On Thursday night May 26, 2016, the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship launched a Women’s Initiative. With a major gift from U.S. Bank, we were able to host an evening with over 100 women, both student leaders on campus and women in business and entrepreneurship in the community. This will be the first of many events and we hope to include as many women that would like to participate as possible. It’s the start of something big for the University and community at large. Read more here about the first part of the event, including the Mayoral Proclamation for Women in Business and Entrepreneurship.
After the Mayoral Proclamation, the next portion of the event brought out our entrepreneurial spirit. Women were divided into groups to brainstorm for 15 minutes about a specific strategy, project or program that the Ozmen Center could implement. The instructions were to develop an idea that fell in line with the goals of our initiative and it had to be something that would benefit our student and larger Reno community. When the time was up, one woman from each group pitched their group’s idea in less than 60 seconds.
Many of the ideas involved establishing mentorship among the two populations (women in college and women in the community). There were discussions around establishing a fund to specifically invest in women and other creative ideas were addressed. The Ozmen Center proposed a video project to highlight female achievements in entrepreneurial activity and to provide an example of the project, we shared a short video, asking women to join the project.
Before I wrapped up the evening, I shelled out a number of thank you’s to all those who helped plan the event and bring the initiative to fruition. Here’s my thank you list:
- U.S. Bank for the $10,000 sponsorship of the Ozmen Center Women’s Initiative.
- Brianna Bullentini and RAWBRY for a spectacular deal on juice, The Cheese Board and Sugar Love Chocolates for catering the event.
- All those who contributed to the swag bags!
- Vanessa Vancour and The Reynolds School of Journalism for being an outstanding partner and for allowing access to their production studios for our video project.
- The Mayor and her significant donation in Plato’s Closet gift cards, and to Madeline Burak for helping us officially proclaim the initiative.
- Kelly Northridge, Alice Heiman and Lauren Klein for their great mentorship in putting together the event and initiative.
- Britton Griffith Douglass for her gracious leadership collecting the random prizes some received in their swag bags and for other expert advice along the way.
- A huge thank you to Lanea Warren, Courtney McKimmey, Morgan Thacker and Chandler McCunn who poured countless hours toward encouraging young people on campus to get involved with entrepreneurship and for taking the lead on the newly formed student club for women.
- My rock at work is Liset Puentes who makes significant contributions to the Ozmen Center brand and successfully reaches students and the community to involve them in our programs.
- Kudos to Melissa Perez-Rios and Kylie Pearston, student workers in The College of Business, who developed several Ozmen Center marketing items.
- Heather Sallan and BootRoxx sponsored my killer outfit for the event.
- Doni Howard who spent many hours helping to ensure the precision of the event and its success.
- Greg Mosier, Dean of The College of Business, and Chris Howard the best bosses I’ve ever had who initially recruited me to join them in opening the Ozmen Center which has been the most incredible opportunity, opening more doors than I could have imagined.
The program ended and women were invited to sign up to participate as a student or community member in the student run club, Professional Network of Women. Women business owners and entrepreneurs were also invited to join the Ozmen Center video project. Tours of the Innevation Center began in 5 minutes and the after party at the Brasserie Saint James started promptly at 7:00 PM. Since the event, I’ve only heard positive feedback and look forward to learning how we can continue to encourage young women’s participation in business and entrepreneurship – what ideas do you have?