Each of Darden’s five First Year sections (A – E) has a number of student leadership roles, including positions such as an overall section representative (similar to a section president), social representatives, a treasurer, a career representative, an international representative, a diversity representative and a gender equity representative. These leadership roles are responsible for keeping their sections apprised of what’s going on at Darden and conversely, sharing with the rest Darden what their section is up to.

Haley Whitlock Gyory, Director of Women’s Recruiting, explained the gender equity roles, “these are elected positions designed to keep gender issues at the forefront of discussion in the classroom and beyond. It often happens organically, but these women make it their focus to raise questions like ‘how would this case differ if the protagonist were a woman of color?’ etc.”

Class of 2023 Gender Equity Reps Niha Pendurthi, Raimat O Amosu and Charlotte Margel recently shared Q&As about what it’s like to serve in this elected role. They also participated in the annual Graduate Women in Business Leadership Conference, and shared their reflections on the two day event.

Raimat Olamide Amosu, Class of 2023

Name: Raimat Olamide Amosu

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Pre-Darden Background: Marketing and Strategy in Africa’s Technology Industry

Post-Darden Goals: Short-term Product Marketing in Big Tech and long-term goal is to help drive technology adoption in Africa and help train more women in technology

Q: What attracted you to serving as a gender equity rep and can you describe the scope of your role?

A: I was raised by a single mother who was a businesswoman. My mum strived so hard to raise my siblings and me and instilled in us the values of hard work and resilience. From a young age, I learned the importance of empowerment and support systems from seeing how my mum and other women strive harder to cater to their families and help one another navigate life’s challenges.

Further down the line in my career, I witnessed gender inequality, such as being passed up for promotion and rejected from jobs because of my gender. I fought harder every step of my career to pave the way for ‘Women leading.’  Every opportunity I saw to advocate for women in the workplace, from hiring and grooming talent, I empowered other women to do the same. I also created a podcast for Africa women in Marketing, which gave women in marketing a spotlight. These experiences have shaped my career journey and set me on a mission to groom, support, and advocate for women. This mission is also reflected in my desire to serve and support women in business school.

I want to continue advocating for women’s voices and draw upon each woman’s untold story in Business school to empower one another. The Gender Equity Representative role has allowed me to encourage other women to succeed in class and beyond classroom engagements. We have been each other’s sounding board, sharing pain, listening, and creating opportunities for each woman’s voice to be heard.

In my role as Gender Equity Rep (GER), I work closely with every woman in my section, creating avenues and safe spaces to discuss classroom issues and working with the section representative from an academic perspective to ensure women’s voices are heard in the school. Furthermore, working closely with Graduate Women in Business boards on creating events, engagements, and more support opportunities for First Year women (Career and non-career related). Also, I curate events for women to connect outside the classroom.

Q: What section are you in?

A: Section E

Q: What section traditions are your favorite?

A: The Cold Call cheer! In section E, we cheer our peers for every cold call and to allow them to get comfortable. It is one of the most inclusive acts I have experienced, and it is a tradition passed on from the previous years. It shows enormous support from everyone in the classroom.

Q: Favorite Darden experience and/or class?

A: In Q1, one of my favorite Darden classroom experiences was Leading Organizations with Peter Belmi. The class focused on essential issues (Such as DEI) and problems in leadership with strategies to build leadership competencies as future managers.

Outside of the classroom, the Darden Cup has been one of the highlights of my Darden experience. In my own words, I call it inter-house sports, which brings together sections competing in other fun and excellent activities such as egg tossing, sack race, trivia, soccer, and other fun activities. I am in Section E, Go Eeeels, and at the moment, we are leading in the Darden cup. We hope to win the cup this year again (Section E won last year). I also got to volunteer for my section playing soccer and taking pictures to build memories around the fun activities for my section.

Niha Pendurthi, Class of 2023

Name: Niha Pendurthi (she/her/hers)

Hometown: Bethlehem, PA

Pre-Darden background: Development at the Obama Foundation

Post-Darden goals/plans: Consulting

Q: What attracted you to serving as a gender equity rep and can you describe the scope of your role? 

A: Becoming my section’s Gender Equity Representative was one of the goals I wanted to accomplish during my time at Darden. In my role, I work with Section D and the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) board to promote gender equity both inside and outside of the classroom. I ran for this role because I know firsthand how hard it can be for women, particularly women of color, to feel like their voice matters. I am motivated by creating an inclusive environment in our section where everyone feels heard and seen during our time at Darden. It has been an honor to amplify the voices of the incredible women in my section and hear their stories through this role.

Q: What section are you in? What section traditions are your favorite?

A: Section D! My favorite tradition was the Section D Friendsgiving we hosted this year. Our Accounting professor hosted us at her home. My classmates brought both traditional thanksgiving dishes and other dishes from around the world. There was also an epic round of ping-pong and we had two of our other professors attend. The event made me so grateful for my section!

Q: Favorite Darden experience and/or class?

A: I loved my Q1 Finance class! My professor made the subject so accessible and fun. Coming from a nonprofit background, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the rigorous coursework in business school. Additionally, I struggled to find my voice during my undergraduate experience and was nervous about what my Darden classmates would think about my contributions. I ended up being the first person cold called on our first day of Finance class. Being the first cold call was the best thing that could have happened to me because it helped me find my voice and showed me that I belong here and that I am capable of handling hard things.

Charlotte Margel, Class of 2023

Name: Charlotte Margel, She/her

Hometown: Ridgewood, New Jersey

Pre-Darden Background: I started off my career in New York City working in marketing strategy consulting for 2 years. I then moved to Chicago and pivoted into an advertising sales and operations role at a tech company for six years prior to coming to Darden.

Post-Darden Goals: My goal is to transition into Product Management

Q: What attracted you to serving as a gender equity rep and can you describe the scope of your role? 

A: One of the things I was looking forward to most about Darden was getting to know the incredible women at our school. Everyone has their own motivations and experiences that drove them to pursue their MBA at Darden, and I think it’s important we support one another as we strive towards our goals. Prior to Darden, I was lucky enough to work at a company that had a Women Employee Resource Group. I saw firsthand the positive impact that the safe space and community for us had on the work environment. When I learned about the gender equity rep position, I was excited at the opportunity to bring together the women in my section to empower us to learn from and lean on one another. This ranges from us cheering each other on for making great points in class via our group chat, to organizing smaller gatherings for us to catch up and discuss interests inside and outside of Darden. I also believe strongly in the power of allyship. I was happy to hear that there would be opportunities to partner with the Men as Allies club to educate on the importance of intersectionality and the role allyship plays. To advance gender equity in the workplace, allyship is crucial. Knowing my classmates will be our future business leaders, I am excited to help champion this work and educate everyone to become stronger allies at school and when they re-enter the workplace.

Q: What section are you in? What section traditions are your favorite?

A: I am in Section C, also known as the “C-Suite” and “C-Monsters.”  We by FAR have the best cheer 😊 Last year, the (now) second year Section C class started a new tradition that was a scavenger hunt around the different housing complexes and Darden Grounds. We split up into teams comprised of both First Years and Second Years. It was a great evening where we got to bond closer with our class as well as get to know the Second Year Section C members better. I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Q: Favorite Darden experience and/or class?

A: I am really enjoying Strategic Thinking and Action this quarter with Jared Harris. He brings so much energy and enthusiasm into the classroom! I have found the cases very interesting, and I love how we apply the frameworks across numerous industries ranging from video games to fitness.

Below, Margel, Pendurthi and Amosu share their experiences attending the Graduate Women in Business Annual Leadership Conference: