By Rachel Askinasi, for the Mitzpeh, @raskinasi
The second annual Jewish Women’s Leadership Conference was held on March 8 at Hillel. Participants attended seminars that were geared toward a variety of professional world readiness, conference co-chair, Emily Shreck, said.
This year, conference organizers decided to alter the nature of the speaker and discussion sessions to make them more specific. Unlike last year, when participants learned how to negotiate salaries and build resumes, students this year got to learn how to make the most out of their college experiences by doing leadership activities with the speakers instead of just listening to them, said Shreck, a junior family science and criminology and criminal justice double major. She said this year’s conference was more beneficial for freshmen than last year’s, which was more beneficial for seniors.
This year’s three-hour conference was meant to help students not only prepare for their futures in the business world, but also learn how to get the most they can out of their college experiences and classes. It was a more proactive approach to the goals of last year’s conference, and board members said it was more beneficial as well. It included two graduate panels, keynote speaker Rebecca Shimoni-Stoli and several other program speakers.
Shimoni-Stoli is the Washington correspondent for the Times of Israel and a PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University. She spoke mostly about being persistent in pursuit of her dream to make aliyah. Despite being told “no” because she was a woman and was “too old,” she talked her way into the Israeli Defense Forces and worked her way up the ranks from secretary to leader of a combat unit.
Emily Griminger, public relations and marketing chair for the conference, said attendees received a list of visiting alumni and other professionals ahead of time. This way, they were able to come prepared with questions, resumes and goals.
While the focus of the conference was women, men were also welcomed. Griminger said speakers focused on topics to help both men and women succeed in business.
Historically, women and Jews in general were often criticized in different aspects of the business world, Griminger said.
The oppression of women in the past can have such negative effects on a Jewish woman’s confidence, Shreck said. A goal of this conference was to raise that confidence level for these women.
“Now, it’s cool to see a lot of big names actually being Jewish women,” said Griminger, a junior psychology major. “They have a presence in the professional world. It’s good for young women who will be entering that world within the next decade or so.”