Class of 2024 Gender Equity representatives Ali Gendron, Alison Neveu, Katie Dana, Sydney Block and Alankritha Bhushan recently shared Q&As about what it’s like to serve in their elected roles. Be sure to check out the previous features on Section A-C reps Alison Neveu, Ali Gendron and Sydney Block.

Gender Equity reps are elected positions designed to keep gender issues at the forefront of discussion and foster community within each section and across the First Year class.

Today, we are highlighting Section D’s Alankritha Bhushan and Section E’s Katie Dana.

Alankritha Bharath Bhushan, Section D

Hometown: Bengaluru, India

Alankritha Bhushan, Section D Gender Equity Rep

Pre-Darden background: I started my career in financial services by working at Goldman Sachs Bengaluru for two years. I then pivoted to working in consumer and retail growth strategy at an Indian tech startup known as 10club prior to coming to Darden.

Post-Darden target industry: Consulting

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

A: I am part of Section D! It’s the most wholesome and spirited section (in my unbiased opinion, of course)! My favorite tradition is the Section D cheer. We do our cheer each morning and it truly brings us together as a class and sets an energizing tone for the day ahead. Every morning a new member of our section leads the cheer, and it helps us make sure all voices in our class have a chance to lead our tribe.

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

A: Being elected as the Gender Equity Representative of my section has undoubtedly been the highlight of my time at Darden. I have been fortunate to have had strong women as mentors and managers who have set an example of what I can achieve both professionally and personally. However, I know first-hand how difficult it can be for women to have their opinions heard and acknowledged. As an international student and a woman of color, it was important to me to amplify the diverse voices of the women in my section as well as foster inclusivity in the classroom. It is my pleasure to represent a community of women who empower one another, cheer each other on, and lean on one another in times of need. Furthermore, I am a firm believer that gender equity is not a fight that can be fought alone and allyship is integral. I am keen on forming a community of strong allies who can champion this work in the many businesses they lead in the future.

Q: Favorite Darden class so far?

A: I am really enjoying our Q1 Marketing class with Serena Haggerty. Marketing is a subject with a really large scope and Serena balances our classes expertly. She creates a space where we not only delve into the frameworks and analysis but also think creatively and apply ourselves to the cases in our curriculum. It’s a beautiful experience, starting a class with a vague answer and watching it crystalize in our minds as we progress through the class.

Katie Dana, Section E

Hometown: Columbus, IN

Katie Dana, Section E Gender Equity Rep

Pre-Darden background: I spent the last five years working at a leadership advisory firm doing leadership assessment and development, culture and DE&I strategy and team effectiveness workshops.

Post-Darden plans: I’d like to leverage all I’ve learned about people leadership in operations in the manufacturing space.

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

A: After doing DE&I strategy work at my previous firm, I wanted to come to Darden and continue doing DE&I related work in a formal way. Other women’s support and mentorship have been so influential in my career, I wanted to make sure that we as a section have that sense of support from one another. I see my role as creating spaces for women to connect and support one another, advocating for each women’s individual and intersectional needs to section leadership and faculty, and enabling men in our section to become allies.

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

A: Section E! I love our section cheer, “I believe that E will win.” I am a US Women’s national team fan and was thrilled to hear that our section cheer was modeled on their chant.

Q: Favorite Darden experience so far?

A: The international food festival! I loved seeing our classmates share their traditions.

Three students highlight their country’s cuisine during the Global Food Festival in September 2022.