Female CEO speaks at Women in Business Conference

Lizzy Heurich

The Villanova Women in Business Society, in partnership with the Clay Center at the Villanova School of Business, hosted “Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling,” the third annual Villanova Women in Business Conference on Nov. 9.

The conference was held in Connelly Center and was open to people who had preregistered online or registered on the night of the event.

Students, faculty, and alumnae were all welcome to attend and make connections.

The night kicked off with the keynote speaker, 37-year-old Ariane de Bonvoisin, and followed with two breakout sessions.

De Bonvoisin is the founder and CEO of First30Days, which is a media company that aids people through diverse personal, professional, social or global changes.

The company is based in New York City and says it has already helped over half a million people.

De Bonvoisin, who has a unique accent due to listening to her French and Belgian parents, living in Asia, and going to college at the London School of Economics, had a successful business career prior to founding her company.

By the age of 28, she was the managing director at Time Warner.

De Bonvoisin also penned the book, “The First 30 Days,” which has been showcased in the Oprah Magazine and on CNN, Fox, CBS, and the Today Show. Every attendee of the conference received a copy.In her book, de Bonvoisin voices her view on change and the transition that can accompany it. Included in the book were her nine principles of change, many of which offer positive outlooks on change.

She began the speech referencing the anniversary of the Berlin Wall being torn down.

“A lot of walls have fallen since then,” de Bonvoisin said, referring to her own life.

One point de Bonvoisin brought to the attention of the audience is that excuses are obstacles to accepting change.

She said people who excel at accepting change do so with a positive attitude and their own set of beliefs.

“If no one had ever said or mentioned [glass ceiling], we would be better off,” de Bonvoisin said.

De Bonvoisin topped off her speech by revealing her upcoming plans for her new book, entitled “A Foot in Both Worlds,” which will deal with the topic of how to be an active participant of both the business world and the spiritual world.

After de Bonvoisin’s speech, the attendees of the conference were able to choose two breakout sessions.

The choices were Campus to Corporate: A Program for Students to Create a Confident Personal Image; Smart is Cool and You Can Rule: Women Entrepreneurship; Doing Good in Your Neighborhood: Bringing Philanthropy to Your Work and Life; and Estas Lista?: Preparing for an International Career.

The breakout sessions covered first impressions during interviews, barriers that women face when starting their own business and tips on how to prepare for an internship or business study-abroad opportunity.

Running the sessions were businesswomen and students.

Running the Estas Lista? session were seniors Rachel Droller and Rebecca Masinde and juniors Leslie Graham and Jill Moynihan.

All four have studied abroad, and Droller has completed four internships.

“What’s great about events such as this is that it gives women the chance to meet and learn from other women,” said Michelle Galloway, assistant director of Professional Development at the Clay Center. “One of the most important things women, and anyone, can do while they are in school is to build their professional network. Every student should learn how to effectively market herself in person so that employers and colleagues know who they are and what they can do.”

Galloway suggests that students in college find a mentor in the field of business that they would like to enter upon graduation.

About 100 women were in attendance, including freshman Andrea Zinn, a student in the business school and a member of the Villanova Women in Business Society.

“I hope this will be a successful learning experience so that I can develop my skills in the field of business,” Zinn said.