Benedictine University hosts first LeadHERship Summit

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More than 100 women came together on Thursday for Benedictine University’s first-ever LeadHERship Summit. The event was the brainchild of Nicki Anderson, co-director of the university’s Leadership, Empowerment, Action, Development, and Service Program (L.E.A.D.S.).

“This event was a wish of mine when I started the leadership program for women,” said Anderson. “I wanted them to be able to come to something where they could learn from others who have been through some challenges with their professional lives, and how they navigated.”

Prabhu speaks about her professional experiences

The program kicked off with keynote speaker and Naperville native Trisha Prabhu. Prabhu is the inventor of ReThink, an app designed to detect and stop online hate. Back in May 2022, she released her first book, “ReThink the Internet: How to Make the Digital World a Lot Less Sucky.”

Prabhu had some inspiring words for young women in the audience. 

“My advice to young people is be 110% confident,” said Prabhu. “Don’t be afraid of failure, know that it’s going to happen, know that the chaos is inevitable. Accept that, embrace that, and believe in yourself because if you do, other people will.”

LeadHERship’s panel discussion

Prabhu’s talk was followed by a panel discussion, featuring CEO at Naperville-based Itzy Ritzy, Kelly Meyer Douglas, Executive Vice President at Dentsu International Sudeshna Sen, and V.P. of Strategic Operations at SAP, Grace Buzzard.

The panel covered a variety of topics, such as confidence in the workplace, balancing work and life as a woman, and networking as a young professional.

“I love the idea of having someone who’s newer into the professional world, and then having more seasoned members at the panel discussion,” said Anderson. “I really like that balance of different generations and how they view business and their professional journeys.”

Anderson was pleased with the turnout at Thursday’s summit. And as the former president and CEO of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, she was happy to have members of the city’s continued support.  

“When this event was announced, I was amazed at how many people from our Naperville community stepped up and just expressed their appreciation for having something like this,” said Anderson. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”

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