Forté Foundation Partnership with Smith College

According to the Forté Foundation website, the Rising Stars program “is the easiest way to show leading employers that you're at the top of your game.” Through Smith College’s partnership with Forté, students get help with career exploration, personal branding, job searching, networking, and professional values. We sat down with Forté Campus Representatives Lillian Emenogu ‘20 and Cowiya Arouna ‘21 to learn more about their experiences.

CIEC: How would you describe what the Forté Foundation does for someone who never heard of them?

Lillian Emenogu ‘20

Lillian Emenogu ‘20

Emenogu: The Forté Foundation is an organization committed to rebalancing the power structure in the workplace. They do that by inspiring a community of motivated women to lead in every aspect that business touches. At the undergraduate level, Forté has developed an incentives program called Rising Stars that is dedicated to helping women stand out to top employers and preparing them with useful information about the workplace. The best part is that you earn perks as you do it. My favorite activities were the ones that matched me to potential career paths based on my skill set and taught me about the importance of salary negotiation for women. Without some of these activities, I can't say I would have gotten the information elsewhere.

Arouna: The Forté Foundation serves as an introduction to the world of business. Forté is a bridge between the world of business and women, like me, who at first shy away from business because they are not pursuing a business degree or attend a liberal arts college that does not have any business focuses. Forté helps you gain a deeper understanding of what business means and how it connects to all avenues of life.

CIEC: How has Forté helped you in either your personal or professional development as an undergraduate?

Emenogu: Forté has given me a lot of great tools to prepare me for the job market. They cover areas such as personal branding, job search navigation, and networking. It’s  an added tool kit to what we already have through the Lazarus Center. Though I'm still learning, Forté has taught me to be a leader and not to be afraid to stand out because as women we often might be overlooked. My goal is to take this confidence with me to my first job and show that Forté women from Smith are really powerful and connected.

Arouna: Forté has provided me with an extensive network of revolutionary women who are breaking the glass ceiling everyday in corporate America. A good network is worth more than money and Forté has opened up doors for me to connect and learn from women all around the country which has lead to many career advancing opportunities being shared with me.

CIEC: Why were you interested in becoming a Forté Campus Representative? What are your duties/responsibilities in this role?

Emenogu: I was interested in becoming a campus representative because I deeply resonated with Forté's mission and wanted an opportunity that would put me in a leadership role. As a campus representative, my main responsibilities include serving as a point of contact for Forté related questions, encouraging membership to the undergraduate Rising Stars program on campus, promoting Forté College Conferences, and attending monthly meetings to strategize and plan throughout the semester.

Cowiya Arouna ‘21

Cowiya Arouna ‘21

Arouna: I became a Forté Campus Representative because I first discovered my passion for finance after being selected to attend the Forté Liberal Arts to Business Conference. This conference made me realize a career in finance is a feasible aspiration for students of color at liberal arts colleges, both minority demographics within the finance industry. I met amazing women who inspired me and provided a lot of insight, and I thought it would be great to share this with all Smithies. As a campus representative, our responsibilities are recruiting students to the Forté Rising Star program and holding events to get the word out about Forté.

CIEC: What's one piece of advice you'd give to someone who's interested in becoming a Forté Campus Rep?

Emenogu: I would encourage students to sign up for the Rising Stars program through the Forté website and check out all the cool activities and events they have planned! Forté really is about creating a strong network of smart, motivated women and so if this sounds like you I strongly encourage you to sign up!

Arouna:  A piece of advice  I would give anyone interested in becoming a Forté Campus Representative is to not be discouraged by the application process. Being a campus rep is a very flexible job and provides you with a lot of insight and opportunities. I would recommend anyone on campus who is interested in joining the Forté Team to speak to me or Lillian.

The Forté Foundation Rising Stars program at Smith College is sponsored by the Conway Center and the Lazarus Center for Career Development. Click here to learn more.

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