SOPHIE GOURLEY ’19
This past August marked the sixth annual Venture Trinity pre-orientation program. Venture is a three-day leadership conference designed for about forty first-year women to come to campus a few days before the start of orientation to get to know like-minded peers, learn more about all that Trinity has to offer, identify and expand upon leadership skills and engage with female faculty members and alumnae. Although Venture is only three-days, most participants would agree that that the program positively shaped their college careers.
The first day of the conference begins with a reception for the first-year women and their parents with special guest President Joanne Berger-Sweeney. The second day of the conference is focused on developing one’s leadership skills. Before the start of the program, the women took an online “Strengths Quest” that identified their leadership skills through a series of questions. At the conference the participants learned how to leverage these strengths and how to collaborate with others whose leadership skills differed from their own. In the afternoon, the participants heard from a panel of female professors on how to establish one’s voice in the classroom. This year, our panel included of Professor Any, Professor Papoulis, Professor Pitt, Professor Woldu and Professor Kovarik. The participants also engaged in a series of team building activities to get to know each other, and even got the chance to learn how to play squash! That night, the women attended the annual alumnae dinner to get to know some of Trinity’s amazing members of the College’s Women’s Leadership Council. The last day of the Venture consisted of reflecting on the skills and connections developed throughout the program, and hearing from alumnae about their experience in the workplace after Trinity. This year our keynote speaker was Julie Gionfriddo ’96 of Apple Tree Partners.
Each year, about six sophomores who participated in Venture program return as mentors to the program. These women also have the chance to return to the program again as a senior mentor, to continue to offer guidance to the first-year women, and to also help the Venture planning committee run the program. This mentor-mentee relationship is something very essential to the program’s success.
Jenny Conant ’22 participated in Venture this past August and reflects on her experience when saying, “Venture was a great way to meet young women who have varying interests, but at their cores, share a love for problem-solving and positive change. I am still friends with the participants that I met, and I cannot thank Venture enough for introducing them to me.” After Venture, Jenny has already gone on to join AASA, Chapel Singers, The Trinity Homelessness Project, The Mill and the Catalyst Leadership Corps Program, and she has only been on campus for a month!
Gillian Reinhard ’20 served as a senior mentor to this year’s program. She says, “Many students agree that joining a pre-orientation program is one the most effective ways to establish connections as quickly as possible. Venture has definitely inspired me to explore my leadership opportunities at Trinity and has served as an amazing network.” While at Venture as a first-year student, Gillian got involved with the Trinity Tripod and ultimately rose to be editor-in-chief of the paper last year. Gillian originally joined the Tripod thanks to her Venture mentor Erin Gannon ’20 who was serving as the managing editor for the paper that year. Erin originally started writing for the Tripod after hearing about it from Maggie Elias ’17, her Venture mentor. These types of connections are often made through the program, and many women admit that most of their involvements on campus can be traced back to Venture.
Brooke Samaratunga ’22 says, “Venture was definitely an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Personally it was very tough to say goodbye to my family but Venture felt like a new family in a sense. The Venture leaders were extremely kind and caring as they genuinely wanted us to have the best Trinity experience. It was amazing to be with other women leaders. The relationships I made at Venture have turned into some of the most meaningful friendships. I’m thankful for Venture for giving me a network of women who can inspire me and who can have my back.”
This incredible program wouldn’t be possible without the support and dedication of the planning committee, which includes Sue Aber, Barbara Walden, Katy Dissinger, Katherine Bainbridge, Michelle Kovarik and Melissa Brozino Regan ’87.
Follow @venture_trinity on Instagram to learn more about to see all of the amazing things Venture women have gone on to do after completing the program!
SOPHIE GOURLEY ’19