Tartans women in Boston

On the eve of September 27th, 8 Tartan Qatar women got ready to board a flight at the Doha International Airport. They were heading to Dubai, then to Washington, and finally to Boston for a conference. The conference was called HUWIB, or the Harvard University Women in Business Conference.


As one of the students who were selected to attend the conference, I did not know what to expect. None of us had ever been to Boston before. After the long and tiring journey to the city, we were all ready to get off the plane and hit our beds. The city, with its old architectural style buildings and young crowd energized us.  As soon as we reached the hotel, we unpacked, changed, and began exploring the city.




Boston is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. I realized this as soon as I walked down Newburry Street, a street that caters to both the architecture geeks and the shopping fanatics. The stores, cafes, buildings, people, but most of all, the weather fascinated us. The air was chilly and it also drizzled. Our feet were cold by the end of the day but it was worth it.



The next day was the day of the conference. The conference was held in the Hynes Convention Center, a 2 minute walk from our hotel. At the registration room, we were surrounded by thousands of young professional women, dressed formally, and ready to learn from what the conference has to offer. The conference began with an opening note from Sarah Robb O’Hagab, president of the Equinox Holding Inc. Having worked at Nike and Gatorade, she provided us with insightful information about the issues her business career faced and how she tackled them.




Following the opening speech, we were separated into breakout session. There were many to pick from for each session. I decided to attend the ‘Negotiating for Success’ workshop by Professor Jeswald Salacuse, fromt the Harvard Negotiation Program. The second breakout session I attended was called ‘Like, Share, Follow: Leveraging Social Media in Your Career’. The panel of speakers for this workshop included Peipei zhou from Facebook, Stacy Marie Ishmael from Percolate Industries, and Amanda Pouchot from Levo League. These inspiring women gave us important tips on social media interaction with potential consumers as well as incredible insight into their careers. It was enlightening to know about what their jobs are like on a daily basis and this information provided me with an idea of how much I would enjoy a career in this field! The final work session that I attended was titled ‘Deciphering the Dot-Com: Internet Based Businesses’. Here, we were joined by Joanna Bloor from Pandora, Nimi Katragadda from Google, Sarah Fray, Peipei Zhou and Amanda Pouchot. Here, I learned about the collaboration of web in everyday business processes. With every session, I was astounded at the complexity of the careers that the women on the panel represented. It was inspiring and fascinating to learn about the careers that I could potentially explore.


I ended my HUWIB experience with a keynote speech by none other than Donna Karen from DKNY. She is well known around the world for her name in the fashion industry. However, in her talk, she also spoke to us about her passion for yoga as a healing process, and her climb and struggle into the fashion industry. While I found her speech extremely disconnected and almost random, I related to parts of her speech. For instance, she spoke about her interest in art and culture around the world.


Just as we thought that our Boston trip could not get any better, we were greeted with some more pleasant experiences on the way. The first of these is our meet with ex-CMUQ student affairs officer, Dave Stanfield. It was great to find a familiar face even though we were so far away from home. We spent the evening with Dave and his family and loved every minute we spent with him. Next, we dined at the Cheesecake Factory, and then finally ended our experience with their signature cheesecakes.




Our stay in Boston was short, just about a day and a half. We travelled for a much longer amount of time than that. However, none of us had any regrets or bad memories. The occasional wet shoes in the rain or tipping over the glass of water at the dinner table were soon forgotten and we came back to Doha with some incredible memories. 

by Saba Singh  Oct 5th, 2012
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