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At ‘Own It’ Summit, Female Voices From the Top

With three times the attendance as the previous year, the second annual Boston College Summit: Own It featured over 20 professionals in a variety of fields to discuss their career paths with students and inspire women to own their accomplishments.

The summit took place on April 9 in Robsham Theater. Robsham was filled with over 300 students, both men and women, as well as teachers, administrators, and panelists.

The summit was sponsored by the Office of Student Involvement, the Women’s Center, Women In Business, Lean In, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College, the BC Career Center, and Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step.

The purpose of the summit, Samina Gan, co-chair of Own It and MCAS ’17, said, is to allow students to inspire and motivate one another. It aims to build on what women before us have done to promote gender equality, Alexis Teixiera, co-chair of the Own it Summit and CSOM ’17, said.

“It is also about each person owning his or her accomplishments, opinions, and differences,” Teixiera said. “Own It seeks to motivate and demand that women be provided equal opportunity, compensation, and guidance globally.”

The keynote speaker of the summit was Sophia Amoruso. Amoruso is the founder and executive chairman of Nasty Gal, a women’s clothing brand. Amoruso also wrote a New York Times bestselling book, #GIRLBOSS, about her path to creating her company.

“What is owning it? Owning it is showing up and owning who you are. Owning your successes. Owning your mistakes. Being a person who raises their hand. People admire that because you are taking control of your time.”

—Sophia Amoruso

After Amoruso’s talk, attendees broke off into varying panels, workshops, and conversations. Each participant received a schedule based on a survey he or she filled out upon registering for the summit.

Other speakers at the summit included Dani Incropera, a SoulCycle instructor and brand director at MiniLuxe, Joy Moore, the former head of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, and Andrea Lisher, head of Northern America, global funds for J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

Amoruso spoke to the Own It audience about her life path and the importance of building one’s confidence. She offered three pieces of advice from her experiences—the straight and narrow isn’t the only path to success, all actions are creative, and money looks better in the bank than on your feet.

Amoruso was interested in photography but could not afford to attend college, and also had a hernia but could not afford to receive corrective surgery. As a result, she began to work at an art school to get medical insurance.

She continued to follow her passion, photographing monks and nuns.

Looking back on this time, her experience with photography ended up helping her when she began her business. The photographs of the monks and nuns led her to realize that she liked historical aesthetics, which led her to found a vintage-inspired clothing line.

During this time in her life, she also met a lot of people who friended her on MySpace and introduced her to the world of vintage clothing on eBay, which inspired her to start Nasty Gal.

“That’s what life is—none of us really know what we’re doing,” Amoruso said. “I’m still confused every day.”

Amoruso focused on the uniqueness of each person’s life path and offered advice to take what is in front of you and own it.

“What is owning it?” Amoruso said. “Owning it is showing up and owning who you are. Owning your successes. Owning your mistakes. Being a person who raises their hand. People admire that because you are taking control of your time.”

Within the last year, Teixiera noted, much has been done across the globe to improve gender equality—Saudi women voted in their first election, Jen Welter, BC ’00, was hired as the first female coach in the NFL, and Michelle Obama launched a campaign to promote female education across the globe. But there is still much to do, she said.

“As this journey is far from finished, we must individually and collectively continue our mission so that our sisters, friends, grandchildren, and our own children will live in a more perfect world,” Teixiera said.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

April 11, 2016