Category Archives: News & Views

Welcome To Our 2017-2018 Panel Members!

by Rachael Fassnacht ’17, IWL Program Coordinator


The Institute welcomes four returning and nine new panel members to the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Panel. We are thrilled to introduce them with the quote that inspired them and the reason they were interested to be on the panel. (Missing from photo: Karen Velasco ’19 & Sammi Truong ’19)

Kristina Maxwell ’18

“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity” – Michelle Obama

From Kristina: As a panelist last year, I was able to expand my knowledge of modern day women’s rights issues and learn a lot more about myself as an emerging woman in business. I enjoyed the behind the scenes planning of events, and appreciated the bond that I was able to make with my fellow panelists. I was able to make so many different connections through the IWL sponsored workshops and conversation projects, and being able to assist in planning them was an added pleasure. I was able to learn about and interact with so many different strong women in business as well as many strong female students who taught me how to become a confident and strong woman in the business world.

Isabella Sansone ’18

“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” – Sheryl Sandberg

From Isabella: For the past two years, I have been a member of the IWL Student Advisory Panel where I have been able to learn the challenges that women face in the business world, a male-dominated industry when it comes to achieving leadership positions where a wage gap still exists today. At each and every conversation project I have enjoyed meeting various professional women who are in leadership roles that have defied the odds. I have taken away various useful tips and helpful advice that I can share with myself and others along the way throughout my career.

Sammi Truong ’19

“So we must stand together to resist for we will get what we can take – just that and no more,” -Rose Schneiderman

From Sammi: As a panelist, I’ve learned a lot and participated in many events to help advocate for women’s equality and equal pay. Not only did this club help educate me on the upsetting facts on the inequality in this country towards women, but it made me want to make a difference by influencing and informing people around me about the unfortunate treatment women receive.

Karen Velasco ’19

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength” -G.D. Anderson

From Karen: The experience that the Institute has provided me with has been incredible. We have prepared empowering campus events to raise awareness about women rights and specifically the wage gap. It’s important for women on campus to unite their voices and through events such as the Awareness Week fight for the equality that we as women deserve. It has been important for the institute throughout these years to create an impact on campus and have women join the cause. It is important to me to become part of the Institute for Women’s Leadership each year, because it allows me the ability to voice my opinions and help the other students on the panel to come up with events that will change what people think and lead women to a better future.

Marshalee Johnson ’19

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” -James Belasco and Ralph Stayer Flight of the Buffalo 1994

From Marsha: I would like to be a part of the Institute for Women’s Leadership advisory panel because I am eager for change and want to be a part of a group that’s so much bigger than me. Advocacy is a powerful tool and I want to be a part of a group that advocates for an issue to be paid attention to as that’s often where change starts. If given the opportunity to be a part of this panel I will have access and visibility to women who have ideas of how to go about changing the way women are looked at and treated. When I leave Nichols I can share those experiences and hopefully inspire other women.

Lexxus Andrews ’20

“Power is not given to you, you have to take it.” –Beyoncé

From Lexxus: I’m looking to improve my leadership skills. I’m hoping to better my chances at surviving the Criminal Justice field and I believe the Institute for Women’s Leadership will do that and so much more for myself and the other females on campus. I would also love to be chosen as a panel member to give me an edge and learn more about myself.

Kaylin Goncalves ’20

“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely – and the right to be heard.” -Hillary Clinton

From Kaylin: The Institute for Women’s Leadership would allow me not only to continue to learn more about issues involving women, but would provide me an opportunity to meet with other individuals who would also like to see changes.

Samara Hod ’20

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

From Samara: If I am selected to be on the Student Advisory Panel for the Institute for Woman’s Leadership, I will not refrain from expressing ideas I have to encourage women everywhere.

Patricia Louidor ’20

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice…those who have fought for their rights…their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” –Malala Yousafzai

From Patricia: I am very enthusiastic and eager about applying to the panel because women’s leadership is something that I will always feel passionate about. Last year the IWL events that I attended were very life changing.T hey brought many well-rounded women into my life who genuinely cared about my education and other facets that could keep me stable after college.

Darianaliz Mercado ’20

“I believe in equality. And I believe in no difference between a man and a woman. I even believe that women are more powerful than men.” – Malala Yousfzai

From Darianaliz: When thinking about the Institute for Women’s Leadership I think about the endless opportunities that I must not only become a great leader but also to promote awareness to the issues that women are facing. I want to set a standard for not just my little sister to look up to but to do something that can help me to better myself so I can help others do the same.

Megan Nathanson ’20

“When they go low, we go high” –Michelle Obama

From Megan: I am a big supporter of women’s rights, and am very interested in joining the Student Advisory Panel to encourage the conversation of women’s leadership.

Sophia Prouty ’21

“My father used to tell me to say every morning that today would be a great day. That I can and I will. Well, Dad, I can and I did.”- Gina Rodriguez

From Sophia: I want to be on the panel to help inspire young girls like me to be more confident in themselves and everything that they do, the same way Gina Rodriguez inspired me. I do not just want to say women should be more confident, but I want to inspire them to do so and create great change in the women’s work force. Being on the IWL panel will give me a platform to speak up about what I believe is right; equality for all.

Anastasia Noyes ’21

“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within: Strength, Courage, and Dignity.” – Ruby Dee

From Anastasia: The reason why I would like to be on the Student Advisory Panel is because I really enjoy reaching out to my community, spreading awareness on a multitude of topics, and feel as though my leadership skills that I have obtained over the years prove that I am capable of helping others.


(Missing from photo: Karen Velasco ’19 & Sammi Truong ’19)

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