Submitted to Olin Blog by Leslie Ann Ramey, MBA ’20, vice president of marketing and communications for Olin Women in Business.
On Saturday, February 15, members of the WashU and St. Louis community will come together to celebrate and support future women leaders at the annual Olin Women in Business Auction.
This student-driven fundraising tradition goes back more than a decade as a signature event hosted by Olin Women in Business (OWIB), and it provides a great way for the community to come together in support of a meaningful cause: raising scholarship funds for incoming MBA women.
When considering the business leader landscape, it’s easy to see why this cause is a significant one: Currently, only 5% of S&P 500 CEOs are women, and research has shown that 40% of these women hold MBAs. For many who hope to cultivate diversity in leadership, supporting women in pursuing their graduate education can be a great first step.
“Having a scholarship … allowed me to truly consider the best program for me, the best school for me and where I really felt at home,” says Natacha Arora, MBA 2020 and OWIB Scholarship recipient. “Knowing that someone believes in you enough to support you and donate is an incredible feeling.”
This year is particularly exciting for an event that is all about supporting future women in leadership. In November, Forte Foundation—a nonprofit that supports the advancement of women and gender parity in business school—recognized Olin Business School for leading business schools in achieving gender parity with 49% women enrolled.
Having community support in the form of raising dedicated scholarship funds for women has historically made an impact in helping Olin achieve this level of enrollment by women. An anonymous past scholarship recipient recently shared how OWIB helped shape her experience at Olin and beyond: “I’m so grateful for the OWIB scholarship, and I couldn’t have attended Olin without this financial support. Four years ago I started the MBA program, and it transformed my life. Now two years into a major career pivot, I can see what doors OWIB’s funding opened for me—new abilities in self-confidence, critical inquiry, meaningful relationship-building, and exploration through global travel and learning.”
This year, the fundraiser has already benefited from the generosity of the Olin and greater St. Louis communities, receiving more than 60 donated auction items. OWIB is also welcoming back alumnus and professional auctioneer Curtis James, PMBA 40, for the live auction portion of the evening. Attendees will enjoy bidding on a variety of auction items including group culinary experiences, vacation getaways, wine tastings, and tickets for Blues and Cardinals games.
For those interested in supporting the Olin Women in Business Scholarship, the fundraising campaign will continue through International Women’s Day in March and donations will be accepted online at wustl.advancementform.com/campaign/owib. Together, we can all help women shine brighter as leaders of tomorrow.