The WSA Board wanted to take this time to thank the women in this organization for a very special year. We have felt very lucky to get to know and be inspired by the women of HBS and we are proud to be part of this incredible community. Over the past year, we have worked to build a community that supports and binds all professional women and we are hopeful that each of you found something in the club that spoke to you. Thank you for this opportunity and we look forward to continuing to build this wonderful network over the rest of our lives. Below please find a little bit of what we have all accomplished in 2011-2012.
Academics: Continued to shape classroom dialogue for all students by hosting student and professor-led presentations on how to overcome academic challenges and channel effective participation. Organized RC exam review sessions, which were widely attended by the majority of the RC class. Organizing an inaugural celebration for recently-tenured professors in the spirit of honoring female academics.
Admissions: Coordinated 18 prospective student lunches, January coffee chats to link admitted and current students in their hometowns, calling admitted women to congratulate them on acceptance, and connecting prospectives who reach out directly to the WSA with current students. Hosted inaugural video webinar in conjunction with the Admissions office for prospective students to ask questions of the Admissions team. Instituted women’s lunches during Admitted Students Weekend in partnership with the admissions office.
Alumni: Coordinated summer events in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle for alumnae to get together with current HBS students interning in the area. Launched a new brainstorming component to the Alumnae Advisory Board meetings (first brainstorm focused on admissions and entrepreneurship for women at HBS). Introduced new “alumni track” during the WSA Conference weekend, which included an alumni-only breakfast featuring current student entrepreneurs , an alumni-only breakout session with Professor Robin Ely, and a set of dinners between HBS alumnae hosts and current HBS students.
Buddy Program: Matched over 200 RCs to over 130 ECs with a well-attended kickoff meet and greet reception in the fall. Held a small group dinner series to build relationships between buddy groups, and engaged RCs and ECs via email with information on upcoming WSA events and useful resources for first year women.
Community Building: Continued to improve the interactions, both in quantity and quality, for members of the WSA by holding a mix of large and small interactions throughout the year. Kicked off the year with a small group dinner initiative (held once a month throughout the year) followed by a cocktail hour at Om off-campus. Held a holiday wine and cheese social to celebrate the end of first semester. Kicked off second semester with a Pinkberry social in one of the dorm lounges to continue the post-conference dialogue and provide a place for women to connect about their J-Term travels and FIELD trips. Other events included a golf outing, a Harper’s Bazaar event, and a condensed version of Harvard University’s self-defense class to empower HBS women.
Conference: Planned and executed the 21st Annual WSA Dynamic Women in Business Conference which brought record-setting ticket sales and attendees (~ 1050 women attended), amazing keynote speakers, and a wealth of inspirational conversation. Implemented changes including three additional panels, an alumni track, and an improved networking lunch.
Cross-School Interaction: Liaised with other women’s groups at Harvard in order work more effectively to serve our constituencies and help educate our memberships about opportunities outside HBS. Partnered with HLS and HKS to show screenings of the highly-publicized “Miss Representation” documentary, held an International Women’s Day networking event, hosted a champagne reception with HUWIB, and much more!
Philanthropy: Partnered with the Volunteer Club to work with Junior Achievement on a couple of occasions. Will host a lunch and dinner at Rosie’s Place which has a focus on homeless women and children as well as a coordinate our annual Clothing Drive for the less fortunate.
Professional Development and Engagement: Renewed and developed relationships with corporate partners, raising money to help support the WSA annual budget (allowing the organization to not charge dues) and host the Dynamic Women in Business Conference. Secured product donations from more than fifteen partner companies in order to provide exciting gift bags to conference registrants. Facilitated professional sessions on issues pertinent to women (e.g., McKinsey "Establishing your personal presence") and instituted EC-RC interactions via industry roundtable discussions throughout the year.
Speakers: Organized programming throughout the year to provide students with opportunities to interact with female leaders as well as develop their own professional skills. Held a series of Professor lunches with amazing women professors as well as persons of interest (i.e. Dee Leopold & Entrepreneur in Residence Gwill York). Continued engagement with the Executive Education participants, including cocktail hours with some of the larger programs. Other programming included a Faculty Research Panel regarding women in the workplace, an Entrepreneurship Panel to coincide with Field III MVP launch, Personal Finance 101 Sessions, Charlotte Beers w/ Julie Battiliana (International Women's Day Celebration), and a How to Sell Workshop.
Social Media: Successfully launched the WSA blog, twitter, and Facebook page and connected HBS women through these social channels, creating new forums for women to ask questions and have a community. Focused on generating great content via WSA blog which included an exclusive interview with Diane Von Furstenberg and others. Built a twitter followership of more than 200 people, reaching more than 20K people with posts.
Women Leaders: Organized three events to bring together female leaders of other HBS student groups to dialogue, celebrate, and support one another. Facilitated ongoing communication by providing list of this leadership and coordinating around initiatives.
WSA Reps: Facilitated bi-monthly WSA Rep meetings to support the Reps serving as liaisons between their Sections and the WSA, while also working to connect and support women at HBS. Created a first-ever ‘WSA Representative Handbook,’ to provide critical information on the WSA Rep role, the WSA organization, HBS resources, and other FAQs (modeled after the highly acclaimed Ed Rep Handbook).