Everyone would agree that much of life involves taking risks, but how do you know which ones will pay off? The Smith College Women’s Leadership Conference: Taking the Right Risks to be held on campus on March 27–28, will teach not only alumnae, but also students how to get what they want personally and professionally by taking smart, calculated risks.

Workshops and panels led by alumnae and faculty will explore various aspects of risk taking, from letting go of fear and following your passion, to how to put that passion into action, to what to do when things don’t go according to plan—no matter what your stage of life. Jennifer Chrisler ’92, vice president for alumnae relations and executive director of the Alumnae Association, sees risk taking as part of the overall Smith experience. “We encourage Smith students to take risks, and now here is an opportunity to learn what that has meant to Smith alumnae in their lives so far.”

Smith students are invited to attend the panel discussions and many will participate in the conference by hosting alumnae on campus. “This will be a great learning experience and opportunity for students to develop their leadership skills, said Colleen DelVecchio, director of alumnae engagement.

Four keynote speakers—each presenting a different slant on taking risks—will share their stories with alumnae.

  • Luma Mufleh ’97, who founded the Georgia-based nonprofit, Fugees Family, which works with child survivors of war.
  • Sabina Nawaz ’88 will discuss her experience leaving an executive position at Microsoft to start her own highly successful consulting firm.
  • Rachel Simmons—co-founder of the Girls Leadership Institute and author of the New York Times bestseller Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls
  • Smith College President Kathleen McCartney will address risk taking in her career, how it has led her to Smith and how risk plays into her role as president.

Chrisler notes that the conference is also a way for alumnae to connect with each other and a reminder of how powerful the Smith network is: “By attending events like the Smith College Women’s Leadership Conference: Taking the Right Risks you can engage with faculty and alumnae, and it becomes apparent that Smith isn’t a four-year experience—it’s a lifetime experience.”