Lucy Ren & Jordyn Williams
The following is a transcript of a podcast. The audio recording can be found here.
Hi parents and families. My name is Jordyn Williams, and I’m serving as the graduate intern for the New Student & Family Programs Office here at Duke this year. And today I am here with Lucy Ren, who is the Vice President of Professional Development for a pre-professional organization called Business Oriented Women. And she’s going to tell us a little bit about what this organization is and how Duke students can benefit from being a member in a pre-professional organization. So, Lucy, I’m going to hand it over to you. Why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us your classification, your hometown, your major and your position in Business Oriented women?
Yeah, of course. Hi, everyone. My name is Lucy Ren and I’m currently a junior at Duke studying economics and computer science. I am the VP of Professional Development in BOW, and I come from San Diego, California.
Well, we are going to jump right into some questions. So why don’t we start with you telling us what is Business Oriented Women? And how did you get involved?
Yeah, so Business Oriented Women was founded in 2007. And it’s Dukes largest student run organization. And we have over 400 active members. So, we host hundreds of events every year where we invite alumni, company representatives, experts, professors, and upperclassmen students to come and give talks and workshops on various topics within business. And our mission is to empower and inspire the next generation of women business leaders in whichever area of business they choose to pursue. So, whether that’s advertising, consulting, finance, tech, or entrepreneurship. So, I got involved in BOW during my first semester at Duke. And I still remember hearing from BOW members as I went to information sessions for the club. And it just seemed so inspiring and enriching. And I just knew that it was an organization that I had to be a part of. I was able to find mentors within both who helped me feel like a career business was achievable, and not something that was supposed to be intimidating. And I can really sense that BOW had this supportive and uplifting culture. And I’m really proud to say that I feel that BOW has maintained that throughout my time as a member.
Thank you. I really love that for you. And you mentioned some of the types of events y’all put on. But could you tell me a little bit more about what kinds of events do y’all host? What kind of events have you put on and been able to be a part of?
Yeah, for sure. So, we have 15 different committees that are dedicated to hosting events for various industry focuses within business. So, these include consulting, finance, entrepreneurship, business roles in tech, social impact, and then we have a committee called diversified industries, which covers everything from marketing to health care, entertainment, law, and things like that. So, we host events of all different kinds of formats. We have panels, workshops, lectures, and all of these events are meant to exemplify the triumphs of professional women. We have an annual spring business conference where we invite hundreds of audience members from the public to listen to really cool keynote speakers. So, some keynote speakers we’ve had in the past include David Taylor, who was the CEO of Procter and Gamble, Joanne Smith, the CPO of Delta Airlines, Ida Liu, the Global Head of Citi Private Bank, so really, really inspiring speakers. And then we also have monthly general body meetings where we also have really cool speakers who are involved in venture capital, or how to build a career at Christie’s doing auctioning, and things like that. And then, in terms of events that my committee has hosted this year, I can just cover a few names to give you a sense of what we’ve done. So, we’ve hosted an event called AI-Powered Salary Negotiations, we’ve hosted an MBA panel, Finding Internships as an Underclassmen, we’ve done an Enneagram workshop, and how to bring your best self to work based on your personality type. And we’ve done various panels on exploring different industries, networking, mentorship, LinkedIn, resumes, all that good stuff.
Thank you for sharing! That sounds like y’all are doing so many great things. And it’s nice that you get to be a part of it and get to spearhead a lot of those things. And so, how would you say that your involvement in BOW has impacted your time at Duke?
Yeah, I would say that I think that every year that I’ve been in BOW, I’ve gained something new and valuable. So, in my freshman year, I was attending as many events as I could that sounded interesting to me. And I was getting on phone calls with upperclassmen in BOW, as well as alumni from BOW and this was really instrumental to me in helping me figure out what my career interests were. And that same year, my freshman year, I joined the External Initiatives Committee, and I was super inspired by my committee leader and my fellow committee members, and it was really great to have a smaller community of people who were working on really exciting projects. So, I was a part of a high school mentorship project where each month we would go to Jordan High School, a local high school in Durham, and give workshops on different professional development topics like public speaking, and leadership and body language, things like that. And then in my sophomore year, I applied to be on the executive board. So, I became the logistics chair. And I also led the brand-new Data Analytics Committee. And that taught me a lot about how to be organized, how to lead a committee of people and how to set up a new structure of the committee and figure out how to get everyone to the same goals, especially working on like a new division that hadn’t existed before. And then this year, I’ve continued to serve on the executive board as the VP of Professional Development. And now I lead committee members in planning and hosting events. And that’s a new angle that I’ve gotten to learn more about within BOW. So, I think that every year like I’ve gained new skills and learned new things about myself, and so I continue to grow in new ways.
