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Oct 14, 2021

Be the Changemaker: The 2021 Tuck Women in Business Conference

By the Tuck WIBC Co-Chairs

Since 2005, the Tuck Women in Business Conference has brought together prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, and staff for two days of community building, panel discussions, social events and more. This year’s theme “Be the Changemaker” is inspired by the events over the past year and focuses on being activists, truth-tellers, and gamechangers. We will be taking a closer look at who we authentically are, who we want to become, and how this reinvigorates the way we work as we pave the way for the next generation of women leaders. 

Events include keynote speeches from Tuck alums (Kate Jhaveri, chief marketing officer of the NBA; Aisha Barry, president of Advanced Sterilization), TuckTalks (an inspiring night of storytelling), small group dinners, career panels, and opportunities to experience the Upper Valley and Tuck community. 

This year marks the 16th year of the Women in Business Conference and will be held in a hybrid format from October 22-24. As we approach the conference weekend, we asked the co-chairs—T'22s Monique Mahboobani, Stephanie Puzak, Tatiana Ladygina, and Lulu Carter —to share what “Be the Changemaker” means to them.

View this year's schedule


 

Monique Mahboobani T’22

From a young age, I have always been encouraged to speak up. It was never easy and still isn’t. In particular, I found myself at my first job stepping into a “boys club”-type environment where leading a discussion and being taken seriously was a battle. But I had family, friends, and co-workers who supported me and reaffirmed that I had every right to be in that room. Every right to share my perspective and lend my voice. In those situations, I learned how important it was to hold on to your values and your principles. To overcome challenges, you have to be grounded in who you are. You must have sturdy roots but also be willing to sway in the wind.

To be a changemaker doesn’t mean you have to do something revolutionary. It’s about being brave. It’s about rising up to a challenge. It’s about speaking up when something is important to you. It’s about doing things that you’re afraid of because you know it’s the right thing to do.


 

Stephanie Puzak T’22

Stephanie Puzak

This year’s conference theme means a lot to me and I hope that it can truly be a call to action for our participants—both prospective and current students, as well as alumni. Paraphrasing Glennon Doyle here: what we need is women who are full of themselves, who know and trust themselves to make a change. We need models; not martyrs.

Being a changemaker is not just about pushing against the status quo on a grand scale but also standing up on a daily basis when it is easier to stay seated. We are defined by our consistent actions rather than just our loudest moments. I hope that the programming, panelists and activities can inspire participants to find their inner changemaker on a daily basis while holding true to themselves.


 

Tatiana Ladygina T’22

Tatiana Ladygina

As a career switcher myself, I know how terrifying it is to make the first step and to start building something from a scratch. Being a changemaker means embracing the challenge of uncovering one's new aspirations, setting new goals, pushing the limits, focusing on what new beginnings can bring, and sticking to your journey until you get to where you want to be.

Being a changemaker means you must be willing to look at the world from a different angle. It means being brave to challenge yourself and encouraging others to do so, too. 20 years later, you want to look back and be amazed by what you achieved.


 

Lulu Carter T'22

Lulu Carter

One of our keynote speakers this year is literally a game changer. Six months into Kate Jhaveri’s new role as CMO of the NBA, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organization to dramatically reimagine the 2020 season. After a four-month hiatus, during which Kate’s team worked tirelessly to continue engaging the NBA’s fan community, the league unveiled the NBA bubble, introduced by the “Whole New Game” campaign featuring Issa Rae. Striding through NBA stadiums, superimposed on old game film, Rae announces “It’s the game you love, like you’ve never seen it before. 22 teams, all in one place, ready to make history. This isn’t the same NBA, it’s a whole new game.”

What strikes me about the move was how rules had to change for the league to continue its season. It’s a fresh take on the old adage, “If you don’t adapt, you die.” We need change to grow and to succeed, and we need leaders like Kate to have the courage to think creatively. We need the rulebreakers to push against “the way things have always been done.” Whether we have the comfort of carefully testing new ideas or whether circumstance drives necessity, recent history shows us that building and leading lasting organizations requires flexibility and innovation.