Catching Up With: IWL’s Rachel Ferreira

Editor’s Note: Professor Jean Beaupré, former director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Nichols College, has shifted to an advisory role. Rachel Ferreira succeeds her as director. From the IWL blog, Ferreira, who continues to serve as assistant director of enrollment, said: “My sister graduated in 2010 from Nichols College, and I found my way here because I saw the impact this institution had on her. Now in my role as director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, I hope to directly impact current female students in their journey. My background is in international relations and human rights, and I know that bringing awareness to issues impacting women’s leadership here at Nichols is one direct way of promoting change.”

Below, one of those female students Ferreira references, Nichols senior Ashley Dallaire, interviews her for Heard on the Hill. We hope you enjoy reading Dallaire’s article.

– Lorraine U. Martinelle, Director of Public Relations and Social Media, Nichols College; editor of Heard on the Hill



I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Ferreira, Nichols College’s new director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), about her expanded role on campus.

I previously knew Rachel from working as an admissions ambassador during my sophomore year. Interviewing her for this article was a great opportunity to learn more about her academic and career experience. From her, I learned that every job she’s had has led her to the position that she is so passionate about today: director of the IWL.

Rachel Ferreira

“I have always been proactive in trying new career experiences that fit a certain stage of my life,” she said. “As a woman, taking a chance in putting yourself forward is imperative.”

Rachel has her bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Bates College, her master’s in international relations from Hult International Business School, and has a broad range of work experience. Prior to joining the Nichols family in 2013, she held various positions at the Worcester-based Center for Living and Working Inc., was a consultant at EF Education First in the South, and was a museum teacher at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. As assistant director of enrollment, she is responsible for the Admissions Ambassador Program. She provides guidance and direction to work study students and maintains quality control standards, and she ensures that visit experiences are meeting the needs of the Undergraduate Admissions office, Graduate & Professional Studies, as well as Advancement.

As IWL director, Rachel develops and facilitates campus initiatives, industry partnerships, research analysis, and leadership among Nichols students, faculty, and staff. The IWL focuses on the issues and challenges impacting women in business. Its goals are to develop the leadership potential of students and to serve as a resource and authoritative voice on women’s leadership for the community.

While interviewing Rachel, I could feel how much she loves her job, which was inspiring to me.

One topic we discussed was confidence, or the lack thereof, in women. This led to the question of how she became director of IWL, to which she responded:

“Being interested in something and making it known is important; the position of IWL director fell into place. Women tend to wait for opportunities and not put ourselves out there, or we wait for someone to recognize how hard we are working,” she said. “Sometimes you do just have to say, ‘I’m doing this; I want to do this.’”

I related to this on a level I never thought I could, because I never thought other women felt the same way I do. It was a moment of, “Oh, I know exactly what you mean,” which rarely happens to me.

Rachel expressed that her priority is for students to see IWL as a resource. Simply from my interview, I will definitely again visit IWL, and I highly recommend other students do so as well, whether they need a quiet space to study, someone to talk to, or if they just want to check it out.

Some of the events Rachel and the IWL held for students during fall semester were Lean In Circles, mentoring programs and dinners, film viewing, and bringing students to the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston on Dec. 6. This spring, Nichols and the IWL will present the 8th annual Empowering Women in Business Conference on March 22, 2018, featuring keynote speakers Tracey Noonan and Dani Vilagie, co-founders of Wicked Good Cupcakes and featured on ABC TV’s Shark Tank.

Public Relations intern Ashley Dallaire is a Nichols College senior studying marketing, business communication, and management.

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