By Brenda Ibanescu
Dear Future POW Leaders,
If you are a seeker. If you are eager to learn. Discontent with the status quo, and looking for inspiring and innovative ideas that move the world forward. Then POW is for you.
My name is Brenda Ibanescu. I am a business major, a leader, and a woman. I came to this country when I was five years old after my parents won the Diversity Visa Lottery. Apart from being born to a mother who is one of the greatest people on earth, winning the lottery is when my luck began. Not only was I lucky enough to win the lottery but I won a citizenship to the greatest country on earth. Because in this country women did not have to get married by the time they were 18 and they did not need their husbands to open bank accounts for them. I decided to take my love for my adoptive country and my potential to do great things and I got on with it.
There are three big courses of action in regards to gender inequality. The first is to think about it. The second is to talk about it. And the third is to do something about it. I strongly encourage you to focus on the third.
When I started POW I focused on coming up with creative ideas to do something about it. The Speaker Series is a way for people to explore different industries and hear different perspectives. It serves as a platform for members to understand various career paths and to network. The Direct Recruiter Feed is a way to break down all barriers to entry. It is a no-excuse platform that enables members to have direct access to some of the largest names in Tech and Business. It is also a way to implement a large amount of change in a short amount of time. Meet the Firms is a way to motivate and inspire members: “You could be this person working at this company.”
Lastly, I wanted to attack the problem at the root. The fundamental issue on why women do not get promoted, are not CEOs and are not going into business is because they do not have any role models at the highest levels. They do not have mentors to push them and push for them. It is a vicious cycle. Women do not have women executives to look up to and therefore do not get promoted which means that the next generation will not have anyone to look up to either. If we can get involved with children at high school and middle school levels, especially in underserved communities we can be that example. We can show girls that business is fun, exciting and challenging. That it has the ability to impact people’s lives. And by being that example to them we can break that cycle.
This journey in POW will be a difficult one. There will be moments when you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Does anyone even care? Am I changing anyone’s life?” There will be times in POW or in your career when you will feel like giving up but I am here to tell you, do not. Because people do care. One day a member will come up to you and tell you that their life has been changed because of POW. You are breaking the vicious cycle. When that happens there is no greater joy than knowing that someone’s life will be better off because of the impact you make at POW.
Finally, I would like to leave you with some parting advice for new leaders.
It is up to you now to continue the work we started with POW. Always know that we are here to help and that we believe in you. So you must believe in yourself. There is no wrong answer or path. When you have to make a decision and you are not sure how to make it, just ask yourself, “Will this hurt or help the mission?” I hope POW, the members, and the mission brings as much joy to your life as it has to mine.