Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) is a student-run organization which “empowers women to fully express themselves by creating inclusive spaces and experiences in order to foster genuine connections, further gender equity, and build partnerships across Darden, with alumnae, and in the Charlottesville community.” GWIB is free for all women MBA students, and offers important community programming and support, including First/Second Year mentors, which pairs First Year women with a Second Year student to help them navigate their introduction to business school. They also host the annual GWIB Conference, a full day event bringing together female students, faculty and corporate sponsors for community and professional development.

GWIB also hosted their annual “Women in Business Week,” featuring activities and sessions to bring together the Darden community. Natalie Barbaresi (Class of 2023), recently shared insights and highlights from the week.

By Natalie Barbaresi (Class of 2023), VP of Communications, Graduate Women in Business

Natalie Barbaresi (Class of 2023)

Women in Business Week was a weeklong event from April 25th to 29th and featured various activities and sessions that empowered, connected, and celebrated our community.


For our First Coffee break, GWIB partnered with a favorite local bakery, MarieBette, to provide almond croissants and pastries for all of Darden to enjoy in between 8AM and 10AM classes. During our lunch hour, GWIB organized a session to guide women on how to take control of our own financial health and equip ourselves with fundamental “know how” to confront our post-MBA years with confidence and intentionality. Lastly, GWIB teamed up with [solidcore] fitness, a boutique Pilates studio and offered a first of two free classes to GWIB members, led by GWIB’s very own VP of Academics, Megan Wolfe. While I could not attend, my friends shared that this was an incredibly fun, yet grueling work-out!


During our lunch hour, the Allies for Gender Equity leaders led a session on how men can become better allies to

GWIB wine tasting event

women at Darden and beyond. From my perspective, around ~100 people attended this session, and men made up the majority of the audience, which was great to see! Dave Smith and Brad Johnson, authors of the books, The Good Guys and Athena Rising, joined us by Zoom to not only discuss the main ideas of allyship and gender equity from their books, but also shared their personal stories that led them to be large proponents of allyship. For the evening event, GWIB enlisted Darden alum and wine sommelier, Ro King (MBA ’91), to teach us how to understand a wine menu and order with confidence at any social or professional event going forward. Ro was very lively and provided a lot of great commentary and insightful tips as we tasted five different wines that evening.


During our lunch hour, GWIB co-hosted Darden Stories, an initiative that allows Darden students to be vulnerable and share their personal stories in an intimate setting. This week’s speakers were immensely powerful, and each audience member deeply appreciated their courageousness and strength. For Cold Call, the weekly end-of-school-week happy hour for the Darden community, GWIB partnered with the FinTech club to sponsor this week’s food, beverages, and live music. Cold Call is always a weekly highlight as it gives us the chance to relax, check-in, and laugh with our friends and peers, and this week’s Cold Call was no exception.


GWIB partnered with the Darden Center of Global Initiatives to oversee The Darden Art Project (DART). For context, Darden decorates its wall with photographs taken by members of its community, and these photos display places and people in the United States and around the world. At the end of each academic year, Darden replaces the photos with new submissions and sells the old photos. Under GWIB’s guidance, all proceeds from DART sales this year will go to the Shelter for Help in Emergency, an organization that supports and empowers victims of domestic/intimate partner violence. It is incredibly impressive that GWIB sold ~$1,500 worth of art, in part to VP of Academics Heather Hoffman (MBA ’22)! Friday overlapped with Darden’s alumni weekend; to take advantage of the 2,000+ alums back on campus, GWIB organized a panel of alumni to discuss relevant women in the workplace topics to current students, and a happy hour followed to allow us all to enjoy the beautiful weather and end this week on a high with multiple generations of GWIB members!

In closing, this week was enjoyable and insightful and is a wonderful example of how clubs, like GWIB, greatly and positively contribute to the Darden experience.

Allies for Gender Equity Session