3rd Annual Power of Women Event Empowers and Inspires

My power is…

"Bringing people together"
"Being a working supermom"
"My positivity"
"Caring for others"
"Adaptability"

My power is: Limitless.

These were just a few personal powers that women shared this past Sunday, November 8, when Kingswood Oxford School held its third annual Power of Women “Igniting Tomorrow’s Leaders" event. Spearheaded by Director of Leadership Giving Jayne Rotter and co-chairs Sloan Duvall ’21 and Risha Ranjan ’21, this year the event occurred via Zoom due to the COVID pandemic. A panel of four women leaders, representing an impressive variety of career fields spoke to more than 170 parents, students, faculty, and alumni in an afternoon of empowerment, practical advice, and positivity. 

Head of School Tom Dillow kicked off the event with an introduction to the audience and said, “My hope is that today’s conversation will help to inspire our students to grow further in their leadership capacity. That they will be willing to take risks and pursue their dreams.”

Over the course of the hour and a half discussion, the student moderators led a passionate and inspiring discussion where panelists talked about their experiences overcoming workplace challenges and shared advice for approaching difficult life situations. Those panelists that graduated from Kingswood Oxford also spoke about how their classes during their time here ignited a passion for a variety of avenues and a springboard to pursue them.

The event featured the following women:

Julia Flaherty Boland ’82  is a real estate professional with 19 years in residential sales and marketing in New York City. She currently leads the Boland Team at The Corcoran Group and is a member of the elite multi-million dollar club. 

Erica Marrero ’01 specializes in Public Diplomacy to promote U.S. interests abroad. Currently, she serves in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs which promotes foreign policy direction in the areas of international security, military operations, defense strategy, and plans, and defense trade. 

Ngozi Taffe P ’20, ’22 is Assistant Vice President for Global Affairs and a Researcher at the University of Connecticut. Taffe’s research focuses on factors that enable persistence among minority groups. She is working to develop initiatives with global institutes.

Nicole Wetsman '12 is a reporter at The Verge covering health and health technology. Her work has also appeared in Popular Science, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Slate, and other publications.     

“No matter who you are talking to, there are always going to be doubters,” said Marrero. “You have to dig deep and ask yourself what you are capable of and blast through those barriers. Women are sometimes told not to make waves, let something go. If something is truly wrong or unfair, make the waves. If you let it go it won’t change. Use your voice.”

Boland encouraged, “Learn how to fight fairly. Stick to the facts. Be aggressive. Finding your voice and learning how to fight is important.” 

Taffe agreed. “There is always a way to get around a bump. Around it, over it, under….find a way to get to your ultimate goal.”

A key takeaway from panelists included being true to yourself even when people are standing in the way and understanding the various, unexpected progressions of a career path. Although students are accustomed to the linear progression in school, they should anticipate curves and bends in the workplace. Boland, Marrero, Taffe, and Wetsman all agreed that a non-linear path shouldn’t make any woman feel like she isn’t successful. Instead, they enthused that these moments are where you grow and develop your more resilience

Wetsman said, “Be true to yourself and your goals even when people are standing in your way.”
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Located in West Hartford, CT just steps from Blue Back Square, Kingswood Oxford is a private school inspiring co-ed day students in grades 6-12 with a college preparatory curriculum. Empowered students become clear confident communicators, resourceful problem-solvers, and ethical leaders. KO: where unlimited potential meets endless opportunities.
Copyright 2018. Kingswood Oxford.