We caught up with Julia Rudolf to hear about her experience at the Harvard Women in Business Weekend in Boston which she attended through the University of Alberta Green and Gold Grant.
What conference did you attend through the Green and Gold Grant and how did this experience affect your career path?
I had the opportunity to attend the Harvard Women in Business Weekend in Boston, Massachusetts in early October of 2014. I was able to afford this amazing experience through the kindness and generosity of the Green and Gold Grant and the University of Alberta Annual Fund donors. The Women in Business Weekend provided me with a variety of networking and skill-building opportunities, as well as motivated and inspired me to pursue my wildest dreams, both personally and professionally. Let me walk you through this exciting weekend.
At the time, I was co-chair of the Network of Empowered Women, a student club at the Alberta School of Business, so I received an invitation to the International Women in Business (IWIB) Summit on October 4th. It featured interactive discussions on being a leader and on career development with a small group of 30 on-campus leaders, and saw some incredible keynote addresses. The first keynote was Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and professor at Harvard who discussed power posing and the ways in which body language shapes us. The second keynote was on the topic of negotiations and knowing your worth in the workplace, and was presented by Joanna Coles, Editor-In-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine in New York. I got to meet Joanne afterwards, too! The third keynote was presented by Wendy Kopp, Founder and Chair of Teach for America, and CEO and Co-Founder of Teach for All, about her career path in the not-for-profit sector. These keynotes were followed by discussion between delegates about leadership, particularly within a student group, as well as conversations about school, work-life balance, and entering the workforce.
The Intercollegiate Business Convention took place the next day, on October 5th. This saw 1000 students from all over the world come together for various breakout sessions as well as keynote speeches from Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon, Inc. at the time, Julie Greenwald, COO & Chairman of Atlantic Records, and Maria Eitel, President of the Nike Foundation. The keynotes were absolutely amazing, as all were incredibly accomplished, gracious, and humble leaders who shared their experiences without restraint. There was also a career fair and opportunities for downtime, where I got to meet students from other schools.
In business, your network is one of your most valuable resources. One of the greatest take-aways from the weekend is the alumni network of business leaders, present and future, from the world’s top business schools and corporations that I was able to connect with. By meeting these influential business students and corporates, I opened up new opportunities in my career and gained a new perspective on the far reaching impacts of business.
Above all, the conference left me feeling incredibly inspired and motivated to pursue new career opportunities and shoot for the starts in terms of my career development. The stories of the speakers, as well as the ability to meet empowering students from all over the world, gave me a new perspective on where I would like my career to go. I have since graduated and am now working as an accountant for EY. I’ve also recently founded a local online store called Benefair, which sells jewellery and accessories from socially conscious brands all over the world. Even today, I think back to this conference any time I need some extra inspiration, and I am still connected to the people I met at the conference on social media. This was truly an incredible opportunity, and I cannot thank the Green and Gold Grant enough for helping me experience it!