Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Women of Isenberg holds tenth annual conference

Members commemorate ten consecutive years hosting the conference
Parker Peters / Daily Collegian.

On Saturday, March 25, the tenth annual Women of Isenberg Conference was held at the University of Massachusetts Campus Center.

Alumni, current students, faculty, staff and other members of the Women of Isenberg community gathered and commemorated the milestone of reaching ten consecutive years of the event, discussing a multitude of topics regarding the professional world.

The annual conference seeks to “[empower] college students by connecting them with alumni, sponsors and their peers in an inclusive learning environment.” The all-day event, which had over 400 attendees, opened with remarks from keynote speaker and Isenberg alumni Amy Shecter, chief executive officer at Ever/Body, a cosmetic dermatology company.

Shecter suggested a different approach to this year’s keynote address. Instead of a traditional speech, Amy answered questions posed by the conference board and the attendees. In her remarks, Shecter emphasized the importance of perseverance and overcoming the fear of rejection.

“I really do believe in the art of standing out,” Shecter said.

She recounted how she got her first post-graduate internship by writing and mailing a letter to the CEO of Bloomingdales, explaining why he needed to hire her. Despite the internship program being completely full, one week later she was hired and started her new life in New York City, where she has lived ever since.

Shecter connected this anecdote to the importance of branding yourself and the terminology one should use to do so. Instead of asking for a job, she encouraged the attendees, tell the employer why they need you.

“Standing out and not blending in is hard, no doubt about it,” Shecter said. “If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” This message was well received by the young attendees.

Sophomore finance major Mary Malloy remembered thinking, “this is my new role model,” as Shecter concluded her remarks.

Jillian Baldassini, a freshman considering a management major, found Shecter’s words to be inspiring.  “It helps knowing it’s okay to change goals,” Baldassini said.

In 2022, only 1.9 percent of all venture funding was raised by women, according to Schecter. This is a significant decrease from 2021, where women were responsible for almost four percent. Shecter is one among the very few women who have raised over $90 million in venture funds.

During the event’s luncheon, there was a panel discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion, which included a presentation with Xiomara Albán DeLobato, Alaina Macaulay and Shantel Palacio.

DeLobato, who is the current chief of staff for the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, noted her experiences encountering sexism in the workplace.

She said it hits her the hardest when sexism is enforced by other women, because it is unexpected. DeLabato said “I call out and call in,” authority leaders to check their own biases.

Palacio, an educational policy analyst for the New York City Department of Education, continued the conversation by saying, with regard to her identity, “it’s my super-power, and it’s my strength.”

“Often the voices of exclusion are far louder than the voices of inclusion,” added Macaulay, senior director of inclusion and strategic engagement for UMass in the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

This conference, celebrating its tenth anniversary, was recognized as a major milestone for the Women of Isenberg community. Malloy said all the speakers this year were “very relatable,” adding, “I liked that we had the chance to ask our own questions.”

It was junior computer science major Jasmine Ngo’s first time at the event. “I want to learn so much to be able to help others,” she said, and noted her excitement for attending next year.

Grace Lee can be reached at [email protected].

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    Amy Shecter.Mar 29, 2023 at 9:21 am

    Thanks Grace. This is such a good debrief of the day. Congrats! Well done!