After Boston College Women’s Summit: Own It ran a successful event in 2015 and 2016, the Women’s Center and the Office of Student Involvement (OSI), the event’s sponsors, have moved the event to Nov. 12 and announced a new keynote speaker. The change in date is meant to best accommodate the academic calendar as well as the schedules of these two groups. Adrienne Chiozzi, a member of the Own It committee and head of experiential learning in OSI, said that they believe hosting the summit in the fall will engage first-year students and better demonstrate the importance of female leadership, while also remaining relevant to seniors.
This year’s keynote speaker is Riham Osman, a digital media and communications strategist at the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Washington, D.C. She will be speaking in St. Ignatius, as Robsham is unavailable at the time of the talk. After experiencing employment discrimination for wearing her hijab in 2011, she became involved in activism. Isabella Valentini, a member of BC Women’s Summit: Own It and MCAS ’17 said, “We want to make sure that there’s a speaker that every student at BC can relate to. It’s something that we’re looking to do better and better every year.” This is a positive sentiment and marks a good development for the Own It summit. Last year’s speaker was Sophia Amoruso, a successful businesswoman who founded Nasty Gal, a women’s clothing brand, and wrote a New York Times bestselling memoir, #GIRLBOSS. She was a good speaker and demonstrated the perspective of someone who started without a college degree and achieved success, and this year Osman presents a different perspective.
Instead of an entrepreneurial background, Osman brings an activist background with a history of pursuing social justice. She worked with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commision to allow flight attendants to wear hijabs on Air France and has appeared on ABC7, NPR, and NBC and in The Washington Post and The Huffington Post. This new perspective offers women at BC another view from that presented in years past, a view they can benefit from. “That’s what we’re looking for—somebody to set the tone for the day of inspiration,” Valenti said.
So far over 200 tickets, of 300 free tickets available to all BC students, have been taken. This interest in pursuing a diverse speaker background should boost the event, and hopefully the change in time will not negatively affect turnout. As attendance data will be taken, future Own It summits should be planned around this in order to determine the best possible date for the event so that attendance remains high and the growing streak of successful events continues.
Featured Image by Jordan Pentaleri / Heights Archives