My name is Varina Winder and I am a second year student in the Masters in Public Policy program here at Harvard's Kennedy School. I am also the co-chair for the Women and Gender Caucus at HKS, an auditor in Iris Bohnet's Closing the Global Gender Gap class, and a summer 2010 recipient of the Roy Family Fellowship. I spent the Fellowship with Catalyst, writing a white paper on creating Employee Resource Groups for women talent in Latin American businesses (the blog for which can be found here).
I was absolutely thrilled to receive an invitation from the Women and Public Policy Program (or WAPPP, as it is affectionately known)--both to the Business Case Conference itself and to sharing my thoughts on the conference's progression via this blog. In the interest of full disclosure, I am very much interested in the nexus of gender, business, policy and politics and I bring a heavy bias with me to the conference.
I absolutely believe that there is not only a moral and ethical case for bringing gender and diversity to organizations, politics and societal discussions, but that there is also a business case. Thus, the conference, to me, will serve as a way to provide additional evidence for my convictions and to hear the thoughts of people from a variety of backgrounds--from Goldman Sachs to the World Economic Forum to academia to the White House Project. I am also excited to see my summer boss, Ilene Lang, and to meet some of my biggest role models (including, hopefully, Laura Liswood, the Secretary General for the Council of Women World Leaders and one of the Conference Chairs).
I will be posting my thoughts and reactions to the panel discussions and overall conference over the next two days. Thanks for staying tuned!