By Gabrielle Maluto
Last October, I was given an exciting opportunity to attend the tenth annual Intercollegiate Business Convention (IBC) hosted by Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business. IBC is globally recognized as the largest undergraduate convention held in Boston, bringing together women from around the world who share a passion for business and the drive for success. Their mission is “to build a global support network and community of empowerment for college women interested business.” Although the programming spans only for a day, IBC has touched the lives of thousands of aspiring business leaders, including myself. I was able to reflect on who I am, what I want to do, and how I want to do it. I was fortunate to hear from the three leading businesswomen of today, including: Lyndsey Scott (Model, Actress, and App Developer), Maureen Chiquet (Global CEO of Chanel), and Jill Abramson (Author, Editor, and Journalist). I was truly inspired by their stories on how they made it, and gained concrete skills and applicable advice to becoming successful in the ever-changing business world.
In addition to having these inspiring keynote speakers, a broad spectrum of panels and workshops were set up for us to explore potential career paths and learn more about a single industry. The first panel I attended focused on the business behind fashion. Leaders of the fashion industry discussed their careers in merchandising, corporate strategy, digital direction, and executive management. The panelists shared their personal experiences, gave industry insights, and provided tips for those interested in pursuing careers in fashion. The second panel I attended focused on the media and entertainment business. Senior leaders behind my favorite comedy series, an Emmy-Award winning film producer and news strategist, a news anchor and reporter, and a director at the world’s largest media agency network shared their personal experiences in media and entertainment, provided industry insights, and described what they love about their jobs.
Panelist networking sessions were also created to give us a chance to interact one-on-one with the panelists. This enabled me to follow up with speakers from panels that I attended and grow my own professional network across industries I am interested in. As an aspiring film and television development executive, I formed valuable and lasting connections with major Hollywood players, including: Carolyn Cassidy (Senior Vice President of Comedy Development at Twentieth Century Fox Television), Eddie Dalva (Executive Vice President of Entertainment and Music Groups at Viacom Media Networks), and Kibi Anderson (Emmy-Award winning producer and Senior Manager of Business Strategy and Operations at ABC News Digital). To this day, I have remained in close contact with them, especially with Kibi. She serves as my mentor, guiding me through the tricky situations and providing me helpful advice about breaking into media and entertainment. Knowing that I want to pursue a career in such a competitive industry, Kibi constantly reminds me to “be fearless” and to “be true to myself.”
I realized how important it is to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Having a mentor is said to be one of the most important keys to success. This is especially true not only early on, but also crucial at any point in your career. Since they’ve been there and done that, you can learn from your mentor’s mistakes and avoid making them yourself. It is possibly the best free service you could ever get.