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UWN Observes International Women’s Day at 9th Annual Women in Business Conference

A group photo featuring guest speakers from the 2023 Women in Business Conference

On March 7, The United Women’s Network (UWN) held their 9th Annual Women in Business Conference. This conference was a wonderful opportunity for many students, as the intersection of confidence and success were explored, and speakers shared their experiences through the workforce. Unique from years past, this was the first conference to be held on a Tuesday, which landed on the day right before International Women’s Day!

Raven Temple, Karina Gandhi, and Jazmin Santillan speaking to Lecturer Anna Lloyd during the 2023 Women in Business Conference panel

When selecting this year’s theme, Redefining the New Age of Confidence and Success, the United Women’s Network complied various ideas of what success and confidence look like in the workplace. The goal of this was to identify how to break barriers and develop personally and professionally.

After a warm and inspiring welcome by Interim Dean Sandy Wayne, the conference kicked off with a panel discussion featuring Karina Gandhi, Treasury Sales Associate at Bank of America, Jazmin Santillan, Quality Insurance Manager at MultiPlan, and Raven Temple, Human Resources Business Partner at True Value. Lecturer Anna Lloyd led an engaging conversation with each panelist about their personal road to success and what it looks like for each of them. The audience unanimously agreed that their insight, advice, and their journeys were “inspiring” and “valuable.” The most important tidbit, admired by many, was how all of the panelists agreed that the concept of success is constantly evolving and will change as each individual changes.

Maria Manasses, BC Accounting ’95, Deputy Chief Auditor at Grant Thornton LLP

Moreover, the conference highlighted the stories of amazing women who have overcome and accomplished so much. Attendees had the chance to hear from Karen Colley, UIC Acting Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, who reminded us to continue learning, growing, and absorbing all of the knowledge around us. Karen introduced Maria Manasses, BS Accounting ’95, Deputy Chief Auditor at Grant Thornton LLP, who served as this year’s keynote speaker. She touched on her journey of motherhood and success and how it helped instill confidence in herself and those around her.

Maria was joined by Lecturer Anna Lloyd, who moderated a fireside chat. During this discussion, Maria emphasized the importance of being bold and not letting fear overcome you. She explained how her role as a mother and the various failures she has gone through in life have helped her reach where she is now. Toward the end of her speech, Maria reflected on a letter to her younger self that reminded her, and everyone else in the room, of the importance of standing up for yourself and being brave. Maria’s work ethic and her dedication to her family gave everyone something to learn from.

A group photo taken during the 2023 Women in Business Conference

The conference concluded with Diana Soriano, Assistant Director of Advising and Retention, and Lecturer Morgan Lord from the iLEAD Professional Development Program (PDP), leading a wonderful networking session where attendees participated in various improvisational activities.

The 9th Annual Women in Business Conference was a huge success, and UWN looks forward to continuing to support and inspire the next generation of leaders and pioneers from the UIC student community.