I had the honor of taking a break from my engineering classes to attend this year’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Festival in New York thanks to my startup, Sci Chic, winning the 2016 SheKnows #CampusPitch competition. This event is a gathering of 400 female founders and entrepreneurs from around the country for a day of networking, panels and discussion.
The biggest thing that surprised me about this event was the extent to which I was treated as a complete equal as all of the women around me. For once I wasn’t a college engineering student who had started her own on the side company. I was an entrepreneur.
Even though there were women there with decades more experience and knowledge than me, everyone at the event completely respected me and my business. They asked for my advice and extended and arm out to connect and assist. Despite the fact I was the one awestruck with their accomplishments and ideas, they were grateful to have the chance to meet me.
The slogan of the conference rang true time and time again: Connect & Be Heard. This was not an environment to be afraid of sharing your ideas. All the women were there to promote their business, but that was not their main goal. Their primary motive was to make as many meaningful connections as possible. The conference was a safe place of encouragement and honesty. I felt connected to and heard by every women there.
I feel extremely grateful to have entered this wonderful world while still in college. This group of women gave me everything from role models to network connections to potential future employers. It felt fantastic to break out of my standard social circle of college engineers and professors and see a glimpse into the other side, the world of entrepreneurship past college. I look forward to remaining a part of this group and working to encourage more events like this one in the years to come.
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