Pennsylvania Women's Conference

Pennsylvania Women's Conference

RCB students build connections at the 2023 Pennsylvania Conference for Women

Students and staff at the Pennsylvania Women's Conference

Amie Ryno, director of the Rohrer Center for Professional Development, had always wanted to attend the Pennsylvania Conference for Women. This fall, she and her colleagues took six RCB students, each selected based on their leadership roles within the College’s student organizations, to the 20th annual conference.

“I wanted to expose students to this conference where they could learn about different career paths, leadership and professional development topics,” Ryno said. “A lot of prominent women have spoken at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women over the years, including Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, athlete Abby Wambach and author Glennon Doyle.”

More than 9,000 people attended the sold-out conference at the Philadelphia Convention Center Oct. 19.Students in front of the Rowan bus Keynote speeches featured actress and comedian Tina Fey, former prime minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, Olympic Gold Medalist Gail Devers and chef and humanitarian José Andrés. In breakout sessions, a variety of experts, including therapists, news anchors and chief executives, spoke on topics ranging from negotiation tips to strategies for building boundaries with colleagues.

“It was refreshing to walk into a room with enthusiastic women, and listening to each keynote speaker left us all inspired and feeling supported by other women,” said Nicole Millemann, president of Rowan’s Women in Business Club.

The 22-year-old senior finance major from Toms River particularly enjoyed Fey’s speech. Although the comedian discussed such serious topics as women writers being overlooked because they are female, “she brought a funny, lighthearted conversation to the conference,” Millemann said.

Importantly, the event gave students an opportunity to practice networking skills.

“A lot of local companies and colleges had a presence there,” Ryno said. “I don't think the students had ever been to a conference that big with so many networking opportunities.”

Ryno and her colleagues helped students choose breakout sessions and encouraged them to speak with new people to get comfortable building connections.  

Students standing with their hands on their hips with staute“This event was a good stepping stone that, I hope, will encourage students to participate in conferences and professional development as they grow in their careers,” Ryno said. “Events like the Pennsylvania Conference for Women expose our students to a world beyond Rowan, where they meet the professionals they could aspire to become one day.”

The group’s participation at the conference increased the RCB’s visibility as well as that of the University as a whole.

“It was great branding for us to be represented along with the big-name Philly schools,” said Ryno. “Showing up at these events with other prominent colleges and companies is important.”