"Women In..." Speaker Series Debuts During January Term

January Term 2024 didn’t just focus on specialty courses and wellness programming, but also exposed students to women working in various fields through the “Women In…” Speaker Series. 
During all-School enrichment and evening programming, students gathered in the Van Voorhis Lecture Hall for presentations by five women, including alumnae, regional community members, and parents, in careers and fields that are or have historically been male-dominated. The speakers included Rev. Lori Archer Raible P’25 (religion), Kathryn Waters Ware ’14 (architecture), Emily Simanskis ’15 (public relations), Gretchen B. Clark ’92 (civil engineering), and Blair Jeffress (community and economic development). 

“You can go from being seen as a confident and competent architect to being seen as a little girl very fast if you don’t know your stuff,” said Ware, who currently works in Danville, Va. at Solex Architecture. “This pressure to always be ready, to make sure you can prove yourself at any time, is one of the many reasons you need that thick skin we get in school.”

Each speaker also shared insights about how to overcome obstacles in the workplace and push past what may be a perceived stereotype in order to pursue their passions. 

“If somebody’s willing to engage me in a conversation about gender or identity, then I’m going to take the opportunity to walk that path with them,” said Rev. Raible of encounters with those surprised to meet a female pastor.

Throughout the series, many students took the opportunity to learn more about each speaker and the field she represented, asking questions about how they chose their colleges and majors, their greatest accomplishments, and advice for them as they begin to plan their futures. Their advice: keep an open mind, work hard, and always be yourself.

See pictures from the speaker series and all of January Term on the School’s SmugMug.
800 Chatham Hall Circle  •  Chatham, VA 24531
+1 434.432.2941  •  admissions@chathamhall.org
Day and boarding school for girls grades 9-12 in the Episcopal tradition.

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