Yeah, that’s really great. And so, kind of along those same lines, you shared with me that you’re primarily interested in finance and starting a career in asset management. And so, do you feel that BOW has helped you towards reaching that goal? And if so, in what ways?
Definitely. I think that when I first came into BOW, I knew that I was interested in business, but I didn’t know too much about what the options were. And like, what it really meant to have a career and you know, the different paths within business. So, I think that going to events and hearing from lots of different speakers about their experiences, and different career paths really helped me reflect on what I wanted, and what would align with my interests and my work style. And it also was really helpful to get on calls with different mentors within BOW, who were always very generous with their time and chatting with us one on one, to help us figure out where we wanted to go in terms of our careers. And then I also think that BOW has a lot of resources in terms of companies coming and doing info sessions, doing coffee chats, really connecting with students more in a one-on-one setting or in a small group setting. And then we also get access to a lot of opportunities and information about internships that might be harder to find if you’re just looking on Google or on LinkedIn. So, I definitely think that that was really instrumental to me, not only figuring out what I was interested in, but then giving you the resources to get there.
Absolutely. So, what would you say is your favorite part about being involved in BOW?
I would have to say my favorite part about being involved in BOW is definitely the people and the culture that we’ve created within BOW. I think it’s helped shape me as a person and as a professional, in the best way possible. So, the amazing people I’ve gotten to know better, whether it was mentors, new friends I’ve made in BOW, my fellow committee members and exec board members, I think that everyone is so inspiring and like, has such unique strengths that they bring to the table. And I’m always, you know, looking to learn from them and get to know them better. And I think they’re constantly inspiring and helping me grow. So, I definitely think that’s the best part of BOW and something that I hope we can preserve. Just that supportive and uplifting culture is something that I hope we keep forever.
Thanks for sharing that. So, Lucy, you are about to step into a new role within BOW as co- president. And so, what would you say you are most looking forward to as you navigate stepping into that role?
Yeah, definitely. I think, once again, it will be a new challenge, and something that will teach me a lot and help me grow. But I think what I realized is one of the most rewarding parts about BOW is that you really get to create new initiatives and resources that help a lot of students find their ways in their career, figure out what they want to do and get to where they want to be. And so, from the co-president level, we really have to oversee all the different divisions on the exec board and all of the events that they plan and all the initiatives that they execute. So really thinking about how we can be the most useful and helpful to all the members in BOW. I think that would be really, really rewarding. And that’s something that I always in the different roles I’ve held have tried to be creative and take initiative and this will just be an even more like amplified version of that where we just really keep our members best interest in mind and try to make the organization better for them. Make it a better experience, help them find community and help them get to where they want to be.
Well, I’m sure you’re going to be great in the role you sound like you have a lot of experience in the organization. And it sounds like you’re really passionate about what you do. And so, I think you’re going to be great. We are at our last question. And so, I just wanted to ask, what advice would you offer to a student who might be interested in getting involved in a pre-professional organization, such as BOW or something similar to that?
Yeah, I would say, be open minded. Think about all the different organizations that Duke has to offer that are pre-professional, there are so many different options. And they all have really unique focuses and strengths. I would say also to do your research, if possible, ahead of time about what they’re about, like what kinds of projects they do. Almost all of them, including BOW have a website that you can visit to learn more about what their programs are and initiatives are. A lot of times, they may have some kind of recruiting process where you might, you know, answer a few essay questions, explain why you’re interested and maybe go through an interview, to talk more about, like, why you’re interested in joining the organization. And I think they may seem like a decent amount of work at the beginning. But I think it’s really good practice for just the career search process in general. And I think that if you just apply to as many places as you’re interested in and see where you end up, it’s definitely going to turn out well and be really rewarding and worth it. Thank you.
Thank you. That’s great advice. Well, parents and families that is all we’ve got for you today. Lucy, if our parents and families want to learn more about Business Oriented Women, how can they find more information? Or where would you direct them to go?
Yeah, so the best way to learn more about bow is to visit our website, which is duke-bow.com. We also are active on different social media platforms. So, if you’d like to see, you know, pictures of us from different events, we are on Instagram. It’s @duke.b.o.w and we’re also on Facebook and LinkedIn as well.
Okay! And we will be sure to link that in our transcript so that parents and families can visit those sites and find you all’s social media. But that’s all we’ve got for today. Thank you so much for being with us Lucy. We really enjoyed hearing from you. And I hope everyone has a great day!
Thank you so much, Jordyn!