Professional Development Day 2023

On Saturday, March 25th, WLI hosted its 9th annual Professional Development Day, its first in person one since before the pandemic.  At the event, students identifying as women and those with intersecting identities learned professional skills associated with the workforce. Executive Board members planned the event with the support of faculty advisors, and attendees experienced interactive workshops. This year’s topics included professional introductions, professionalism in fashion, and a panel of recent alumni discussing life post-graduation. These events were followed by a mentor lunch where SJU faculty dined with participants and discussed networking and professionalism. 

Read on for reflections on PDD by some of our Executive Board members!


Patrice Romano ‘24, Director of Communications Team

“This is my third PDD, but the first one I’ve ever experienced in person and my first as Director. The planning process and execution of the event gave me so much professional experience in addition to what the day’s seminars taught me. My team and I planned and designed all creative for the event; the promotional social media posts, flyers, the slides, flyers, merch for guests, name tags, etc. I spent this PDD as the event photographer, and got to see the event through a new lens (pun intended). I learned the value of planning ahead, gained deeper appreciation for event planners, and learned how to handle advertising for a major event. Programs like this have so many moving pieces, and it was so satisfying to watch it all come together. I am so proud of the EBoard for such a successful event, I can’t wait for our 10th Annual PDD next year!


Alicia Jones ‘26, Communications Team Protegé

“As a freshman, I came into Saint Joseph’s with the intention of becoming involved and integrating myself into the community. When I heard about Women’s Leadership, I was delighted to have an opportunity to meet not only women, but women like me, with the same passions and goals. Additionally, this was the first in person PDD since the pandemic, and it was exciting to learn alongside my older e-board members the ropes. I felt like I was a part of something that would help generations of women here to come. As for the event, it was awesome to see the turnout. A lot of girls who I knew prior were in attendance, and I was proud of the freshman class for taking the initiative to show up. I had such a genuinely enjoyable time, and all the women I met were wonderful. I am very proud of how everyone put all their energy and effort into the program and took full advantage of what they were provided. I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!”


Grace Donohue ‘25 Co-President

“This was not only my first PDD in person but my first PDD ever. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to speak and moderate the post-grad alumni panel. It was so amazing watching a room full of current and future leaders learn how to develop and build upon professional skills. One of my favorite parts of the day was just listening to others about their own lived experiences and stories. It is extraordinary the ways some women have overcome obstacles that have faced in their careers but managed to come out of them that much stronger. Our mentors and alumni were absolutely amazing and gave a ton of great advice to all our attendees. I am so proud of our entire E-Board for all the hard work and planning that they put into this day. As Co-President, I oversaw a lot of the behind the scenes logistics and the work that went into this day was invaluable in building upon my skills as a leader. I already cannot wait for next year’s PDD!”


Ava Culver, ‘25, Co-Vice President

“Professional Development Day was almost like the boogeyman for me for so long. I was scared of messing up my first in person PDD and honestly I’m the type who goes to networking events to hang out with the people I already know. Yet, I met so many new people and had such an amazing time planning and attending PDD. I got so much advice from the Alumni Panel and our mentor for the lunch, Beth Hagovsky, who was really interesting and had a lot of good things to impart on us. Overall, after receiving super positive feedback from attendees and making it through the day with no major setbacks, I would call the day a major success and a pleasure to be a part of.” 


Eshika Attri, ‘26, Communication Team Protege

“During my first PDD, I had the pleasure of presenting the workshop  ‘Professionalism, Personal Style, and Perception’ alongside my fellow Comm Team member Miranda Oseguera. Being given the opportunity to present on this topic was really exciting to me because of my strong love for fashion and experience as a stylist. Overall, the presentation was so well received by all the attendees. During the interactive game we played, they asked amazing questions and displayed a strong understanding of  how to “dress to impress” in professional settings. On top of all that, Miranda and I were able to successfully promote the huge resource on campus that is the Career Closet, a donation based closet that provides free professional clothing on campus for all students to take.”


