Dear Harvard Business School,
Celebrating 50 years of women MBA graduates is a major milestone and please accept my sincere thanks for inviting me to the big bash.
Here is what I loved about last week’s “W50 Summit:”
*I spent time with 800 women, 99% of whom I had never met before. We struck up conversations at every opportunity and discovered the varied paths each of us has taken since graduation. Women in their 20s, their 70s, married, single, gay, straight, SAHM, moms who have worked every day since they graduated – all in. There was no judgement, no mommy battles, just deep curiosity and respect.
* We listened to Drew Gilpin Faust, the first female President of Harvard University, welcome us and speak of how educating girls around the world is “fair, smart and transformative.” The standing ovation we gave her was the first of many.
* I met women from the first class (‘65) and imagined what it was like to be one of the eight who studied beside 676 men. Unlike the men who resided in dorms on campus, they lived across the Charles River. Barred from the campus dining room, they brought their lunches and used makeshift ladies rooms still equipped with urinals.
* We listened to Sheryl Sandberg (‘95, COO, Facebook) remind the SRO crowd, “to believe in ourselves, to keep raising our hands, to take a seat at the table.” And, if anyone describes a little girl as “bossy,” correct them, saying that she has “early leadership potential.” These were words every one of us could have used when we were still in your classrooms.