that my advisor sent me with the course request information! Since Virginia Tech has moved classes online, your advisors should be offering 15 minute Zoom virtual meetings. If you would like to schedule a Zoom meeting, you need to reach out to your advisor in order to know their availability. This may not seem ideal for some, and some of you may like seeing your advisor in person, but each of Virginia Tech’s colleges will help you in any way that they can considering the circumstances. Otherwise, if you have any questions I would recommend you simply just email your advisor. Your academic advisor is the best resource to start with if you have any questions or concerns regarding your academics. Thankfully, they have given us two weeks to complete Course Request instead of one, so you don’t have to feel rushed or pressed for time! Another resource with useful information regarding Course Request is from the daily emails from each of the colleges (i.e. Pamplin or the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will send daily email updates with on-goings related to the specific college your major is in). They may feel monotonous, and I know that in the past I disregarded these emails and just labeled them as spam, but they have useful information such as event dates and information regarding academic advising. I would suggest reading these emails if you aren’t clear about something.

The best resource, once you have figured out an idea of what courses you should be taking, is the TimeTable of classes. This is used to look up courses in the fall and see what times they are offered. This is a great resource I like to use because it will give you the CRN number of the classes you look up, and this is helpful because for Course Request, you only type in the CRNs for all of the courses you would like to take. This is also where you can see at what times the courses you are interested in are offered and from here you can start to piece together your schedule with ease! The next resource to go to is your four-year plan schedule that is typically made by your advisor. This has been one of the most helpful things for me when I am trying to plan my schedule for the next semester. I am a visual person, so it is nice for me to see my four year plan laid out in front of me so I can physically see what each semester of mine will entail. Another helpful thing about this is it provides the course number, which you need for Course Request and it will also inform you of particular classes where you need to get a C- or better in. Personally I always like to make sure which classes are the ones where a C- is required for planning purposes.

My last tip is to talk with your peers, friends, and professors. This can be helpful if you want to know for example, if there is a certain professor that is recommended for a specific class. This has been helpful for me in the past and has made my class schedule a lot better. A great resource especially for CWIB members is to consult your peer mentor if you have one. Do not hesitate to reach out to them with any quesImage2articletions or concerns, because I am sure they would be willing to help as much as they can, and I say this because I am a peer mentor myself and I always like helping as much as I can! In the past, I have also used my friends for help, as we try to plan out our schedules so we request certain classes together. It is always nice to have a friendly face in your classes! In the last article I wrote, I discussed the benefits of studying with friends. Having classes with your friends is always helpful and has helped me so far in my six semesters at Tech. I don’t know how I would have gotten through certain classes without having the help of my peers.

As said earlier, I am sure most of us know how this process works and are very apt in doing it with no help, but I remember my freshman year when I was stressed out because I was worried I would forget about Course Request, or I would  not complete it correctly, so I hope that someone in CWIB finds this helpful. Lastly, I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe especially during these difficult times! Like I said earlier, hopefully we all find each other back in Blacksburg in the fall!

By: Ashley Mattson

Business Fashion

When entering the workforce for the first time or switching jobs, figuring out what to wear and when to wear it can be a struggle! Work attire can differentiate between companies, job types, seasons, and occasions. In this article, we will explore 4 different business fashion dress codes and when to wear them.


Casual business attire might be worn if you work in an informal office where many of your co-workers may wear t-shirts, jeans, etc. However, even if your workplace has a casual dress code, you should avoid dressing down when meeting with clients or in interviews. Things you can wear in a casual work environment include: t-shirts, blouses, sweaters, jeans, cropped pants, or khakis. Shoes may include sneakers, low heels, or sandals. Casual does not mean inappropriate or sloppy, so make sure to avoid wearing stained, wrinkled, overly revealing, or offensive clothes. The following pictures show two examples of casual attire.

Smart Casual

Smart casual is another form of casual business attire but with a stylish twist. This dress option incorporates trendy pieces to elevate a casual outfit into a more semi-formal one. This dress code is often very similar with casual and business casual attire, however the main difference is the incorporation of trends and statement pieces  for jewelry/accessories, as this makes you look cleaner and more put together than casual, while allowing more flexibility than business casual. Smart casual is a very versatile dress code with lots of options! Some items include dresses, sweaters, trousers, skirts, blouses, heels, flats, jewelry, and scarves. Footwear can remain casual as well — flats and open toed shoes are appropriate.

smart casual photo
Smart Casual attire


Business Casual

Business casual is very common in many offices and is a great default dress code when unsure what to wear to a particular setting. Business casual is a step down from a business professional look but is still very polished and professional. Business casual is suitable for luncheons, meetings, and the like. It is often seen at technology companies, as well as marketing or public relations departments. Common business casual clothing items include dress pants, khakis, blouses, and tailored blazers that achieve a balance between professional and relaxed. In terms of footwear, stay away from open-toed shoes and stick with either flats or low heels. Opt for neutral colors such as in a business professional dress code, but you can add small pops of color through accessories.

business casual
Business Casual attire


Business Professional

Business professional attire is generally a more conservative and formal look to portray yourself in a professional manner. This dress code is more traditional and is very common in industries such as accounting, banking, finance, government, or law. Typically, women can wear a skirt or dress of appropriate length with pantyhose, a neat top, a blazer, a pantsuit, appropriate heels (typically no higher than 3 inches is a good rule of thumb), or tidy flats. Minimal jewelry and belts can be used to accessorize! When dressing in business professional attire it is recommended to stick with more neutral colors such as black, grey, tan, navy blue and white. This dress code is very typical for interviews and high-level meetings.

business professional
Business Professional attire

Generally, an interview calls for business professional attire. The more important thing to consider when you’re dressing for a job interview is that you need to look professional and polished regardless of the type of position you’re seeking. As college students, this is very important because it shows that you know how to behave professionally. How you dress yourself for an interview will give off a particular first impression and you want this to be a positive one! I’m sure you all have heard the saying, “Dress for success,” or “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Keep these in minding when deciding upon your interview attire.

Now that you know the different kinds of business dress codes, you may be wondering how do I know which to follow? After being hired by a company the easiest way to figure out the dress code is to just ask! It may feel awkward, but feel free to ask your interviewer, supervisor, or human resources representative because it would be a lot more awkward showing up underdressed or overdressed!

As more and more companies switch to telecommuting many interviews may take place over zoom or videoconference. Remember, you still need to look professional even if it is just what is seen on the screen. For example, sweats and slippers on the bottom are okay, but you need to retain a professional, clean, showered, and polished look on top as you would normally. However, if an interview is taking place over a video conference it is most likely unnecessary to wear business professional attire such as wearing a full suit, but you must still look presentable by wearing a nice blouse and some jewelry.

As members of CWIB, we are so lucky to have a big, supportive group of women to back us up and give us advice. If you’re still feeling unsure about your workplace attire, don’t be afraid to ask anyone with job or internship experience! Reach out to friends and co-workers to get their advice on which styles would help employers perceive you best when interviewing or at various business events! Don’t forget to have fun with your personal style! Personalize your outfits in ways that represent who you are, while sticking to the guideline presented in this article.

By: Lindsay Barnes