You are here: Home / News Release Archives / 2014 / April / Students Organize, Manage Major Women's Conference on Campus

Students Organize, Manage Major Women's Conference on Campus

The annual Powerful Women Paving the Way conference—last year’s Penn State Outstanding Program of the Year—is well-attended by both women students and professionals. But what many people don’t know is that it is student-run and organized.
April 10, 2014

The annual Powerful Women Paving the Way conference—last year’s Penn State Outstanding Program of the Year—is well-attended by both women students and professionals. But what many people don’t know is that it is student-run and organized.

The conference is a program of the Women in Business (WIB) student organization, a group of Penn State women in the Smeal College of Business dedicated to increasing recruitment and retention of women in Smeal and who come together to discuss personal and professional issues pertinent to women in the corporate world.

Leah Virbitsky, the 2013-14 president of WIB, and Carter Tobin, this year’s conference director, have been working hard with their teams since last summer to make sure that this year’s conference is better than ever.

“We worked together over the summer to organize the date and the venue,” said Virbitsky. “We needed to ensure it was a good weekend, based on other Penn State-related events like Blue-White Weekend.”

Once the date and venue are set, the pair tackled the task of lining up keynote speakers and guests to lead breakout sessions. The students worked closely with Meg Brower, assistant director for corporate outreach in Smeal’s Career and Corporate Connections office, and a group of alumni to help identify possible speakers.

“Women in Business also has a lot of corporate sponsors, so we worked with them to find connections as well,” said Virbitsky.

Tobin added, “Every year after the conference, we also have people reach out and ask how they can help for next year, so that often gives us a pool of people to draw from.”

Virbitsky and Tobin have put a great deal of time into developing this year’s conference—approximately 20 hours a week, they estimate. But they haven’t done it alone. They’re assisted by about 35 general WIB student members, divided into five committees, who manage tasks related to marketing, donations, logistics, and more.

Though the conference planning process has been a very involved experience, Virbitsky and Tobin say that it has helped prepare them for the business world.

“There are so many details we didn’t really realize, and when you go on break, you still have to keep on top of planning details. It’s been really good experience for us to get ready to graduate,” Virbitsky said.

Tobin added, “It’s been really great for me personally because I’ve accepted a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and before I start I’ll have met the CEO [keynote speaker Bob Moritz].”

The Powerful Women Paving the Way conference will be held on April 24-25 on Penn State’s University Park campus. Melissa Gonzalez, founder & CEO of the Lionesque Group, will kick off the event with a networking reception.

Keynote speakers will include PwC’s Moritz as well as Beth Brooke, global vice chair of regulatory and public policy at EY, and Karen Carter, executive vice president of BP North America Gas & Power Trading. Breakout sessions will include tracks aimed at both professionals and students.

Tobin, a Supply Chain and Information Systems major, will begin her position in security consulting at PwC this summer. Virbitsky, a dual major in Supply Chain and Public Relations, has a summer internship in procurement with Altria.

For more information on the conference and to register, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/powerfulwomen.

Recent News
Smeal Names Four New Members to Its Board of Visitors 31 Oct

The Penn State Smeal College of Business has named four new members to its Board of Visitors. Joining the board are Jon Grosso, ’89, executive vice president and director of stores for Kohl’s Department Stores; Ron Morgan, ’93, co-founder of MorganFranklin Consulting; Stephen Reeves, ’81, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Enviva Holdings; and Salomon “Sal” Sredni, ’87, chief executive officer of TradeStation Group, Inc.

Deysher Named Alumni Fellow by Penn State Alumni Association 27 Oct

Bryon Deysher, a 1977 graduate of the Penn State Smeal College of Business, was one of 21 Penn State alumni recognized in early October as Alumni Fellow by the Penn State Alumni Association. Deysher is president and chief executive officer of Methods Machine Tools, Inc. and a member of the Smeal Board of Visitors.

Price-Fixing Whistleblower and FBI Informant To Deliver Shoemaker Lecture at Penn State 15 Oct

Mark Whitacre, the corporate whistleblower who revealed price fixing at Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and spent more than eight years in federal prison for tax evasion and fraud, will deliver a lecture entitled “When Good Leaders Lose Their Way” from 6 to 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 6 in 100 Thomas Building on the Penn State University Park campus.

Penn State Executive Programs Receives Gold Award for Junior Achievement Partnership 14 Oct

For its work with Junior Achievement USA, Penn State Executive Programs has won Chief Learning Officer magazine's highest executive education partnership award. The 2014 Gold award for Excellence in Academic Partnerships recognizes academic institutions that have partnered in the past year with an organization to teach its employees about a key business issue.

Urban Outfitters, Inc. Chief Development Officer Discusses Leadership and Challenges, Opportunities in the Fashion Retail Industry 10 Oct

David Ziel, chief development officer of Urban Outfitters, Inc., spoke to a full audience in the Struthers Auditorium of the Business Building today, as part of the college’s Executive Insights series.

More Recent News... More Recent News...