The student club Wharton Women seeks to foster a community of support and collaboration and create a comfortable space for female-identifying students.

What is the mission of Wharton Women and who are its members?

Wharton Women facilitates the personal and career development of women and underrepresented gender identities in business by building a network of exceptional undergraduates, professionals, and faculty.

Wharton Women is one of the largest on-campus organizations focused on gender equality and opportunities for women in the workplace.  The club currently has more than 150 active committee members and 21 fellows, but many events and conferences are open to the Penn community. Our membership spans a diverse array of backgrounds and interests. We choose members who are passionate about uplifting communities at Penn and who can successfully carry out the various initiatives of the club.

The club is often colloquially described as “girls supporting girls,” a theme of unwavering support that is central to all of our programming. Through its range of events and initiatives, Wharton Women creates a safe space for women exploring business disciplines to receive support in their professional and personal journeys.

What types of activities and events does the club organize?

Interviewing Sandya Magge, VP, North America Social Impact & Responsibility, at Visa at the 2022 Voices of Diversity conference. (Image: Wharton Women)

Wharton Women hosts three major annual conferences: Wharton Women Business Conference, Voices of Diversity, and our Annual Dinner. Each conference features esteemed keynote speakers alongside opportunities to engage with the organization’s corporate sponsors and fellow attendees.

Our 8th annual Wharton Women Business Conference, held in January, was themed “Entrepreneurship and Leadership.” It featured the COO/CMO of Etsy alongside four Penn alumnae entrepreneurs, all of whom shared their success stories and imparted advice to more than 100 attendees.

We also host a variety of events that foster a sense of community and belonging among female-identifying students at Wharton and beyond. Initiatives like Membership March and the Big/Little program help members find more intimate spaces within Wharton Women to make friends and connect on a deeper level. Committee socials and structure also support this community-building.

Professional opportunities include info sessions with corporate sponsors tailored specifically towards underrepresented gender identities in business, skill workshops designed to address resource inequities, and alumnae panels on a variety of potential career paths.

Playing interactive bingo at a Big/Little event. (Image: Wharton Women)

How does the club engage with the broader Penn and Philadelphia community?

Alumnae are frequently engaged through speaker opportunities and our alumnae mentorship program, both of which aim to enhance the accessibility of the university’s vast alumni network. Alumnae provide insight into both conventional and unconventional career paths through alumnae spotlights on Wharton Women’s website and panel events, such as Industry Insiders and Wharton Women Around the World.

Wharton Women also engages in philanthropic initiatives with the broader Philadelphia community. One cornerstone community initiative is Dressing for Success, a fashion show and speaker event whose proceeds go to local nonprofit organizations. This past fall, the CEO of Anthropologie spoke about her experiences and the proceeds of the event went towards The Wardrobe, a local nonprofit that provides clothing to unemployed individuals.

Our pro-bono consulting committee provides free business services to both local and nationally based women-owned businesses. We offer marketing analysis and SEO optimization, social media content creation, research, business pitches, and work catered to our diverse clients’ needs.

Lastly, our Dollar Scholars committee furthers our philanthropic efforts in the community, with a focus on supporting financial literacy and professional/personal development for high school students.

How do members benefit from being a part of the club?

Committee members benefit from taking ownership in the initiatives we promote. The club truly has a “something for everyone” structure and members enjoy working on projects that cater to their individual interests while uplifting Wharton Women as a whole.

Similarly, fellows get the opportunity to learn about the different committees and understand the mechanics of event planning in a large organization. Many of our fellows later become committee members to deepen their commitment to Wharton Women and apply these teachings.

Members at the 2023 Wharton Women Business Conference. (Image: Wharton Women)

What are the club’s future goals?

Overall, the club strives to remain a beacon of professional and personal support at Penn for underrepresented gender identities. More specifically, we’re constantly improving our event, initiative, membership, and fellowship experience quality from year-to-year. At the same time, Wharton Women holds diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of its mission, so we are constantly ensuring that every inch of our club’s efforts is reflective of the kind of inclusivity we aim to foster.

—Sara Hoover

Posted: March 22, 2024

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