Meet Jalisa Wright, a founder of a Recognized Student Organization on the campus of Syracuse University: the Enterprising and Professional Women – Syracuse University. Jalisa shared her story, her internship experience with BPW International and how the idea to start a University Charter was born.
In December of 2009, I started the internship I was awarded when I won 1st place in a writing competition presented by Blossom and BPW International. The internship was at the International President, Liz Benham, Office in Bayblon, NY. I started off researching the history of the organization so then I could help to launch the 80th Birthday celebration of BPW International. During my one month stay, I became close to the President and another young woman, Lauren Remson, who was helping maintain the office out of her own spare time. Learning about the organization directly from the International President was rewarding. I was able to work with International members during my time and develop a relationship with members in my own city.
Attending the Enterprising and Professional Women (EPW) – Manhattan meeting in July is when I decided BPW International was an organization I wanted to be a part of. I met an enormous amount of women who all came to EPW-NY to advance their careers and meet other women who were doing the same. EPW provided a space where women can come together, learn more from the monthly meetings presented by membership to the club, promote themselves and the resources they had to help another women obtain her goal. Working under the International President confirmed how these same principles are played out globally with seminars conducted by business women, conferences, UN representation, and clubs in rural areas of the world to uplift and promote women who normally do not get access to these kinds of resources. The meaningful dinner I had that evening with Barbara Howie and another interested young woman, Kathryn Ciccolini, confirmed my existing good feelings toward the organization and encouraged me to continue to move forward with pursuing membership. I became a member in October 2010.
During the end of the semester break in December of the same year, I met with Barbara Howie the President of EPW-NY, Kathryn Ciccolini the Young EPW-NY Representative, and Keachea Dixon to discuss chartering a club on my campus. I spent my entire recess, semester and summer recruiting the right individuals; ones who would embrace the mission of the organization and see the club to fruition. Enterprising and Professional Women – Syracuse University was founded on the campus of Syracuse University September 30, 2011 by Jalisa Wright and its charter members Salena Moore, Imani Jackson, Gifty Agyapong, Sheena Barthelus, Chinenye Monde, Olevia Mitchell, Shane Jones and Nicole Williams thanks to the help of Barbara Howie, Barbara Yong of BPW Northwestern University Samothrace, Keachea Dixon and Kathryn Ciccolini.
EPW-SU intends to carry out the mission of advancing the status of women in the workplace by spreading awareness of the pay disparity between men and women, providing a network of Business and Professional women, and generating opportunities for college women to gain leadership skills and get business orientated. EPW-SU plans to host a week of events during Women’s History Month to highlight growth and success in the history of the women’s struggle for equal recognition. We would like to award scholarships to young women exiting college who are starting a business and young women from the Syracuse Community entering college intending to major in Entrepreneurship at the business school here at Syracuse University. We’re excited to get started upholding the organization’s mission and look forward to meeting members from the States and Worldwide.
Congratulations to Jalisa Wright, Enterprising and Professional Women – New York and everyone who worked very hard to achieve this wonderful accomplishment of establishing a University Charter. BPW International is not only growing, but it is also now conquering new frontiers.