Lindner Women in Business mission rings true on Empowerment Day

Speakers, supporters rally around authenticity in professional development

Lindner Hall buzzed early the morning of Saturday, March 2, for the 11th annual Empowerment Day event.

Hosted by student organization Lindner Women in Business, Empowerment Day is an annual leadership conference that brings more than 20 speakers to campus to advise, mentor and interact with approximately 250 attendees made up of UC students and high school seniors who are considering attending UC. 

Rachel Peters, co-founder and CEO of sustainable personal care brand Clean Age, kicked off the day of programming. Fitting into Lindner Women in Business’ 2023-24 theme of authenticity, Peters’ opening keynote, “Finding Your Superpower,” explored the importance of making big asks in one’s career, cultivating courage and filling the gap.

Four women in business professional and business casual attire stand in front of a balloon backdrop that says "Empowerment Day" and wood panel wall

Left to right: Co-Chief Empowerment Day Officer Jenna Koopman, Empowerment Day Keynote speaker Rachel Peters, Lindner Dean Marianne Lewis and Co-Chief Empowerment Day Officer Liberty Best. Photo/Suzanne Buzek

“You're going to have to ask for things; you're going to get to ask for things,” said Peters. “And to be able to cultivate that skill in being courageous and asking for what you need is super important.”

Peters also cited worthy inspiration in the recent study out of Stanford University that uncovered that founders from UC were 3.3. times more likely to found a unicorn, companies valued at more than $1 billion that are not publicly traded, than founders who graduated from any other university in the U.S. 

“If you need courage right now, look no further than that,” she said.

After Peters’ opening keynote, attendees had their choice of nine total breakout sessions, featuring speakers who were either Lindner alumni or close supporters of Lindner Women in Business, the Lindner Office of Inclusive Excellence or Lindner Career Services. 

Four women in business attire stand in front of a wood panel wall

ADM representatives from left to right: Shannon Culp, Tina Welch, Anne Rogers and Katie Kaehn. Photo/Suzanne Buzek

Speakers and panelists included: 

  • “Giving Yourself Credit” 
    • Shannon Culp, director of security governance and awareness, ADM
    • Michelle Forlenza, director of sales, PepsiCo
    • Katie Kaehn, director of global technology FP&A, ADM
    • Anne Rogers, ESM senior analyst, ADM
    • Tina Welch, regional lead North America global IT program management office, ADM
  • “Embarking on your Career with Confidence at the Forefront” 
    • Alyson Hoffman, senior marketing analyst, Cardinal Health
    • Kaitlyn Kopyar, senior finance analyst, Cardinal Health
    • Meredith Schrock, senior marketing analyst, Cardinal Health
  • “Work Life Integration” 
    • Annie Daniel, managing director, PNC
    • Heather Eberenz, portfolio manager assistant, PNC
    • Ashley Mager, senior associate, PNC
Four women in business casual attire sit on high chairs in front of a classroom. The second one from the left is holding and speaking into a microphone

The General Q&A panel discussion was moderated by 2023-24 Lindner Women in Business President Phoebe Pappas and featured insights from Christie Warren, Jamie Harder, Liz Mason and Mallory Spiess. Photo/Jacqueline Hunter

  • “General Panel Q&A"
    • Jamie Harder, senior manager, commerce marketing, Gallo
    • Liz Mason, sales district leader designater, PepsiCo
    • Mallory Spiess, senior analyst, Mars Petcare
    • Christie Warren, group director, category leadership, Kroger Team, The Coca-Cola Company
  • “Finding Your Superpower” 
    • Rachel Peters, co-founder and CEO, Clean Age
  • “Invest: Don’t Leave it a ‘Blank Space’” 
    • Emma Kellerman, portfolio manager assistant, Johnson Investment Counsel
    • Laura Mattern, CFA, CFP, senior portfolio manager, Principal, Johnson Investment Counsel
    • Lia Reece, CFP, portfolio manager assistant, Johnson Investment Counsel
  • “Stereotypes, Gender and Analytic Fields”
    • Oriana Aragón, PhD, assistant professor of marketing, Lindner College of Business
  • “Winning Together: A College Women’s Guide to Empowerment” 
    • Leah Vensil, DSW, assistant professor of instruction in social work, Ohio University
  • “Ask for What You Want" 
    • Jane Sojka, PhD, professor-educator and marketing undergraduate program director, academic director, Center for Professional Selling, Lindner College of Business
three women with dark hair and business professional attire stand as a group and smile in front of their company table in the Lindner Hall atrium

Johnson Investment representatives and breakout speakers from left to right: Lia Reece, Emma Kellerman and Laura Mattern. Photo/Suzanne Buzek

Sponsors of the event included title sponsors Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Johnson Investment Counsel, table sponsors Cardinal Health and PNC, and red and black sponsor Deloitte.

In the event’s closing remarks, Lindner Dean and Professor of Management Marianne Lewis, PhD, reiterated the importance of spaces and opportunities like Empowerment Day for women to be authentic, vulnerable and support one another in community.

“It's one thing to be in this room and energized and inspired, but the real key is to practice, to take these insights, use them and see what works for you,” said Lewis. “You have this beautiful community to help hold you accountable, support you and challenge you.”

To close out the day, the Lindner Women in Business 2023-24 executive board announced leadership for the 2024-25 academic year and shared gratitude and recognition for supporters and members alike with awards:

  • Rookie of the Year: Brooke Strobel, BBA ’27
  • Social Star: Holly Doxey, BBA ’25
  • Most Engagement: Mallory Crawford, BBA ’26
  • 2024 Karen Manning Award: Professor-Educator of Marketing Jane Sojka, PhD
  • Lindner Women in Business Advisors: Roseann Hassey, PhD, associate professor-educator of marketing; Melinda Hubbard, assistant professor-educator of management
Four women professional dressed stand in front of balloon backdrop in Lindner atrium holding their awards and smiling

2024 Empowerment Day award winners, left to right: Social Star Holly Doxey, Karen Manning Award winner Jane Sojka, Rookie of the Year Brooke Strobel and Most Engagement Award winner Mallory Crawford. Photo/Suzanne Buzek

For Lindner Women in Business members, the opportunities for recognition are invaluable for growing confidence and inspire a “pay it forward” culture within the organization. 

“Last year when I joined [Lindner Women in Business] as a freshman, I was just this nervous person, really quiet, didn’t like talking in front of everybody,” said Liberty Best, BBA ’26, who served as co-chief Empowerment Day officer alongside Jenna Koopman, BBA ’25.  

“Last year, I got the Rookie of the Year award, so I was so honored to give that award to Brooke this year,” said Best. “That’s why I’m on exec [board] and everything now, because I really just want to make a difference.”

Featured image at top: ADM representative Tina Welch addresses Empowerment Day attendees before the event's opening keynote. Photo/Lindner Women in Business Chief Marketing Officer Jacqueline Hunter, BBA '24.

About Lindner Women in Business

Lindner Women in Business prepares emerging leaders for future endeavors by providing allies, perspective and resources. Founded in 2013 with 30 members, Lindner Women in Business became an inclusion partner within the Lindner Office of Inclusive Excellence in 2021. Learn more about Lindner’s Office of Inclusive Excellence and ways to get involved.

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