polo ralph lauren womens sneakers Alumna and Victoria’s Secret Direct CEO imparts her wisdom
Last Thursday, students filled over 200 chairs in Squires Old Dominion Ballroom to hear words of wisdom from one of Virginia Tech’s most successful alumni.
On Dec. 3, the Collegiate Women in Business Club (CWIB) hosted the CEO of Victoria’s Secret Direct and Hokie alumna Bridget Ryan Berman. Berman graduated from Virginia Tech in 1982 in business administration and has since gone on to work for many prestigious companies including Polo Ralph Lauren and Apple.
She, along with her husband and another founder, began a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to help fund treatment of clubfoot after their son was born with the relatively rare but highly correctable defect. The organization, Miracle Feet, has now helped finance the treatment of over 10,000 children and is in 13 different countries around the globe.
Berman had coffee with the CWIB officers and was present for a members only networking event before her official presentation began. In her presentation, she discussed her time at Tech as well as her career but chose to focus less on her own history and more on what students could take away and learn.
She spent time teaching students about career mapping. Career mapping is envisioning how a student or professional would like for his or her career to advance but also developing one’s whole person, including working with charities and giving financial donations, volunteer speaking and mentoring.
“The event is incredibly humbling because we’re only about a year and a half old, and I remember sitting down with the founding executives to plan out our initial semester on campus and the events that we were going be able to host,” said Mckenzi MacDowall, a junior finance major and vice president of finance for the Collegiate Women in Business Club. “And obviously Bridget is a huge success and an alum, so when we were talking about women alum, her name was constantly brought up but we never saw in the near future having an event with her and having it be this massive.”
Berman’s presentation struck a chord with many who were impressed with how far she has come and her generosity by visiting.
“Her success embodies women in business,
” said Corrigan Serpa, a junior marketing major and co founder and vice president of outreach for CWIB. “She’s very generous towards Virginia Tech and generous towards Collegiate Women in Business and genuinely cares about everyone in the audience and wants everyone to succeed, which is really what we’re trying to foster, that kind of environment.”
The feeling of respect and gratitude flows both ways.
“One thing that I’m very inspired by is that we support women in business through this type of organization and to see what an incredible turnout and enthusiasm for the activities that they’re putting forth, not only mine but all the things that they have done at Pamplin, and I think they’re just getting started,” Berman said. “They inspire me.”
The women of Virginia Tech feel the same way, with interest for the club exploding. The club has grown from five to nearly 140 paying members since its founding in the spring of 2014.
Shannon Cabrey, a senior marketing management major and president of the Collegiate Women in Business club, attributes much of the club’s success so far to its unyielding focus on its founding goals.
“We’re making sure that every event that we deliver ties back to our three guiding principles: empower, prepare or connect,” Cabrey said. “We really wanna make sure that we deliver on what we’re promising ”
The event was a fantastic way for women and men alike to learn the story of a very successful Hokie alumna and to meet like minded people interested in equality in the workplace.
“I think that as an alumni I just feel that I owe a lot to the school, the university, but certainly to Pamplin College to really appreciate what it did for me, to help me think about where I could potentially take my career but more importantly where I could take my life,” Berman said.