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SXU students participate in Chicago Network's Future Leaders Program


Twelve Saint Xavier University (SXU) students participated in the Chicago Network's Future Leaders Program. The Chicago Network is a group of senior women business leaders that has partnered with SXU, Dominican University and University of Illinois-Chicago to expose young women to a variety of careers. SXU students had the opportunity to visit the Northridge Group and University + Industry Labs.

The students participating in the program include the following: Gabrielle Agustin, Jennifer Boardway, Angelica Garcia, Brenda Gutierrez, Lena Hassan, Nancy Lesnicki, Jessica Luvianos, Rachael Norris, Izla Olson, McKayla Smith, Trenise Wilkes and Montzerrat Gomez.

The Future Leaders Program offers a chance to visit companies; receive an overview of the organization and industry; take a tour of the company; and discuss the skills, abilities and education necessary for their career path. The goal of the program is to inspire women to become the next generation of leaders.

"Students gain practical, hands-on knowledge of the world of work," said Jean Riordan, director of Career Services and assistant vice president for Student Affairs. "Participants also gain exposure to the wide variety of opportunities open to them with their SXU degrees!"

Students may apply for the program by submitting a resume, explanation of career aspirations and additional information such as GPA and extracurricular activities. Those who were accepted into the program attended an orientation in downtown Chicago.

"This program is meant to educate young women about the skills that are necessary to pursue leadership positions and to inspire young women to emanate those skills and characteristics within their own lives and careers," said sophomore psychology major Nancy Lesnicki. "This organization provided the opportunity to explore various avenues of the workforce and acted as the impetus that allowed us to connect with intelligent, influential women that we would otherwise not have had the opportunity to meet."

A peer mentor and president of the Polish Student Association among other activities, Lesnicki is grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of such a fine organization. She felt that the entire process gave her and her student-colleagues a newfound sense of belonging and confidence. By having a network of strong female leaders surrounding the group, they left the program feeling encouraged and empowered to persevere in their schooling and future careers.

"As students, we have a tendency to underestimate the value of our skills and experiences when facing the intimidation of beginning our careers, but this program has shown me that there are people who are eager to lift up fellow career-builders and that it is critical to recognize the significance of your own hard work," said Lesnicki.

Sophomore computer science major Gabrielle Augustin enjoyed the time and interaction the young women were able to gain through learning from women in the workforce. She felt that the Future Leaders Program gave them the chance to see that success is attainable with hard work.

"These types of organizations unite female college students of all different backgrounds and career paths," said Augustin. "They exhibit how women are successful when they actively seek opportunities to promote personal and career growth for themselves and in turn, uplift the generation of girls after them."

Fellow participant and American Chemical Society (ACS) and the National Honors Society for Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) member Lena Hassan found the entire experience incredibly enlightening. After completing the program, she hopes to continue working with Chicago Network in the future.

"I feel a part of something greater than me and it is empowering," said Hassan. "I hope someday to become a strong woman leader and being a part of the Future Leaders Program is a great step into learning to become one."

To learn more, please visit the Chicago Network's Future Leaders Program.