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In Celebration of International Women’s Day

Advice BU women leaders would give to their former selves

Today, Friday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, also known as the United National Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. The annual event is marked by special events and programs across the globe celebrating women’s social, economic, political, and cultural achievements throughout history. It also aims to draw attention to the discrimination and gender inequality that women continue to face. The theme of this year’s Women’s Day, #BalanceforBetter, is intended to make everyone, no matter their gender or status, more aware of bias and the harm it does and to serve as a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we reached out to women leaders in the BU community—students, faculty, staff, and alums—and asked them this question: “What advice would you give to your former self?” Their answers are inspiring.

Portrait of Senior Vice President of Internal Affairs for the Boston University Student Government Lovie Burleson with BU mascot Rhett
Senior Lovie Burleson (CGS’17, CAS’19) Vice president of internal affairs, BU Student Government
Everything will work out exactly as it should. Have faith, advocate for yourself, and be bold!

Photo courtesy of Burleson

Monique Kelley, Senior vice president, Weber Shandwick, lying on Nickerson Field at Boston University
Monique Kelley (COM’03) Senior vice president, Weber Shandwick
Do not strive for perfection; perfection is subjective. Focus instead on delivering true value to every relationship—professionally and personally—and never stop being what makes you uniquely you.

Photo courtesy of Kelley

Portrait of Kelly Nee, Chief of police for the BU Police Department, on a rooftop overlooking Kenmore Sq.
Kelly Nee Chief of police, BU Police Department
Don’t fret over things that are out of your control. Be adaptable and keep moving forward.

Photo courtesy of Nee

Portrait of Jennifer Jaroslavsky
Jennifer Jaroslavsky (CAS’15, CFA’15,’17,’19) Graduate assistant for administration, Dean of Students office
Dive deep into all of your passions, as those will make you the well-rounded person you have the potential to be.

Photo courtesy of Jaroslavsky

Portrait of Robyne Johnson, Boston University Track and Field Director
Robyne Johnson Director of track and field and cross country
I’d tell myself to work hard and always try and do my absolute best, but I’d also say, make sure to enjoy the ride. Don’t stress out too much. Stop worrying about the small things. Everything is going to work out, so make sure to enjoy each and every day. They are gifts.

Photo by Cydney Scott

Portrait of Carrie Preston, Director of the Kilachand Honors College at Boston University, standing in front of a building.
Carrie J. Preston Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Professor and director of Kilachand Honors College and a College of Arts & Sciences professor of English and of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
Speak up when you see something wrong, but just as importantly, amplify the voices of others who need to be heard.

Photo courtesy of Preston

Portrait of Jean Morrison, Boston University Provost and Chief Academic Officer, in her office with a sculpture of BU mascot Rhett
Jean Morrison Provost and chief academic officer
I would tell my younger self, who would not have been able to hear, to always make time for family and friends. They are the threads that hold together all the pieces of a meaningful life.

Photo by Cydney Scott

Boston University professor Amy Shanler poses with BU mascot Rhett
Amy Shanler College of Communication associate professor of the practice, public relations
Learn how to negotiate with confidence. You have more power than you realize and should look at compromise as a win-win, not a settlement.

Photo courtesy of Shanler

Portrait of Judi Burgess, Director of labor relations, Human Resources, and cochair of the BU LGBTQIA Task Force at Boston University
Judi Burgess Director of labor relations, Human Resources, and cochair of the BU LGBTQIA Task Force
My advice to both my former and current self would be this, one of my favorite quotes from Audre Lorde, lesbian poet, feminist, civil rights activist: ‘When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.’

Photo courtesy of Burgess

BU Terriers women's basketball head coach Marisa Moseley smiles at the podium during a press conference announcing her appointment as head coach of the team.
Marisa Moseley (CAS’04) Women’s basketball head coach
I would tell my younger self there is no such thing as perfect, and stop trying to plan your life. You will ultimately end up exactly where you are supposed to be…just enjoy the ride!

Photo by Cydney Scott

Portrait of BU College of Engineering professor Joyce Wong on a blue background
Joyce Wong, Ph.D. Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering Inaugural Director, ARROWS, Office of the Provost
Don’t compare yourself to others, don’t be afraid to try something new, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. No one is perfect: anyone who has been successful has a strong support system—they are lying if they say otherwise.

Photo by Josh Andrus

Selfie of Crystal Williams
Crystal Williams Associate provost for diversity and inclusion
Give energy, time, and attention to the people and activities that animate you, which call you to be your most compassionate, smartest, most effective, and giving self.

Photo courtesy of Williams

Portrait of Gloria Waters, Vice president and associate provost for research, in her office
Gloria S. Waters Vice president and associate provost for research
Don’t be afraid to embrace opportunities as they come along. Even if you think it’s a stretch, you’d be surprised at what you achieve and how much satisfaction there is in getting there.

Photo by Robert Bachrach

Portrait of Jackie Collet
Senior Jackie Collet (CFA) Stage and events manager for many College of Fine Arts productions
You know more than you think. Give yourself the freedom to believe in yourself.

Photo courtesy of Collet

Dave McDonald can be reached at davemcd@bu.edu; follow him on Twitter @DCMcDonald.


One Comment on In Celebration of International Women’s Day

  • Katharine on 03.08.2019 at 7:42 am

    Thank you to all these amazing BU women for sharing their words of wisdom and inspiration!

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