By Brittni Landers
This past week was one of my absolute favorite weeks of the year: Women Entrepreneurship Week. Throughout the week, I attended (and live-tweeted) several amazing events. It was at these events that I had the opportunity to meet countless amazing women entrepreneurs and women leaders.
Every speaker, panelist, and attendee was full of insight and enthusiasm. The environment was absolutely an incredible place to be to network and connect with other aspiring and successful entrepreneurs. One attendee took connecting to the next level, and that was Kim Guadagno.
As Lieutenant Governor of NJ, and currently acting Governor, she is a very busy woman, but she took the time to speak at the day-long Women Entrepreneurship Week Conference at Montclair State University and share her story with students like myself, leaders in the community, and hundreds of entrepreneurs.
When it came time for her to address the large audience she immediately went against the norm. Instead of taking her place on the stage, she walked around the conference center, weaving in and out of the attentive crowd. This highlights a strong point in her character. She is not afraid to break barriers and switch it up. We need more of that in our world today. In closing, she offered her cell phone number to anyone who may need her when “NJ is standing in their way.”
On my way home from the conference at about 9:30 p.m., I was thinking about all that I had learned at the event. I thought to myself, “I really should text Kim to thank her for her inspiration and insight.” I dismissed that thought because it was getting late at night and I didn’t want to bother her. But she had made it clear at the conference that she wanted us to contact her, she wanted us to reach out.
Through the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, I have learned the power of networking and the power of action. (Click here to see what else they taught me!) So I texted her. And you know what? She answered. She truly wants to help, she wants women to succeed, and she is humble despite her success. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to connect with her. Thank you Montclair State University and the Feliciano School of Business for continually providing great opportunities to connect with and learn from the leaders in our community!
Brittni Landers is a senior Marketing major at Montclair State, and a member of the Student Publicity Committee for Women Entrepreneurship Week. She received the university’s Certificate of Entrepreneurship in 2015.
Photos by Mike Peters, Montclair State photographer