Happy International Women’s Day! In honor of the day, we recently caught up incoming Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) club President, Laura Brokaw, ’20, to talk more about how the organization has shaped her Darden experience. Check out Laura’s answers below, and catch up on our recent GWIB coverage – GWIB Newsletter / Catching Up with GWIB.

What is the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) club? GWIB is open to all members of the Darden community, and it is a dues-free club that’s dedicated to promoting the success of women in business. Its mission is to empower women to be their best selves to achieve success at Darden and beyond, while catalyzing change and promoting gender equity within the Darden community.

GWIB provides students with academic support, opportunities to network with alumnae, career exploration resources, social events and health and well-being activities throughout the academic year. While some events, such as the First Year Leadership Conference, are exclusively for women, most other events, such as Gender Equity Week and exam review sessions, are open to the entire student body.

How has GWIB shaped your Darden experience?

GWIB has most shaped my Darden experience by being a consistently positive and encouraging presence over the past year, in what feels like almost every aspect of the Darden experience.

When I first arrived at the school, I was welcomed to Darden with a handwritten note from the GWIB board in my mailbox. The GWIB-led review sessions have really helped me feel prepared for exams, and the First Year Leadership Conference brought me closer to the women in my section while encouraging me to be my best, authentic self.

However, beyond the events that GWIB has hosted, just seeing confident, capable women in leadership positions at school, setting the example for First Year students that success as a female in business includes being authentic, supportive to others, and taking care of all parts of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally, has been so inspiring. It can be easy to get swept up in all of the excitement and pressures of business school, so it is great to have a group of incredible women to remind you to stay in touch with who you are at your core.

What attracted you to serving on the GWIB Leadership team?

First, I have so much respect for the current GWIB leadership team, the way they have run the organization, and the impact they have had on the Darden community. Darden has a real emphasis on student leadership, and I know that a huge part of my amazing First Year experience was the direct result of the hard work put in by the Second Year students. I wanted to help give that back to the next class. One of the primary reasons I came to Darden was to learn and practice being a better leader. Club leadership is an impactful way to further develop those skills while having lower stakes than a job to learn, and I jumped at the opportunity to serve on the GWIB leadership board.

Additionally, supporting confident, empowered women is something that I have felt strongly about for a long time. I had the privilege to grow up in a family that very much supported me and encouraged me to set my aspirations without regard to stereotypical gender expectations, which is something I very much embody.

Lastly, for the past three years before Darden I worked for a non-profit that supports and trains indigenous women living in strongly gendered cultures to be independent business leaders. Seeing the impact on both households and entire communities when women are given equitable opportunities has been absolutely inspiring and encouraging for me.

Additional Reading: Be sure to to review the recent profiles of three of the international women in our community on the Darden Report!