OLP Women’s Symposium

Join us for OLP’s Sixth Annual Women’s Symposium on September 11, 2020. This event will be held virtually.

OLP is honored to serve as an epicenter for women's education and is excited to host this unique event centered on reciprocal learning and inspiration. We are incredibly thankful to have Jen Carroll (Illumina), Peter Dennehy (Newland), Carrie Sawyer (DEI Expert), and Danitza Villanueva '98 (Giving Back Magazine) as our amazing Co-Chairs for this wonderful event. Modeled after speaker panels at leading universities, OLP’s Women’s Symposium brings together top women leaders to share their insights and pathways to success with our students and the community. Through dialogue and modeling, these female leaders empower young women to stand up for themselves and fearlessly chase their dreams.

Funds raised from this event will benefit OLP's Carondelet Annual Fund which supports our students and programs in all areas, including academics, athletics, co-curricular activities, technology, campus maintenance, and so much more.

Schedule, Friday, September 11, 2020

8:30 - 8:55 am: Yoga and Meditation led by Kelli Corder '09
9 - 9:30 am: Pre-Conference skill workshops
10 - 10:45 am: Opening Plenary Session, including Keynote Speaker Haben Girma
10:45 - 10:55 am: Break
10:55 - 11:25 am: Panel Session 1
11:25 - 11:35 am: Break
11:35 am - 12:05 pm: Panel Session 2
12:05 - 12:10 pm: Break
12:10 - 12:45 pm: Closing Plenary Session, including closing remarks from Haben Girma
1:00 pm: Virtual Cooking Class (add on option! for registered participants only.)

Virtual Cooking Class

The virtual cooking class will be taught by OLP alumna Sara (Valine) Harris '08, Executive Chef & Partner of Herb and Sea restaurant. The virtual class will begin at 1:00 pm on Friday, September 11 and feature a meal with specific health benefits for women.
View the Ingredients List for items you'll need to purchase for this class!

Download Whova (Our Event App)

Whova will give you the best and most productive experience possible at this event! This is where you will gain access to Zoom links, be able to ask questions, and more.

Search for the “Whova” event app on Apple Store or Google Play and download it now. Search for “Women’s Symposium” and use event invitation code: olpws.

Keynote Speaker: Haben Girma

Haben is the first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. She advocates for equal opportunities for people with disabilities. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation. She travels the world teaching the benefits of choosing inclusion. Her best selling book "Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law" was featured in The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, People, The Wall Street Journal, and on the Today Show.

View Event Program

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Panel Topics

Is she enough? Is she capable? Is she worthy? The answer to all these questions is: yes. Everyday double standards, comparisons, and gender stereotypes give women the impression that they are inadequate. In this panel, participants will share experiences of those societal pressures that women and girls often face while in pursuit of all of which woman is capable.

This panel addresses the reality that women must overcome many personal and professional challenges, the types of adversity women face, and how they have overcome these obstacles. It will focus on the pivoting that is sometimes required when plans change, the risk-taking that is so critical but often difficult for women and girls, our responses to inevitable failure and the self-compassion that is then required. These women will be speaking from their own experiences, spotlighting their resilience throughout their lives and how it has made them stronger and more determined to accomplish their goals.

She is passionate, she is a risk-taker, she is driven, she is bold -- she is daring. In this panel, you will have the opportunity to meet women who were the “1st’s” in their careers, facing challenges like the gender gap and socio-economic stereotypes in the workplace. These trail-blazing women will elaborate on the challenges they faced while bravely reaching for their goals, whether they be overcoming the fear of failure and self doubt, or learning how to deal with the unexpected when adversity came their way.

This panel features inspiring young women who are only a few professional and educational steps ahead of our brilliant students! Attendees will be inspired to create their own path based on the guidance and stories of these impressive women. In a world where paths can be predetermined, this panel challenges the societal constraints and pushes boundaries to imagine what can be. It discredits the generational stereotypes that young people cannot meet standards of success normally achieved by those with more extensive professional experience.

Pre-Conference Skill Workshops

The OLPWS Pre-Conference Skills Workshops are designed to give a practicum in professional skills that are essential for their success.

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself! A good elevator pitch should last no longer than the length of a short elevator ride (20 to 30 seconds), hence the name. In this session, you will develop your own pitch to help advance your individual goals.

Session Facilitator: Christina Hemsptead, Personal and Professional Coach

Meet Your Workshop Presenter - Christina Hempstead

Come prepared to create or improve your LinkedIn profile! This practical, hands-on workshop will demonstrate how to use the world’s largest business network to get the attention of recruiters, potential employers, and business prospects. You will see how LinkedIn can help you enhance your personal brand and promote your expertise. 

Session Facilitator: Mary Fain Brandt, CEO, Chief Connector, & Speaker, Mary Fain Brandt Career Consulting & The LinkedIn Bakery

Dressing appropriately in the workplace is key in communicating respect and professionalism. This session will help you to identify how to dress appropriately for your desired career, while also showcasing your own personality and individuality.

Session Facilitator: Stephanie Coughlan, Founder & CEO, Image Intelligence

Why is having a mentor so important, especially for young women? How do you go about finding a mentor? This session describes how to find a mentor, tips on building the mentor relationship, how to approach your mentor, and how to get the most out of the relationship.

Session Facilitator: Katlyn Grasso, CEO, GenHERation

As we meet on this important day in US history, the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it is important to honor those who give so selflessly, past and present. This session will highlight the importance of careers in service, including the military, law enforcement, and first response, to inspire our next generation of service professionals.

Session Facilitator: Natalie Kapp '13, LTJG, US Navy


Danitza Villanueva '98 
 Giving Back Magazine

Jen Turbiak Carroll 
 Associate Director of Public Relations, Illumina

Carrie Sawyer 
 CEO and Founder, Diversity by Design

Peter Dennehy
 VP Customer and Market Research, Newland

2020 OLPWS Committee

Jamie Flannery, English Department Faculty Member 
Liz Bui, Vice President & Intellectual Property Counsel at ViaCyte, Inc.
Sandy Young, Vice President, J. Walcher Communications
Andi Scherschel, MSN, FNP
Rana Sampson, Community Relations Ambassador, Union Bank
Stephanie Kanaski, Director of Institutional Advancement
Kaila Weedman, Associate Director, Annual Giving
Bridgette Ouimette, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives

Thank You, 2020 Sponsors

Innovator Sponsor

Trailblazer Sponsor

Change Maker Sponsor

Pathfinder Sponsors

Anne Sweeney

Trendsetter Sponsors


Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
Priscilla Ibarra, MD
Ann Harris

In Kind Sponsors

Marlee J. Ehrenfeld
Union Bank

2019 Women's Symposium

View 2019 Photos