This post is part of a blog series for the launch of Ladies First, the Dingman Center’s commitment to increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD.
by: Nina Silverstein MBA ’17
Last week the Ladies First Kickoff Dinner brought together over 85 current and aspiring female changemakers at the University of Maryland. Ladies First is an initiative to get more women involved in entrepreneurship by creating and empowering a community of changemakers across campus. I was inspired to see so many young women in attendance to hear impactful stories and insights from the panelists.
Before starting my MBA at the Smith School of Business, I was a 2012 Teach For America Corps Member in Baltimore, MD, where I taught kindergarten and first grade for three years. Believing that businesses have a unique power and responsibility to influence social and communal change, I left the classroom to explore alternative ways to address many of the educational inequities that my students faced. Now, as a second year MBA student and a graduate assistant in the Dingman Center, I am constantly emboldened by the incredible changemakers fearlessly pursuing their passions and turning ideas into impact.
As a fledgling entrepreneur myself, I was immensely uplifted and refreshed by last week’s dinner, and I greatly appreciated the opportunity to listen to and learn from women who have gone down this road themselves. I often find that the only thing holding me back from taking the next step in creating my venture is me. The Ladies First Kickoff has motivated me to dedicate more time to my passion and to not be afraid of defining myself as an entrepreneur.
While moderating the panel discussion, I stole a few glances towards the crowd and was honestly awed by what I saw. The number of women present signifies a “rising tide” and a coming change in the way that entrepreneurship is defined. Together, we can all be the changes we wish to see in the world. Together, we can learn from one another, lean on one another, and pay it forward to women in years to come in order to continuously redefine the world of entrepreneurship. I am excited to see all of the amazing things that the audience members do in the coming years.
Resources mentioned during the Ladies First Kickoff Dinner are provided below. I hope to see you at future Ladies First events!
Network of supportive women entrepreneurs: http://www.risingtidesociety.com/
Free platform that pairs entrepreneurs with mentors: http://micromentor.org/
Foundation Center for free webinars and trainings on things like fundraising and volunteer management: http://foundationcenter.org/
Do Good Challenge: http://publicpolicy.umd.edu/dogood-institute/programs/do-good-challenge