Leading Ladies Luncheon Empowers Class of 2017

By Pallavi Kawatra, Opinions Editor

The inaugural Leading Ladies Luncheon, which took place on May 17 at Beacon Hill Country Club, provided a unique opportunity for the junior class to meet with women in different leadership roles. The students and “leading ladies” were assigned to tables based on their common interests to share lunch and conversation, and professional chef Donatella Arpaia was the event’s keynote speaker.


Junior Erica O. shares her interests and passions with her table. Photo by Theresa Kiernan

Many of the women had inspirational stories to tell about their journeys to success and gave helpful advice to students about how to achieve success professionally and personally. Students were able to ask questions and make connections with the guests, and hope to stay in contact with them.

“It was really interesting to talk to people who are in the fields that I am considering,” junior Lizzy Castellano said. “It was empowering since all the women at my table told me to shoot for my dreams and go after my ultimate goals in life.”

Junior Brenna Dowd also appreciated the advice she was given from female leaders in engineering. “One of the women told me how important it is to stay focused in the male dominated field of engineering. She emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with people who you want to be with.”  


Renowned chef Donatella Arpaia and long-time friend and board of trustees member Mairead Clifford pose for a photo. Photo by Theresa Kiernan

Arpaia, who has appeared on Food Network and is releasing a cookbook soon, spoke about her life and the struggles and successes she faced to get to where she is. Arpaia was truly inspirational and gave excellent advice to the women and girls that were listening.

“The speech, especially, was inspirational to me because [Arpaia] spoke of her challenges and failures in addition to her successes,” junior Grace Molloy said. “She discussed how the obstacles she faced helped her reach her goals. It gave us a realistic understanding of why hard work is necessary to achieve our goals and dreams.”

According to Director of Development Kristy Geoghan, who coordinated the event with Director of Advancement and Admissions Theresa Kiernan, the Leading Ladies Luncheon was created “because of the opportunities it provides by connecting women in the community with students and each other.”

Kiernan considered the event a success. “We received a lot of positive feedback from the women that attended. Everyone really enjoyed themselves and the speaker,” Kiernan said. “Both the women and students made great connections with each other.”

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