Author shares her path to success at Women’s Leadership Summit

By Caroline King
Staff Writer

The seventh annual Women’s Leadership Summit took place in the Education Building on Nov. 8, and featured a keynote address from author and activist Tiffany Dufu.

Hosted by the School of Business, the event was open to all students and was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Friedman LLP, the Women in Business club and the Women in Learning and Leadership program.

Dufu is the author of “Drop The Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less,” a memoir focused particularly on women becoming successful in the workplace. She is also a public speaker, and the chief leadership officer at Levo, an organization that advocates for women and young girls.

Laced with “Tiffany’s Epiphanies” — her version of Oprah’s “Aha Moments” — Dufu discussed topics ranging from the need of mentors and sponsors in one’s life to the belief that “leadership is a team sport.”

Through her life’s work, Dufu has raised more than $20 million for the purpose of “advancing women and girls.”

Dufu discussed the particular leadership assets that successful women have, including a sense of “self-viability” and taking on the mindset of a “presumed winner.”

Dufu poses with members of the Women in Business club. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Kelly)

Dufu also noted that women applying for jobs will often focus on the qualifications they do not possess, while men focus on the qualities they do have. She gave students an example of a woman who decided to not apply for a job because she only possessed eight out of the 10 qualifications needed. Her lesson for women who focus on their lack of qualifications is to “round up,” and apply for the job anyway.

Not only does Dufu raise money for women and girls, she also meets with women who are struggling to find jobs.

Dufu says these women “are the ones who have a unique story,” and believes that to be successful, one must differentiate themselves from other applicants or colleagues.

Dufu focused a portion of her speech on the theme of ambition, and the ways in which women who know what their next step is tend to be more successful.

“Women are socialized to not want to seem like they want credit or recognition (for their work),” Dufu said.

Dufu believes this social construction can hinder a woman’s chances at success, but she advised students to “just go for it.”

Following Dufu’s speech, an open dialogue was held as students sought advice from the guest speaker.

Jaclyn Corbo, a sophomore history major, believes the College provides such great opportunities, like Women in Business, and that there should be more events like the summit in the future.

Corbo suggested increasing advertising and flyers for similar events in the future so that more students outside of business-oriented organizations can attend.

“People need to see opportunities and experiences,” Corbo said.

Elizabeth Kelly, a sophomore economics major and the vice president of the Women in Business club, appreciated Dufu’s overall message that women do not need to follow pressure to be perfect.

“You can do anything as long as you prioritize … as long as you work toward your goals and aren’t afraid to say no,” Kelly said.

The student session was followed by an interactive workshop on “Mastering Time” with life coach Laurel Handel Zander, but this was not free for students. Tickets went from $87.50 to $100. The summit ran from 8:30 a.m. and concluded at 2:30 p.m.

Dufu concluded her time at the student session by taking a picture with the members of the Women in Business club.