Harianne Hewitt, a second-year student pursuing a double major in business management and international hospitality and service management, is the president of RIT's Women in Business club. The club is hosting a business etiquette training dinner at 6 p.m. today in the Bamboo Room. The dinner is free and is open to students across all majors.
In her time away from the classroom, Hewitt, from New York City, enjoys catching up on the latest episodes of How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal, supporting friends and cooking.
Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: I applied to 13 colleges in high school. I found out about RIT when I got an informational packet in the mail, and a few things caught my eye. I was impressed with the co-op requirements for my major, Saunders' 4+1 MBA program, and the wellness classes offered. As acceptance letters began to roll in, I was stuck choosing between the University at Albany, Binghamton University and RIT. I picked RIT because I saw that it was the best opportunity for me to be challenged and to grow.
Q: How did you become involved with Women in Business?
A: I found out about Women in Business my freshman year during Saunders' annual picnic. There was a table with water bottles and a woman standing talking about a Women in Business club. That woman was the original founder, who started the club back in the mid-2000s. I signed up to go to the informational session and learned that the club was currently inactive and that she was looking to revive it. Coming from an all-girls Catholic high school, I had a strong passion for advocating for women excellence, so I ran for president. I became president in fall 2015, and have been ever since.
Q: What have your responsibilities entailed since becoming president, and what has the club done under your presidency?
A: My responsibilities vary. The E-board is very involved in all decisions made. We try and map out meeting ideas, fundraisers and other things as a group. By doing this, I hope to foster an open environment with effective communication and opportunity for leadership to grow. Some of the things we have done include hosting an ice skating fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, where we raised a little over $500 to help a child travel to Disney World to meet Mickey Mouse; assisting Saunders with an event that brought high school students to campus to gain a deeper understanding of the business world; hosting lunch panel discussions for the accepted women in Saunders; assisting members with their résumés, cover letters and public speaking; and more.
Q: What will take place at this week's etiquette dinner, and why did the club choose to host the event?
A: This Friday, we will be bringing in a consultant from The Refinement Studio in Rochester, and she will be educating students on proper dining etiquette in a professional setting. The idea stemmed from when I went to the Athena Awards in January, looked at the table setting and realized that I could not identify which fork was for what. All I knew was that you eat outside in. At that moment I realized that I couldn't be the only one that was unaware of proper dining etiquette, so we decided to host this event.
Q: Why is it important to have a club like Women in Business available to RIT students, and what has been your favorite part of it?
A: Women in Business supports women who love business and like to help other women in the industry become better and stronger. I believe every part of life involves business, therefore supporting women in all sectors in challenges that they may face and using our skills to overcome them is important. My favorite thing about being president is seeing members having fun and gaining something out of each experience.
Q: In what ways can this experience be applied to your future plans, following your time at RIT?
A: The biggest lesson that I've learned is that if there is no passion, there is no purpose. My time outside of Women in Business will be spent with reason, passion and purpose.
Lauren Peace compiles "Student Spotlight" for University News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions.