It’s Meaningful Business Supporting Worcester Women
For many students, winter break is a time to relax and get away from school-related assignments and activities. While a number of students do travel back to their home states or countries, Vaishali Menon, MPA student, stayed local and saw the winter session as a perfect time to continue her work with Clark University’s Women in Business club.
Vaishali has been part of the Women in Business (WIB) since February 2021, when she took on the role of the group’s social media manager. She immediately saw the potential to grow the group’s outreach to beyond the Clark campus and into the community.
“I saw the group was passionate about showcasing the strength and successes of women in the business world, which was great,” Vaishali explains, “but I thought something was missing.”
Indeed, despite the challenges brought on by the continued pandemic, WIB offered and hosted some impressive and popular events virtually and on Clark’s campus during the fall semester. Among the list were numerous guest speakers, career-oriented discussions and webinars, and attendance at area conferences. Vaishali, though, wanted her group to learn more about the challenges that women can face, in or out of business, and she wanted to do this in some hands-on way.
“When I was given the chance to serve as the WIB president, I wanted to make the group about and for our members, highlighting not just the successes but also hear the stories of the unnoticed struggles they confront,” she says.
Vaishali and the club’s vice-president, MBA student Eesha Kashif, did some research and found Living in Freedom Together (LIFT) in Worcester. LIFT Worcester offers shelter and support toward a new way of life for area human trafficking victims, most frequently women. The cause immediately resonated with Vaishali, who has been involved in service activities since she was a teen.
“I have been involved in community engagement since my high school days,” she states. “I have interned for the United Nations’ global movement #HeforShe, where I executed the launch of an online gender parity and women safety campaign. In addition, I am currently involved in Clark Amnesty International as their social media chair. We work hard to raise awareness about corporate accountability and human trafficking.”
Vaishali was told that LIFT was looking for volunteers for its “Lift Up the Holidays” fundraiser, and she jumped at the chance. Together with six other members of the Women in Business club, they attended the event to support LIFT’s leadership with logistical matters, and perhaps more importantly, engage with victims through conversation and crafting activities.
“Hearing their stories first hand was eye-opening,” she says, noting that she won’t share any details out of respect and organizational policy. “These were gorgeous faces with heartbreaking experiences.”
Women in Business vice president, Eesha, also took part in the event. “My time at the LIFT Worcester event was humbling more than anything else,” she states. “I felt like I was surrounded by a community of women just like myself – strong, compassionate and willing to lift each other up despite facing adversity. The event taught me that community matters more than anything else, and the best way to live is by helping those around us and spreading joy through our words and gestures.”
Vidhika Mathur, fellow MBA student and WIB treasurer, agrees. “It was almost overwhelming to see the survivors and to see these strong community leaders standing up for them and helping. It was inspiring for us young leaders to take part.”
Vaishali is always mindful of the Clark WIB group’s mantra, “Nevertheless, she persisted.” As the club’s president, she plans to continue to highlight the perseverance, passion and power of women. Toward that goal, she is hoping to collaborate with LIFT on a larger scale through a newly established volunteer partnership.
“I proposed a Clark WIB x LIFT Student Ambassador Program in which Clark WIB members and other Clarkies on campus could volunteer or possibly intern with the organization on a project-by-project basis.”
Vaishali and her peers are also planning a full slate of activities for the Women in Business club. After launching a WIB web site and the LIFT Ambassador Program, the group will host a Women’s Week of activities starting March 1 in honor of International Women’s Day. Another large event in the works is a collaboration with SOM’s American Marketing Association (AMA) club to conduct a three-day conference in early April around business, marketing, and other fields. It will be open to all students.
“It’s going to be a busy but exciting semester!” Vaishali adds.
WIB students who took part at the “Lift Up the Holidays” fundraiser:
Vaishali Menon, Masters in Public Administration (MPA) – President
Eesha Kashif, Masters in Business Administration (MBA) – Vice President
Vidhika Mathur, Masters in Business Administration (MBA) – Treasurer
Rubina Pradhan, Masters in Science, Business Analytics (MSBA) – General Secretary
Sonal Makhija, Masters in Science, Marketing Analytics (MSMA) – Event Coordinator
Prabhjot Gulati, Masters in Environmental Science and Policy (MESP) – Event Coordinator
Ankita Dhankani, Masters in Science, Marketing Analytics (MSMA) – Social Media Manager
~Authored by Meredith Galena
SOM Communications Specialist