Category Archives: News & Views

New Year, New Faces at the IWL

As we dive into the 2017-18 school year, we would like to share some updates from the IWL. Jean Beaupre, former Faculty Director of the IWL, has moved to an Advisory Role, and Rachel Ferreira has taken over as Director. Supporting Rachel as Program Coordinator is recent graduate Rachael Fassnacht ’17, previously a member of the IWL Student Advisory Panel. Rachel, Rachael, and Jean share their thoughts below.

RachelFrom Rachel Ferreira, Director: My sister graduated in 2010 from Nichols College, and I found my way here because I saw the impact this institution had on her. Now in my role as the Director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, I hope to directly impact current female students in their journey. My background is in international relations and human rights, and I know that bringing awareness to issues impacting women’s leadership here at Nichols is one direct way of promoting change.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 1.03.01 PMRachael Fassnacht ’17, Program Coordinator: I am a graduate of Nichols College, in my fourth year, pursuing my dual MSA/MBA. As a panelist for the three years of my undergrad, I am dedicated to the discussion of women and leadership. To me, the two go hand in hand. It is important for these conversations to encourage Nichols students regarding the future of their leadership as women in business.

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 11.20.30 AMFrom Jean Beaupre, Faculty Advisor: After four years of serving as the Faculty Director of the IWL, I am thrilled to see it enter its next phase. Rachel is an amazing choice to take the reins, and I know the IWL and our students are in great hands. Also, it’s wonderful to see Rachael come back as a graduate and continue her contributions. I’m excited to see where  the IWL goes next, and am happy to be able to support their efforts in an advisory role, as I take on a new one of my own as Chair of our new Communication B.A.


What’s Ahead for IWL

We plan to focus our theme this year around confidence and the effects it has on women in business. Whether it be professional development, networking, or negotiation of the wage gap, confidence can play an enormous part in how women strive to close the gender gap.

Our upcoming events include:

Lean In Circles: Monthly gatherings for discussions among students regarding issues they are facing. Each month a new facilitator brings a new voice and perspective.

Conversation Projects: Dinner gatherings where students have the opportunity to meet and network with visiting professionals in a comfortable, conversational setting.

Socials & Workshops: Students are able to further their professional development with networking and negotiation skills through our immersive social and workshopping events designed to raise awareness.

Conferences: We invite our students to represent Nichols at the largest women’s conference in the country — the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston — and are proud to host our own Empowering Women in Business Conference here on campus, welcoming professional women in the region for networking, skill building, and inspiration.

Please click here to see the current schedule for Fall 2017.

Lean In Circles Spring 2017 Semester

by Mary Daly ’17
IWL Program Coordinator and Advisory Panelist

circle-logo-largeAs an IWL Student Advisory panel member and Program Coordinator, my true passion has been helping other women feel confident and succeed. Lean In Circles were created by Sheryl Sandberg to bring women together and build them up instead of tear them down, so they are a great fit for us.

IWL brought Lean In Circles to campus two years ago. This past semester, we met on the first Wednesday of each month in the IWL suite, in a small, comfortable group setting, addressing a different topic at each meeting. February was all about goals and organization. Students gathered together, discussed what we wanted to achieve and how to get there, and each of us created a Bullet Journal. Creatively, we designed ways to help stay on track with our weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. Each of the students met new people at the Circle, and we all worked to start the semester off right!

jarIn March, we focused on confidence and positivity. Research shows that if you’re happier, you’re also more confident. The creative aspect of this Circle was designing “pick me up” jars that hold positive messages so when you’re having a bad day, you can get positive vibes. The students chatted about things that make them feel less confident and how the jars could have a positive impact on their lives.

tableApril was our final Lean In Circle of the semester, and the activity was to create a summer goals board. We discussed how when you write down goals, you are more likely to remember them and therefore more likely to achieve them. The goals could be about anything, like losing weight, going on adventures, eating healthier, or just catching up with old friends. Academic, personal, and professional goals were all created. Students got creative, had fun, and leaned on each other for motivation and support.

Through our Lean In Circles, women around campus have learned about confidence, leadership, and how to lean in together in a confidential setting where they can be themselves. Keep your eye out for next semester’s Lean In Circles! Or if you have ideas for a topic, email us at

Connection Goes Both Ways at Nichols-Bartlett Program

By Alexandra Vojtila ’17
IWL Program Coordinator and Advisory Panelist

IMG_0380As the Program Coordinator at IWL, I knew that I would feel connected to the programs being conducted here, but nothing prepared me for the College Connection Program with Bartlett High School. I watched last year as Olivia Barrett, previous Program Coordinator, organized the Fall session of this mentoring program connecting high school juniors with Nichols student mentors for a day of personal and professional development. She pulled all the small details together and I even helped where it was needed. Now, it was my turn.

We began to get ready for the College Connection in the very beginning of the semester by reaching out to volunteers and staff looking for both donated time and donated goods. As time progressed and the date got closer, we had a myriad of lists and jobs that needed to be done. There were a lot of details going into this program and I was excited (and a bit nervous) to see how it would unfold. In the days before the event, we were sorting through Amazon packages, running to the store, stuffing gift bags, confirming volunteers, and making sure that every last thing was in place.

IMG_0358 IMG_0347IMG_0348When the day rolled around, we arrived bright and early to unpack, set up, and make sure that everyone was ready for the day ahead. When I got to the auditorium at sunrise, it was locked. I panicked a little, but then realized this was actually meant to happen. Because I was locked out, I had a few minutes while waiting for public safety to arrive to relax, breathe, and get in the right mindset. Another volunteer showed up as well, so we talked a bit and I had someone to help me right from the jump.

IMG_0350All of the volunteers arrived and we piled our goodies from Professor Beaupre’s car into the auditorium. It was amazing to watch everyone carry out their roles and set up either the stage, the chairs, the table, or the welcome desk. No one complained and no one was tired; it was a team. The girls from Bartlett High School arrived off of the bus and it began to pour. However, with every “good morning” that was yelled out from our greeting committee, the students were quick to respond. As they arrived, it was clear they were excited, but I don’t know if they were aware of what they would be accomplishing throughout the day.

IMG_0353 IMG_0362 IMG_0372 IMG_0383As the day went on, it was like watching a flower bloom as the girls became more comfortable within not only the environment, but even within themselves. They were gaining confidence by talking to their mentors and our school’s faculty and staff. They took advantage of the opportunities we provided for them to learn about college, asking questions on everything from housing to meal plans to class schedule. There was one point in the day when I escorted a couple of the visiting high school seniors to sit in on a class. As we walked across campus, it was so natural having a conversation with them and I felt like they belonged there. If you’re asking what this has to do with me, it’s about feeling. One of the main reasons that I chose to come to Nichols College was because it felt like a home from the second that I stepped on campus. Walking with these girls felt natural, and I knew it could be home for them too.

IMG_0398 IMG_0409 IMG_0412I expected this program to feel like an accomplishment within myself once it was over, being that I organized a lot of it with Professor Beaupre. Instead, I felt happy for the young women who came and I just wanted them to get the most possible out of it. I found myself observing them throughout the day, starting new conversations and wanting to learn more. It was incredible to watch the day unfold and know that I had put something like this together. And I can see now that the title of “College Connection” goes both ways – for the visiting students, and for me and my fellow volunteer mentors.

I believe events for young women should be held everywhere in order to push the idea of growth into their growing minds. Putting this event together made me want to help more in the community and outside of work, and more importantly, it made me EVEN MORE proud to work with Professor Beaupre and an organization as awesome as the Institute for Women’s Leadership.