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Celebrating Women’s History Month with Two Capstone Events

Women of Impact 2022
Two upcoming events—Women of Impact and Who Runs the World? Girls!—aim to inspire, empower women on campus.
By: Megan Tkacy
With “Run the World (Girls),” Beyoncé will likely go down in history for creating one of the best female empowerment anthems. Here at Endicott, it’s easy to see how her song inspired two Women’s History Month events: Women of Impact, as well as the aptly titled Who Runs the World? Girls!

The latter event, which Management of Corporate Events students put together from start to finish under Hospitality Management Professor Linda Robson’s guidance, is intended to empower and educate. Hosted by Gail Cantor, Director of Belonging & Spiritual Life, the March 29 event will feature several tables with activities, such as opportunities to complete self-love mad libs, create inspirational mood boards, answer true-or-false questions about sex education, and pummel a piñata constructed with gender stigmas brainstormed by students. 

“At the event, they’re going to be able to physically break the stigmas by hitting the piñata,” said hospitality management major Caitlin Poole ’23, who assumed a lead role in organizing the event. There will also be two photo opportunities: One in which attendees write affirmations for themselves, and another in which they write on a mirror. “It’s a way to remind ourselves to continue to feel confident and empowered in our own skin,” Poole said. 

“These pictures are very personal versus for the outside world,” Robson added.  

Who Runs the World? Girls! won’t have a guest speaker — but that’s intentional. “When you have a speaker, there’s typically a guilt aspect,” Robson began, noting how public speeches can alienate one group while lifting up another. “We decided that this interactive [format] was going to be more impactful across the board. We want to remove the guilt aspect and just make it about having fun and being comfortable in your own skin, with your own voice.”

In its sixth year, the Women of Impact initiative seeks to build up and celebrate women on campus. Co-organized by Endicott faculty members Allison Muise, Alyssa Laurenza, and MaryKate Kelley, this year’s event will take place on March 23. Featuring an address by Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Brandi Johnson, the gathering will celebrate approximately 150 women who were nominated by their peers for making a difference on campus.  

As Laurenza, Assistant Director of Student Activities, explained, women don’t have to “change the world” in order to garner recognition. “Making an impact can look small or large.”

Nominations included staff, faculty, administrators, and students. “I think the first few years, 20 to 30 people were recognized, and then it grew to 100 to 200,” Laurenza continued. “I’m so proud and happy about the responses that we’re getting, and we’d love to honor more.”

Each Woman of Impact will be given a keepsake magnet at the event as well as a personalized letter, which includes everything people wrote in their recognition forms. “We copy and paste all of the responses,” Laurenza noted. 

And for those who weren’t nominated, Kelley, Residence Director for Reynolds and Peter Frates Halls, added that the Endicott community “can recognize people every day. Send them an email and say, ‘Hey, I was just really thinking about the impact you’ve made in my life. Thank you.’”

Those recognized were also invited to have their portraits taken. “We were trying to think of a way to celebrate everyone, aside from just giving out letters,” said Muise, Internship Coordinator and Assistant Professor at the Curtis L. Gerrish School of Business, who noted that the portraits will be part of a large-scale mural unveiled at the event. The vision, she said, is that “it will say ‘Women of Impact,’ and ‘impact’ will be in block letters made out of the pictures.”

Importantly, Women of Impact is about empowering women, not pitting them against one another. That’s why there isn’t a “Woman of the Year” or similar designation tied to the event. 

“We had kind of thrown out the idea of picking one woman to specifically recognize for their contributions. In the end, we really decided against that, in the spirit of being intentional about the noncompetition,” Kelley said. “It’s not about the one woman who’s doing the best, but about how we can all come together and recognize the impact we’ve made.”

Women of Impact will take place on March 23 at 9:30 a.m. in Lower Callahan. Who Runs the World? Girls! will take place in Lower Callahan from 5 to 7 p.m. on March 29. Light refreshments will be served at both events, and no prior registration is necessary. Learn more