Mother Rosalie Hill Hall is a campus building that honors University of San Diego’s treasured female co-founder and serves as home of the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Here, students absorb knowledge, have important discussions and to develop pertinent research and innovative ideas that can be put into action.
And, much like Mother Hill, students become difference makers, Changemakers.
Earlier this month, the space hosted a two-day event, the San Diego Women Investing in Women Summit, to provide local businesswomen and novices alike a chance to share stories, inspire and support each other. The program had female investors, entrepreneurs, and community and industry partners interested in collaborating. Panel discussions, a USD alumna keynote speaker, a live pitch session and breakouts to teach women about angel investing and give entrepreneurs tools to access capital were on the agenda.
All the while, Annelyse Barker and Shannon Jupena-Garibay — the former a May 2014 USD international business graduate (pictured, left) and the latter (at right) a senior sociology major — were present. They marveled at what they witnessed. They were inspired by the female-focused business landscape. They both networked and gained a visual and deep appreciation for what possibilities exist going forward.
“I’ve never thought about going into business or having a business of my own,” said Garibay, who has two jobs and is a summer intern for Hera Hub, a business venture founded by USD alumna Felena Hanson ‘95. “But going to the summit was an awesome experience. It was great to see the women empowering each other and supporting each other through their businesses.”
Barker was an intern for the Women Investing in Women group since March, helping create the event website, doing outreach to investors and entrepreneurs and assisting with strategic planning and steering committee meetings. Her opportunity came about after meeting Hanson at a USD business school panel discussion.
“Felena was talking about women having business careers, work-life balance, being successful as a woman in business and speaking out about going against the glass ceiling,” Barker said. “I talked to her and asked her about getting involved.”
Barker fit right in. She attended committee meetings, enjoyed being involved and the chance to network. She met Candace Klein, chief strategy officer at Dealstruck, Inc., and learned about her online crowdlending company and its approach to aid small business clients with investments and to get their business launched.
Barker’s exposure to business is highlighted by USD opportunities. She was the director of events and vice president for the USD International Business Club. She went to Boston with classmates for a business marketing competition. She also landed a marketing associate position with San Diego’s World Trade Center.
Given all the work she put into the July 18-19 summit’s preparation, Barker’s passion was in full effect.
“There was such a broad range of people there, everyone from high school students, organizations, people from (ABC-TV’s entrepreneurship hit show) “Shark Tank,” said Barker, the latter referring to a keynote program involving USD MBA alumna Jayla Siciliano ‘13, founder and CEO of Bon Affair, an all-natural wine spritzer. Siciliano was on “Shark Tank” in May and gained NBA owner, Mark Cuban, as a business investor.
“I thought it was great to see so many successful, amazing business women who took the time, took a weekend to come to USD and empower other female entrepreneurs. Tell them ‘you can do this,’ talk about how they can do it and this is how I did it. It’s possible.”
Barker gained more insight on the business investing process, saying it was “completely fascinating.” She welcomed the chance to network with other businesswomen.
“Everyone I met was so supportive and thought-provoking, giving me advice about getting involved in this or that. It was a really nice community of women who were happy and willing to help.”
She’s now looking for the right post-graduation opportunity, but the summit was a bonus educational boost for her job search.
Full discovery was the main summit takeaway for Garibay, a transfer student after two years at California State University, Chico.
Her business connections had been limited to her employment opportunities. She’s a unit clerk for Sharp HealthCare, a sales associate for the USD Torero Store and a guide for USD’s English Language Academy. But she’s developed an interest in marketing research and is learning more about the business world via a summer internship with Hanson’s Hera Hub.
Garibay’s role at the summit was providing event-day logistical support, but her passion for organization and learning impressed Hanson enough to give her a shot.
“I’m grateful that she took a chance on me,” said Garibay, who is now helping Hanson create a marketing manual for Hera Hub franchisees. “I’ve learned so much during this internship. For Felena to say ‘I’m trying to grow my business and I’d like you to help me take on a project (the manual),’ that’s amazing. She believes in me. Hera Hub has been a wonderful chance to grow.”
Business, as she is learning, benefits when seen through multiple lens. While she’s not changing her major from sociology to business and is scheduled to graduate in May 2015, Garibay understands how the two are connected.
“In sociology we’ve studied how especially women feel handicapped, such as their growth in business. It’s a male-dominated world. That’s why the summit was such a wonderful experience,” she said. “We’re seeing a movement in society now where women are taking a stand for each other and coming together. Women are making a push, creating a movement.
“How business works relates to how society functions,” Garibay continues. “There are many theorists who have different structures on how society works and that if you apply those structures to business that’s exactly how a company works. It’s really interesting to see the different breakdowns of a company and how that translates into a society.”
Perhaps Garibay’s summer experience and business enlightenment will turn into a research project. She’s interested to join the Ad Club within the School of Business Administration and a co-ed business fraternity. She’s also inspired to work with others on campus to develop a summit-like event to support young girls’ interest and awareness about business and entrepreneurship.
“Starting early with the younger demographic is key for women to continue to be successful in business,” she said. “If we can bring this to them, they’re going to be even more successful than us. For progress to be made, these types of programs are beneficial to keep the movement going. It’s the start of women taking over business in a sense.”
— Ryan T. Blystone