Courtesy of Wake Forest
Last weekend, Wake Network of Women (NOW) hosted their fourth Wake Women’s Weekend in honor of the inauguration of President Susan Wente, the university’s first female president. The weekend included events for female alumni with a focus on women in leadership.
Wake NOW, a group that hosts programs in order to foster relationships among Wake Forest women, has hosted Women’s Weekend biannually beginning in 2017. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they hosted the event virtually in 2021.
“I think the opportunity for networking is tremendous,” Alumni Council President Alex Schroeder said. “There are many incredibly successful women here in every profession. This is such a wonderful vessel to be able to foster those relationships and to encourage and uplift each other.”
On March 26, alumni attended panels, seminars, conversations and workshops in order to engage on the topic of leadership with one another. The morning included an alumnae keynote panel followed by a luncheon. In the afternoon, the alumni had the option of attending workshops and seminars on topics across disciplines.
The alumnae keynote panel focused on the theme of “Inspiring Leadership”. President Wente gave the panel’s opening remarks, speaking about the importance of individuals as leaders. She highlighted leaders’ roles in acting as catalysts for change and collaborating with others at the table to accomplish and create.
The following panel included alumni such as Wake Forest women’s basketball coach Jen Hoover, Camille Love, Andrea Roe and former chief financial officer of Florida, Alex Sink. Moderated by Schroeder, the panel discussed how they have been leaders for other women in their lives and the importance of raising and supporting other women in their leadership pursuits.
“One of the most important things is to give women an opportunity to lead,” Sink said. “At a university like this, women — whether they be students or faculty members — should feel like they are in an environment where they can execute their ideas and make it happen.”
She continued: “Women make incredible leaders. From my observations, it comes easier for women to put together a team, work collaboratively and be good listeners. Women have the ability to pull ideas out, listen to connect the dots and get amazing things accomplished.”
After the panel, there was a Call to Conversation luncheon where scholars and ambassadors from the Program for Leadership and Character moderated a conversation about leadership. They discussed lessons they have learned as a leader and from other leaders that have changed their idea of what it means to lead others.
“I loved just to have the experience of meeting women across generations,” Sink said. “I was at Wake Forest 50 years ago, and we were with a student who is a sophomore. We sat around the table and shared our common experiences about what Wake Forest is about.”
Senior Katherine Finch also enjoyed hearing about the experiences of women from different generations.
“As a senior who’s about to go into the real world, I was nervous about finding a network of supportive women outside of college, but the other women wanted to listen to me as the youngest person at the table,” Finch said.
The weekend provided both students and alumni with the opportunity to learn and inspire each other and to build relationships based on shared experiences.
“I think speaking to all of the women at my table really showed me how much Wake has grown in terms of female leadership,” junior Rachel Edwards said. “To hear their experiences of what leadership was then to where they’ve come in their careers now, it gives me a lot of hope for our generation of women and how we can be leaders in the world.”