More than 180 students and professionals came together to celebrate the University of Oregon Women in Business (WIB) club’s 12th annual gala on the night of April 25.
Founded in 2005, the club serves to provide an encouraging community of aspiring businesswomen. The gala seats its members with local business leaders, allowing them the opportunity to network with and learn from industry professionals.
Lundquist College dean Sarah E. Nutter got the ball rolling with a word of advice to the students in the audience: “If you see an opportunity, take it. Be poised to say yes. Give it a whirl.”
Nutter spoke about the opportunities that had presented themselves to her over the course of her life and what saying “yes” taught her.
“Give it a chance. Life will take you in amazing directions,” she encouraged the crowd.
She then introduced the night’s two keynote speakers: Amy Tykeson ’79, MBA ’97, managing trustee of the Tykeson Family Foundation and former CEO of BendBroadband; and Eugene native Sadie Lincoln, cofounder of barre3, a boutique fitness company.
Senior associate director of MBA professional development and WIB advisor Sally Bell led the two in a thought-provoking panel discussion. Topics included the differences in atmosphere between corporate and family-owned businesses, the importance of mentors, the importance of taking time off, using your voice at the table, and sharing ideas.
Tykeson, who began her career in the cable industry at HBO in the early 1980s as its popularity was skyrocketing, found herself one of the only women in the industry. Lincoln, whose first job after graduate school at 24 Hour Fitness had her overseeing group exercise for an entire region, had a similar experience. Both spoke about the opportunities that this had presented them, as well as the importance of building a network of great mentors and colleagues.
Tykeson rounded off the evening by sharing some words of wisdom.
“You’re on the precipice of your life,” she told the audience. “You’ll turn your time in college into something really magical. I wish you all the best.”
Jelena Hoffart, WIB’s vice president of finance, felt that this year’s relaxed panel setting allowed the speakers to more frankly share their failures as well as their successes.
“It’s more beneficial for students to see how these two highly-accomplished women got to where they are today,” she said.
Hoffart encouraged nonmembers of all majors to attend future galas—not just for the keynote panel, but also for the networking opportunities the night presents.
“Attendees can find and cultivate a mentorship with anyone, even if their interests don’t align. You'll be amazed what similarities you'll have with someone. You have no idea who knows who, or if they've been through similar situations. Being open-minded in the networking process will serve you well throughout your career. You can learn something from anyone,” she said.
The Women in Business club holds its meetings every other Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. in Lillis 245. The club is open to any and all students who wish to join, regardless of gender.