College Success

C2B Leadership Conference Gathers Undergraduate Women in New York for First Time

Raina SearlesThe Forté Foundation College 2 Business Leadership Conference took place in New York for the first time on April 10, 2015, convening more than 100 female undergraduates, MBA program representatives, and distinguished professionals representing top companies. The C2B Conference was hosted at Deloitte’s Headquarters in the 30 Rockefeller Plaza Building, where women from schools across the country interacted and learned during hands-on sessions about personal leadership and branding, summer internship recruitment, and business management.

Over the course of a day, attendees built leadership skills, enhanced their resumes, networked with leading companies and graduate schools, and learned about various internship and career opportunities.

An Attendee’s Perspective: Raina Searles, University Of Pennsylvania

To learn more about attendees’ experiences, I interviewed Raina Searles, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Marketing and Communications with a minor in Theater.

C2B was Raina’s first experience with Forté, and she says it was one of the most memorable events in her undergraduate career to date.

“Attending the conference helped me consider not just who I am now, but who I want to be in the future, what I want to do professionally and personally, and the fact that a weakness now does not have to be a weakness later,” she said.

She was also impressed by the diversity of the C2B attendees, who represented a variety of majors and geographies. It reinforced that businesses thrive in many different locations and industries and that, ultimately, she can select any of them.


In addition, key C2B sessions helped Raina to broaden her focus to achieving long-term, continual success, and learning from diverse people and business functions.

Part of this inspiration came from hearing Nicole Weber, an executive coach and lead trainer for MBA and financial services clients at Great on the Job, speak about the importance of building a winning personal brand in the recruitment process and beyond. Nicole and her team teach people how to communicate effectively and make a great impression in every workplace situation.

“There is so much that I want people to know about my personality, values, and skills,” Raina said. “When I apply for internships and jobs, I hope to manifest exactly the right idea of myself that is the truest representation of what I believe.”

One of C2B’s most popular sessions is the Marketplace Business Simulation, which places attendees in teams to manage various virtual business situations. Raina says the simulation exposed her to new aspects of business and the issues they present, such as finance and accounting, which she doesn’t typically study in her current major.

“It was so refreshing to work with people who were genuinely interested in a project and making decisions. Even after some spirited debate, we ultimately came together and took care of our business,” she added.

Overall, Raina felt that the event provides a healthy balance of lecturing and group activities, as well as opportunities for problem solving, self-reflection, and networking—all in 9 hours that “flew by.”

“After experiencing the College 2 Business Conference, I feel so much more connected to Forté,” Raina said.


Julianne Perry is a junior at the University of Texas at Austin majoring in English and advertising. Julianne dreams of designing book covers, and plans to launch her career by working as a copywriter in an advertising firm. She recently enjoyed attending the Forté C2B Conference.

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