Daniella Campos, ‘23, Director of Campus Relations

This year’s Professional Development Day was a bittersweet experience. The executive board and I have worked so hard all year to make this year’s PDD the best possible. However, this is my fourth and final PDD. After being unable to attend PDD my first year and having my second and third PDD virtually, I was very excited to experience it in person this year. I was responsible for planning the ‘Mentoring Lunch’ session with Ms. Walker. Working with her enhanced my event planning skills by compiling the guest list, drafting emails, curating questions, organizing seating arrangements, and communicating updates with Ms. Walker and the rest of the EBoard. Overall, I think the session turned out great, and I was happy to see everyone engaging in meaningful and valuable conversations. 

It is weird to think that I will not be helping with planning and organizing next year. I have been in WLI since the beginning of my first year at SJU and have had the pleasure of working with talented, hardworking women who inspire me daily to become a better leader. WLI and PDD specifically have taught me so much, both professionally and personally, that I will take with me into the next chapter of my life. I am so proud of everyone on EBoard, and I know you will make next year’s PDD the best one yet!”


Miranda Oseguera, ‘24, Communications Team Member

“This was my third PDD but my first one in person. Being in person made all the difference. I was able to both partake in the community building as well as help facilitate it. I had the pleasure of creating and presenting a workshop with Eshika Attri, a fellow communications team member. Our workshop was all about professional attire and in it we really saw the attendees interact with their table members to foster enriching conversations and learn from each other. This year’s overall was a huge success thanks to the amazing advisors and e-board members who worked so hard to make the best event they could. I am so excited to start planning for my last PDD next year and can not wait to see what everyone brings to the table so that we can get to know each other and learn from everyone.”


Sophia Kosty, ‘25, Co-Treasurer

“I cannot stop talking about my experience seeing Professional Development Day come to life this past Saturday. The women of WLI’s Eboard have put in so much work, and it was great to see all of our parts come together. I mainly worked on the budget and ordering of WLI merchandise or anything else we needed. I also worked closely with the Aramark Catering staff and checked in guests. Overall, the experience was informative and fun. I cannot wait to see what is in store for the next PDD!”


Rachel Piazza ’26 Co-Vice President 

“As a first-year, PDD was very intimidating for me. I know I wasn’t alone in feeling this way, as it was the first in-person PDD for most of the people planning and attending the event. Despite this, PDD was a great success thanks to all of the advisors, eboard members, presenters, panelists, and guests who made it all possible. PDD was an amazing opportunity for guests to expand their networking skills, connect with insightful alumni, and interact with staff who students don’t usually get to connect with. One of the highlights for me was gaining advice from Dr. Shih and Dr. Kim Allen Stuck about research opportunities leading to a potential career in academia. Overall, I am so grateful to have been a part of the planning of this event and to have experienced working with such intelligent and professional women!”


Hannah Pajtis ‘26, Communications Team Protégé 

“If I could describe PDD in one word, it would be informative. As a protégé for the WLI Eboard, I was beyond lucky to work behind the scenes of PDD and experience it firsthand. I d can attest that the WLI Eboard truly put so much effort into this event and I’m lucky to work alongside such accomplished women. My favorite part of preparing for PDD was doing an Instagram story takeover on @sjuwomenlead. During my takeover, I got to provide information on PDD and WLI as a whole. At the event itself, I particularly enjoyed the workshops presented by faculty and members of the WLI eboard as they were both interesting and extremely relevant. Workshops like ‘Professionalism, Personal Style, and Perception’ by Eshika Attri and Miranda Oseguera were practical and fun, allowing attendees to utilize their creativity and engage with other participants. 


Kelsey Nager, ‘25, Co-Treasurer

“For me, Professional Development Day 2023 was not only a great day of learning, but also served as one of my greatest professional and leadership accomplishments thus far. Though I attended our virtual PDD last year, this year’s in-person PDD gave me the opportunity to manage a large budget, coordinate event catering and other logistics, and actively problem-solve with my fellow executive board members. The interactiveness of the activities allowed me to learn, as well as practice, the invaluable skills needed for the professional world. These activities included practicing elevator-pitches and engaging in productive discussions with SJU alumni and staff. I’d encourage any woman-identifying student to participate in future PDDs as it offers so many opportunities for professional growth.”


Thank you to all who participated, we hope you took some valuable skills and tips from the day. See you next year!