At Nichols, we care deeply about developing the next generation of female leaders. What also distinguishes us is our commitment to women already in the workforce, especially those in our central Massachusetts region.
On March 24th, the College hosted its sixth annual Empowering Women in Business Conference. The event is targeted to women in local organizations and businesses. And the mix is interesting, from those early in their careers to those in senior positions.
This year 200 female business professionals gathered to network, attend seminars on business-related skills and issues, and hear keynote speaker Adrianne Haslet-Davis. Many had attended in the past, which says in no uncertain terms that we are serving a need in the community.
Over the years, successful and articulate women have provided the keynote, and this year was no exception as the audience—including myself—came face to face with an inspiring survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing four years ago. Haslet-Davis lost her left leg below the knee, a tragedy made all the more tragic because she is a professional ballroom dancer. She was determined to beat the 1,000,000 to one odds that her doctors had set for her return to that career, and she reminded the audience that when you’re told that something cannot be done, it does not reflect on you but on the teller. Adrianne did a remarkable job of describing her own personal story of survival and the will, perseverance, setbacks, and emotions that were part of her recovery and readjustment to her “new normal.”
I also attended the breakout session “Resilience,” which introduced the acronym FAIL—First Activity in Learning. The facilitator explained the importance of failing early and often, which makes us stronger and more likely to succeed because it involves both risk and learning. It made me look forward to the successful FAILING by our female students—and, for that matter, by all of our students as their Nichols education continues.