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Women in Business club at University of Iowa prepares collegiate women for the workforce

It’s a powerful visual image — dozens of female college students helping each other get started on the right foot in business.

It’s a common sight at Women in Business meetings, a student-led organization in the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business in Iowa City.

Katy Misel of Solon, a junior with a double major in business management and engaged social innovation, is president of the campus club. She joined as a freshman.

“What attracted me was how this organization tries to develop professional business women while also fostering relationships with each other,” Misel said.

Women in Business is one of the larger student organizations on campus, with nearly 230 members in any given semester.

“It has really expanded in the last two or three years,” Misel said.

The organization is run by an executive board of 14 female student leaders.

“I’ve always been the type to want to lead, so I was so drawn to this organization because of the women’s empowerment and the professionalism we offer through all our events each year, but also the opportunity to meet people, have fun and make friends,” Misel said.

“It’s a great mix. Other organizations on campus want to know how we have so many members. We have a social aspect that further connects our members and makes this a stronger organization.”

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The group attempts to foster a sense of connection among its members through the variety of programs, Misel said.

Every other week, Women in Business hosts a general meeting with dinner so members can network and build community.

“We bring in speakers from different industries to talk about confidence or accounting management, for example, all the different areas relevant today for women in business,” she said.

During weeks when there is not a general meeting, members meet in Lean In circles, where students can talk and learn from each other.

“Each group has about eight to 10 women plus a Lean In circle leader,” Misel said. “We talk about what classes to take, where you can find help and such. It’s an idea we started just a year or two ago, and it’s really taken off.”

The student organization also connects its members with female business leaders through mentorship opportunities and a professional women’s luncheon.

“We get most of our mentors through the Iowa Women’s Foundation,” Misel said. “We are grateful to those who volunteer their time towards the betterment of college girls just coming out of high school who are not really sure what to expect of the business world.”

To promote professional development, the group hosts mock interviews and offers workshops on resumes, cover letters and utilizing LinkedIn. They also offer a professional headshot photo session once a semester.

Later this spring, Women in Business will host a professional business trip.

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“We do this each semester, traveling to a neighboring big city like Kansas City, Chicago or Minneapolis,” Misel said. During the three-day trip, the group will visit at least three companies each day.

“It’s a whirlwind of meeting people and learning about potential job opportunities,” she said. “It’s a very cool opportunity to offer our members.”

Misel is proud of the programs Women in Business puts together and the impact the organization has on members.

“It’s an all-encompassing organization that hits a lot of bases. It combines professionalism and friendships, and that’s one of the things that I, and a bunch of other people, enjoy about it.”

For more information on the UI Women in Business club and how to get involved, visit www.biz.uiowa.edu/wib/.

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