Mary Murphy (Class of 2020) serves as the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) vice president and as Darden’s ambassador to our partner organization, Forté. One of GWIB’s cornerstone events of the year, the Women’s Leadership Conference, just wrapped up several days of jam-packed content. In today’s post, Murphy shares more about the community of women at Darden — and why she’s inspired to empower others.

Interested in learning even more about GWIB at Darden? Check out our new episode of Darden Businesscasts, featuring an interview with Second Year students and GWIB board members Laura Brokaw and Lauren Shaw.

Being part of a strong community of women is something that’s always been important to me. I find a home and I find strength in female friendships.

When I came to Darden, I quickly realized that Graduate Women in Business at Darden provided great spaces for forming the kinds of connections I wanted to make with female classmates and alumni. That’s why I decided to join the GWIB board at the end of my first year.

GWIB’s mission is to empower women to be the fullest expression of themselves by creating inclusive spaces to grow authentic connections, further gender equity and forge partnerships on and off grounds. We do that by:

  • Hosting diverse events — from mixers to workout classes to an annual conference — that accelerate community development.
  • Creating a sense of belonging and fostering genuine relationships, for example, through our Second Year-First Year mentor program!
  • Increasing understanding around issues of gender equity through speakers and facilitated discussions.
  • Celebrating the intersectionality of individuals within our community in all our events.

    Women’s Leadership Conference, November 2019
  • Encouraging an inclusive classroom and academic experience. (People love our women-led exam review sessions!)
  • Partnering with male allies and the broader community within and beyond Darden to strengthen our community and our impact.

Our community of women is further strengthened by the Forte Foundation. Since Darden is a Forte sponsor school, Darden women have the opportunity to access Forte’s network of MBA women and alumni who are helping to expand the leadership pipeline for women in business, as well as a bank of recruiting resources and job postings.

The GWIB Women’s Leadership is a signature event for First Year women, and it was one of my highlights from last year. The GWIB conference is unique because, instead of being a traditional career conference, it provides First Year women the time and space to take a pause from the swirl of Darden and invest in being empowered to be their fullest selves with our community of women First Year women and alumni at Darden.

-Mary Murphy

Director of Admissions Haley Whitlock Gyory reflected on the weekend’s events, sharing:

With over 20 corporate sponsors and inspiring keynote speakers, participants donned buttons with mottos like “Girl Boss,” “We’re Stronger Together” and “Shine Bright.” Image consultant Debbie Crosby-Louis urged students not to prioritize their schedule but to schedule their priorities. I particularly resonated with Accenture’s Truly Human session that broke down our whole self into 4 dimensions — body, mind, heart and soul — and talked about how we can nurture all of these parts of ourselves. Another theme highlighted by Danaher was intersections of identity and how we juxtapose our various roles on a weekly/daily/hourly basis. The conference provided a ton of networking exposure, as well as an opportunity for renewal.

Women’s Leadership Conference, November 2019

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