Second annual WISE summit to offer learning opportunities for all


The Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship is holding its second annual summit March 26 in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex. The organizers, from left to right, are Meera Patel (Director of Design), Meghan D’Arcy (Director of Marketing), Alex Stern (Head of Summit), Fatema Janahi (Director of Outreach) and Ho Yan Ho (Director of Operations, not shown). Photo courtesy of Meghan D’Arcy.

Adessa Jayne, news correspondent

The Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship, or WISE, will be holding its second annual summit later this month. The event will feature a variety of speakers and workshop sessions centered around ingenuity and positive change within the field of entrepreneurship. Registration is $25 per person and will close March 20th.

The summit, which will be 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. March 26 in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex, or ISEC, is designed to serve as an opportunity to highlight the resources the organization has to offer while encapsulating the group’s culture of inclusivity and enthusiasm.

“The environment that WISE events tend to bring is really invigorating, really energizing and people are there to learn and support each other,” said Ho Yan Ho, a fifth-year international affairs major and director of operations and logistics for the summit. “That’s really what the WISE community is about, we’re all there to support each other and empower each other, so I’m really excited to have the community be able to experience this on the summit.”

WISE is a Northeastern student organization that strives to create an equitable environment in which women and nonbinary students from all majors are given the space and resources to develop entrepreneurial skills and foster innovative mindsets.

“WISE was founded by two amazing women a few years back with the goal that it would be an entrepreneurial space for women and nonbinary people who may have not seen themselves represented in other Northeastern organizations,” said Meghan D’Arcy, a third-year business administration and design combined major and director of marketing for the summit.

This year’s summit will focus on providing an array of resources and encouragement in the interest of helping individuals fulfill their greatest potential, a topic that is especially relevant given the challenges of the pandemic, Ho said.

“Our theme is ‘redefine your limits.’ We chose this theme because everyone has been impacted by COVID over the past two years,” Ho said. “In times of crises, you’ll see companies and people pivot and innovate to try to keep pushing forward. We really want to emphasize how we can all use this as an opportunity to innovate, look towards the future and create change in our own lives and in our communities.”

The day’s agenda includes 12 workshops teaching a variety of skills, four lightning talks and two keynote speakers — Alexandra Legend Siegel, senior director of equality engagement at Salesforce, and Emma Bates, co-founder and CEO at Diem. The summit’s speakers will share a common theme of promoting diversity and innovation in entrepreneurship.

“We’ll have various women and nonbinary founders and industry professionals come in and talk about how they’re breaking boundaries and redefining their limits,” said Alexandra Stern, a third-year business administration major and head of the summit. “One of our lightning talk speakers is coming from Portland and she started her own digital media platform during COVID for people of color and nonbinary women, breaking the boundaries in the media world.” 

The workshops will focus on developing either soft skills, which relate to cultivating better interpersonal skills such as communication or leadership, or hard skills, such as data management or proficiency in tech. The varying topics will correlate to different levels of proficiency in entrepreneurial topics to ensure students of all experience levels can participate and learn from the summit.

“You can choose which workshops you’re going to attend,” D’Arcy said. “We’re focusing on how we can cater and bring value to people all the way from freshmen, who maybe want introductory workshops on things like breaking into project management or how to start a career in PR … and then we have other workshops, one of which is health integrations and data in fitness in tech, which are more specific, hard skills.”

With a key emphasis on inclusivity, the summit is an event open to all students, irrespective of experience or major, and is valuable even to those whose career goals do not directly lie in business.

“Going to a conference for an organization that’s centered around entrepreneurship can seem like it’s only made for a certain type of person,” D’Arcy said. “But what we’re really trying to do, and what WISE as a whole is trying to do, is show the student body and Boston that being an entrepreneur can mean a lot of things, and having an innovative mindset can be valuable in any field.”