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October 17 , 2003

MHC to Hold Third Annual Leadership and Career Conference

Keynote speaker Alison Levine

Mount Holyoke’s third annual Leadership and Career Conference will take place October 24–25. Students will have the opportunity to hear from prominent women in a wide range of fields, including politics, medicine, business, finance, psychology, technology, creative arts, and nonprofits. This year’s conference will highlight the how-to of career building and developing a personal leadership vision, according to Maria Lim ’05, co-chief development officer for the event. Speakers will provide information on recent trends in particular fields, give guidance on how to build networks and develop skills necessary to obtain internships and jobs after graduation, and share insights on opportunities for women’s leadership in their fields.

The con ference is organized by the MHC Leadership and Career Mentoring Network, a joint venture between MHC alumnae and MHC students. Founded in September 2000 by a team of MHC alumnae, the network partners with the College on programs to advance opportunities for leadership and career success of MHC students and alumnae. Lim is one of approximately 20 student volunteers who are gaining valuable experience organizing the conference. She explained that students raise funds for the event from academic departments; student organizations; and the Weissman Center for Leadership and the Liberal Arts, the Alumnae Association, the Career Development Center, and the Offices of the President and the Dean. She is pleased that several graduates who attended the initial conference three years ago will be returning this year as speakers. "They are pioneers from the first conference," she said.

"This is Mount Holyoke in its essence: a group of very talented and generous alumnae who, on top of crazy lives, come to give undergraduates access they wouldn’t otherwise have, to first-hand information about careers," Scott Brown, director of the College’s Career Development Center, said. "The alumnae have one of the most compelling and credible voices students will hear."

"Our aim for this conference is to empower Mount Holyoke women to explore, find, and move toward their unique leadership and career vision," said Analisa Balares ’99, a founder of the Leadership and Career Mentoring Network.

"Through the conference, we aim for students to network and connect with role models, potential mentors, future champions, and people who could be sources of inspiration, support, and opportunities. Students will gain information on their fields of interest so they can make the best choices for themselves, as well as gain insights and strategies to enhance their success in this competitive environment."

Alison Levine, a successful businesswoman who in spring 2002 led the first team of American women to climb Mount Everest, will give the keynote address, "Climbing Mount Everest: Lessons on Leadership, Teamwork, and Realizing Vision Against All Odds." A survivor of multiple heart surgeries, Levine began mountain climbing in order to stay healthy. She has climbed the highest peaks in six continents. "Many of the strategies employed in the business world are the same strategies used when climbing the world’s highest peaks," said Levine. "Leadership, teamwork, communication, and a drive to be successful are equally important in the jetstream as in corporate America. And a good sense of humor is always essential when there’s a serious lack of oxygen!" Levine has an M.B.A. from Duke University, has worked for several companies including Goldman Sachs, and now runs her own business. She recently worked on Arnold Schwarzeneger’s campaign for governor of California.

Levine’s address is sponsored by the Weissman Center. The conference is the kick-off event for the Weissman Center’s Women and Business Initiative. "Analisa Balares and her team have developed an incredible network," said Professor of English Chris Benfey, codirector of the Weissman Center. "They put together a program not just for students with an interest in business, but with leadership interests in third-world development and other fields."


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