Introducing the Women in Business club

Beth Beaudry, Student Life

“There is a lack of diversity and equity in workplaces around the world, as well as the society we live in,” said Jocelyn Rodrigues, president of the Women in Business Club (WIB). “I wanted to help form an organization that would empower our students, especially women and minorities.”

The idea of WIB came from Assistant Dean of the Pompea College of Business Candice Deal, professor Khadija Al Arkoubi and MBA advisor Mona Mehrabi, who wanted to create a platform to enhance business opportunities for women at the university. In fall 2019, they presented the idea to Rodrigues, who was a graduate assistant in the dean’s office. Rodrigues agreed to help create the organization, and although the pandemic delayed the process of becoming a Recognized Student Organization (RSO), WIB became an official club in Nov. 2020.

The organization was originally meant to be solely for students within the college of business, but it quickly expanded to include students of all programs, backgrounds and gender identities. Rodrigues said that while they want to create a platform for women, WIB is also about offering an equal opportunity for education and networking among all people. They also opened the club to a wide range of people.

“While we want to help women and minorities progress, that progress is incomplete without creating awareness and education across all majority populations, as well,” said Rodrigues. “It has to go hand in hand, otherwise it’s very hard to see progress.”

Tanu Sharma, vice president of operations and communication and marketing graduate student, said, “The main goal of Women in Business is to provide students with valuable educational and networking opportunities regardless of their major or gender identity.”

Meetings and events for WIB center around how to navigate the world of business and the challenges that women and minorities face within the workforce. During Women’s History Month, they held an event featuring “five women from different walks of life.” This included university faculty, an NFL sports manager and other women of different ages and cultures.

According to junior international business major Olivia Jimenez, vice president of mentorship and collaboration, WIB is a safe space where students can support each other, educate themselves and network. She said that she knew she wanted to be involved since the first general meeting for the club.

“The atmosphere was very welcoming and filled with people who wanted to better themselves. I knew it was something I needed to be a part of,” said Jimenez.

Similarly, Sharma liked the idea of WIB because it offered an opportunity to “support, promote, empower and recognize women in business.”

“As a News TV Producer in India, I have covered several women-related issues,” said Sharma. “And I always believed in the power of women supporting women. Women accomplish amazing things when we support each other.”

On May 6, students can look forward to Pompea EntreprenHER, a business pitch competition. It is an opportunity where competitors can promote their business, network and possibly win a cash prize.

WIB is also hoping to create a mentorship program in the future, where students can shadow a professional in their field. Rodrigues said that the university is in the progress of creating a mentorship program, and once it is complete, WIB will assist in helping students find the mentorship they need.

The Women in Business club is still new; its executive board is continuing to establish a presence on campus and is working to create more events, but its members have big plans for the club and even higher hopes for University of New Haven students.