IWL Hosts Lean In Circle with Nichols President Engelkemeyer

Editor’s Note: Joyce Salles is a senior at Nichols College, majoring in marketing and minoring in hospitality. She also interns for the Nichols Office of Marketing and Communications. 



The Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) at Nichols College hosted a Lean In Circle event in September, during which nine female students–including me–shared a dinner with Nichols President Susan West Engelkemeyer at her house on Center Road.

Each month, there is a new guest speaker for a casual gathering for fun, development, and support with other female students. I must say, it was a little hard at first to think of it as a casual meeting, since I was sitting in the President’s living room, but she made us all feel very comfortable, very fast.

After introducing ourselves, we had time to ask the President questions on her professional success. She had great stories to share about her college years and told us she was actually an Equestrian Studies major because of her love for horses (which was evident by the many horse portraits on her walls). Her path toward business professionalism had some bumps and bruises, but that did not stop her. Instead, she took advantage of the setbacks to stir up motivation to be better … and she was! Her story was inspiring to hear as she reminded us that sometimes the best opportunities come from the hardest situations.

Along with the delicious catered meal, we were given tips and tricks on how to become successful businesswomen; there was high intensity “girl power” around the table! We chatted about wage gaps, how to negotiate your salary, chasing your dream job, and being confident in your abilities. Our conversation tied hand-in-hand with IWL’s mission statement:

Through campus initiatives, industry partnerships, research analysis, and thought leadership, the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Nichols College focuses on the issues and challenges impacting women in business, with goals of

  • developing the leadership potential of students, and
  • serving as a resource and authoritative voice on women’s leadership for the community at large

Thank you, President Engelkemeyer, for sharing all your secrets to your success! I left inspired and ready to handle all the situations that may come my way!


Research shows that women feel more confident and are able to accomplish more in groups. Lean In Circles are small peer groups that meet regularly to learn and grow together. LeanIn.org–an initiative founded by the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Foundation–runs a network of more than 40,000 Circles in cities and on campuses around the world, and they are changing lives. Members are asking for more, stepping outside their comfort zones, and leaning in.

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