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Seniors Look Ahead to Careers at Leadership Conference

Dressed in business formal attire, the class of 2022 navigated the Downtown Tunnels on their way to the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers for the annual Young Women's Leadership Conference on Wednesday, October 12.

As in past years, a group of women from PwC worked with the students on creating an elevator pitch and gave advice about interviewing and preparing for professional careers. For the past two years, because of COVID restrictions, IWA has hosted the conference on campus, but it was exciting to have the opportunity to return to PwC's facilities this year. After arriving at Wells Fargo Plaza, students took high-speed elevators to the Sky Lobby of one of Houston's tallest buildings. From there they made their way down to PwC's conference rooms where the set-up simulated a professional conference, with students receiving personalized lanyards, gift bags, and breakfast tacos before the introductory session.

During the opening session, Holly Marrs, a PwC executive who chaired the event, welcomed everyone and shared helpful advice about interviewing. She emphasized the importance of preparing in advance, making a strong first impression, and asking questions at the end of an interview. Students then divided into small breakout groups led by the PwC volunteers who helped them craft and practice elevator pitches. "We tell students in the Young Leaders Program to lean into fear," said Eric Kerr-Heraly, IWA's Director of Leadership. "Giving an elevator pitch to a total stranger is very intimidating, but our hosts shared with me afterward how impressed they were that our students were so poised and focused."

The conference closed with a panel of women who discussed their career paths and answered students' questions. Students asked them a number of thoughtful questions on a variety of topics, including building and maintaining confidence, finding professional internships, and balancing their professional, personal, and family commitments. 

"I would say that the biggest takeaway from the conference was learning a bit more about the interview process whether it be for a job or internship," said Kate Bauman '23. "I found it extremely helpful that they broke down the whole process, especially how we can better prepare for the interview. The most exciting part was being there with the entire senior class and being able to experience something not only helpful, but fun as well."

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