By: Sofia Aschettino, NY Trip Networking Chair
I joined GWWIB during the spring of my Sophomore year at GWU and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made during my four years here at GW. I started by volunteering my time at the annual Spring Conference, and during those late night and early morning preparation meetings I experienced first hand the energy and talent of this group of girls! The Spring Conference highlights keynote and speaker series with empowering females from the best corporations across various industries.
During this period, I developed great relationships with many of the girls on the Spring Conference team. Five months later I would be invited to join the GWWIB board and work with them to make GWWIB an increasingly impactful presence on campus. I just completed planning my second, and last, NY Networking Trip this past November and I wanted to share some details on our trip and give you some reasons why you should consider applying next year!
Visit 1 - Google
In one of the three Google offices in Chelsea section of NYC, we walked into the world of Googlers and got an inside view on what its like working for one of the best companies in the world. All 35 of us entered a conference room with a view of the Hudson that would make anyone’s jaw drop, and we sat down with our breakfast sandwiches to kick off our first day of office visits. We met a GWU alumni who shared with us her post-GWU story, one that included some minor, but essential, pit stops before she made it to her first day at Google. We learned a lot about the internship process, and how you don’t need to be a tech genius to get your foot in the door at Google.
Visit 2 - Wieden + Kennedy
Our bus dropped us off at what looked to be your ordinary office building, but when we stepped off the elevators at the fourth floor we stepped into a room that oozed cool creative vibes. We had walked into a room full of industry leaders who are behind some of the biggest advertising campaigns in the industry. The group climbed our way up these incredible wood staircases (see us modeling the staircase above) to a new addition of the office. There W+K presented us with a panel representative of the diversity within the agency departments – account management, creative, production, project management, and legal. All with their own unique style and aura, we listened and heard about their favorite projects and any mishaps that may have occurred on the way.
Visit 3 - NYSE
Before our first-ever visit of the Stock Exchange, the group had some free time to explore the cobblestone streets of the Financial District quick bite to eat. Axis Capital was ringing the Closing Bell, and GWWIB would be front and center to watch! Before the NSYE closed, we even got the chance to talk with some of the Designated Market Makers (DMMs) on the floor. While I was listening to what our DMM was saying, I had the chance to see the real Wall Street in motion – fists flying in the air and definitely some swearing as DMMs watched their stocks dance.
When it was time to line-up to watch the Closing Bell the group managed to make its way onto the NYSE Snapchat account, as well as MSNBC’s coverage of the event – we will be taking appearance applications all year long! This was one of my favorite visits, because it put me in a place I wasn’t familiar with and opened my eyes to an industry that I would never have experienced otherwise.
Visit 4 - Tradeweb
Our Tradeweb visit was made possible with the determination of Allison Mulhearn, our GWWIB past-president and fairy godmother. Allison planned an incredible visit that only ensured that GWWIB, as an organization, is only at its’ initial stages. We have alumni all over the world, in companies of all kinds, and we’re only starting to reach our potential. Our alumni have proven to want to take GWWIB up with them in their own personal career climbs to the top.
At Tradeweb we were greeted with a room full of full-time employees who chose to stay after-hours to chat with everyone of us. They taught us about their mission and their impact on the financial world. We broke-up into groups specific to majors and interests, and really got to know the executives in our prospective fields. It didn’t help that Tradeweb doused us with some swag that will inevitably prove to be very useful. The panoramic lens is coming with me on my next vacation!
Visit 5 - GWSB Alumni Reception
Our final stop of the day was a way to reconnect and deepen our networking with fellow GWU alumnus. GW School of Business does a great job at organizing an annual event to bring alumni and current students together in a networking setting. GWWIB joined the marketing/sports management and Business Analytics treks for the dinner, which was a great way for us to intermingle and learn about the other students’ site visits and experiences.
Visit 6 - Dolce & Gabbana
Our second day started off with the group feeling like princesses, being toured around the “closed to the public” Fifth Avenue Dolce & Gabbana flagship store. We had another GWWIB superstar alumni with us on this stop, Alex Bonvouloir, and she too has been an incredible connection for the organization. She opened the doors of high fashion to GWWIB and we can’t wait to witness her continued success.
Paul, the store manager, showed us around the three floored store pointing out the various elements that make the Dolce & Gabbana brand one of the biggest fashion houses in the industry. We saw a $30,000 dress, incredible jewels, and enough leopard, lace, and velvet to last me a lifetime.
From the flagship store, we traversed the busy Midtown Manhattan streets to find our way to the Dolce & Gabbana showroom on Madison Avenue. We stepped into the lavish showroom and were greeted with NY bagels, yes they were as amazing as you think they’d be. With our new Dolce & Gabbana swag notebooks on our lap, a panel of six executives showed us a sneak peak into their world. Executives from human resources and strategy to VIP relations shared their day to day experiences and their career paths. The also shared tips on how to best prepare and launch a successful career post graduation in the fashion world.
Visit 7 - Bloomberg
The group pulled up the Bloomberg offices on Lexington Avenue and climbed the elevators to Bloomberg’s little world above NYC. As we waited in a lobby, which seemed more like a snack heaven mixed with an aquarium. We were completely memorized with watching the employees come from all areas of the office – even Charlie Rose barreled past us.
Our visit coincided with the famous ‘soup time,’ so we were able to get the full experience of Bloomberg culture. We lined up among the full-time employees and waited for the soup of the day – which in our case was pasta (no complaining on our end). We had a really impactful keynote from Mindy Massucci, also known as ‘The Women Behind the News’, where she spoke to us about her early days and how through her risk taking and determination landed her in her current role of Head of Production and Operations at Bloomberg. I’m pretty sure the whole room was girl-crushing; she spoke about how she grew the department, which at the beginning of her tenure was a very small into the beast that it is now.
We finished up our visit with a VIP tour of the production studios – thank you, Mindy – which was a chance to watch a TV taping and meet-and-greet with the anchors. We ended the visit with an elevator ride to the top of the building and and incredible view over the city that bustles below.
Visit 8 - AOL
Our last visit of the trip, was one filled with culture and content. What really stuck with me is that AOL is not just the ‘you’ve got mail’ company that we associate them with, they’ve evolved with the tech times and are now much bigger than their email offerings. They’ve acquired companies and have really invested in the world of female empowerment.
We learned about companies like Makers and #BBG Ventures (Built by Girls) and their missions to create an environment that is accepting of female successes and innovations. Something that was especially important to our group and the theme of the trip which was to ‘Stand Up, Stand Out’. How can females find their personal brand within their careers and use their skills and accomplishments to help them continually stand out. What we learned from AOL was to never be afraid to change – without change there will be no way to continually grow.
Now that you know a little more about the trip and what it entails, I hope that you too are intrigued to learn more and push your professional bounds. I’ve had a blast planning these past two NY Networking Trips, and for those of you who have been in attendance thank you for making the experience worth it! Our next trip will be announced next Fall, so be sure to follow GW Women in Business on Facebook to stay updated on the application process. See you all at our next capstone event, the Annual Spring Conference in April!