Inspire Inclusion: DeGroote Community Share Their Thoughts for Women’s History Month

April 2, 2024 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by DeGroote School of Business

To celebrate Women’s History Month 2024, we asked DeGroote students, faculty, alumni and staff to share their thoughts on inclusion, leadership, advice for their younger selves and how to support other women. Thank you to all our community members who participated.

The theme for IWD this year was “Inspire Inclusion” how does this translate to your daily life?

“Inclusion is woven into my daily actions. I actively seek diverse perspectives, ensure everyone’s voice is heard, and champion an environment where every individual feels valued. It’s about fostering a culture where diversity is celebrated, and inclusion is the norm.”

–Uma Gopinath, Chartered Director, The Directors College, Gil Bennett Gold Standard Award Recipient

“I make an effort to amplify the voices of women, especially those who are marginalized or underrepresented. I give credit where it is due and ensure that women’s contributions are recognized and valued. Take the time to listen to other women’s experiences and perspectives, especially those who have different lived experiences than my own.”

–Indrani Butany, BSc (’96), MBA (’00), Wayne C Fox Alumni Award (‘23)


What advice do you have for women seeking to pursue a leadership role?:

“Connect with allies and others who share your commitment to leadership and personal growth. A supportive network can provide valuable advice, support, and opportunities for collaboration on initiatives aimed at enhancing your leadership journey and creating positive impact.”

–Maryam Ghasemaghaei, Professor of Information Systems

“Embrace the challenges you face; they build your resilience. Pursue your passions with fire, and most importantly, collaboration is key to unlocking potential.”

–Shweta Sapra, MBA ’23

“My advice for emerging women leaders is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Consistently show up, raise your hand, ask questions, and lean in at the table! Your contributions are valuable. Take up your space!”

–Bita Pejam, MBA Candidate


Which women inspire you and why?

“A woman who inspires me is Yanique Brandford, founder of Help a Girl Out Charity. She inspires me because we share a Jamaican heritage and come from similar backgrounds. She started her own charity to solve an issue her community was facing (period poverty) and took matters into her own hands. Her dedication and passion for her cause are part of what inspired me to pursue student leadership and activism for women and the black community.”

–Keionna Cousins, Commerce student

“My mom inspires me tremendously because of how hardworking, strong, and compassionate she is. She left everything behind in Colombia to come to an unfamiliar country like Canada to provide my brother and me with a better life. Her sacrifices have encouraged me to excel in my academics and take advantage of all the amazing opportunities this country has to offer!”

–Zoe Zarmiento-Nieto, Commerce student


What advice would you give to your ten-year-old self?

“I would tell my 10-year-old-self to be more fearless, to take on the difficult challenges and to take or tread the uncommon path. It’s a tough age, especially for kids today – they have so much more access to technology, information and so many more choices. They need to be equipped to think through decisions and make the right choices. Not easy, but definitely something that needs to be discussed early in life,”

–Alaina Tennison, Commerce ’96

“I would tell her that she is going to get knocked down, but each time makes her stronger. Use those situations as growth opportunities.”

–Lindsay Humeniuk, Integrated Business and Humanities student

“Believe in yourself and set big goals. People may doubt you, but with hard work and dedication you can get to where you want to be!”

–Jessica Benskyh, MBA Candidate

“I would emphasize the importance of resilience, determination, and self-belief in the face of adversity. I would tell her that challenges and setbacks are not indicators of failure but opportunities for growth and personal development. I would encourage her to embrace her inner strength, to never give up, and to always believe in herself no matter what obstacles may come her way.”

–Nicole Rakowski, PhD Candidate, Health Policy and Management

“Embrace your quietness as a strength, not a weakness. Although it feels like a barrier right now, it’s a superpower waiting to be unleashed. Being shy doesn’t mean you lack confidence or worth. It means you have a immense amount of thoughtfulness and empathy within you. So, my advice to younger me would be to cherish these qualities.”

–Makayla Stickler, Commerce student


What are your favorite ways to support other women in your life?

“My favourite way to support other women in my life is talking about our goals and working together to achieve them! I also enjoy volunteering with organizations such as CAGIS to inspire the next generation of women in STEM.”

–Julee Minniti, MBA Candidate

“Always showing up and supporting what women around me are passionate about. Whether this is physically being there or checking in with a text or call, showing support for something that other women are passionate about goes a long way in building confidence and a supportive community. You also get the chance to learn from others!”

–Nicole Alves-Sala, Commerce student

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comment Policy

We generally welcome discussion on our blog posts. However, we reserve the right to edit or delete comments in certain situations:

  • Comments which include unrelated or suspicious links or messages (spam).
  • Comments which are off topic.
  • Comments which attack or threaten individuals or a group of people.
  • Comments which include profanity or messages that would generally be considered offensive or inappropriate by the McMaster community.

This site is moderated by the DeGroote Marketing and Communications team. If you have any questions please email Katie Almas.