Student Spotlight: Jeannie Spiegel IGNITEs Future Female Leaders
This month, I had the pleasure of speaking with Jeannie Spiegel, a sophomore marketing and supply chain management major in Cohort 33. Jeannie is currently the treasurer for the Maryland Chapter of IGNITE, a national organization that empowers young women eager to be the next generation of political and corporate leaders. When asked why she joined the organization, she explained, “When I joined freshman year, I wanted to join a group that was both intellectual and pushed me out of my comfort zone. At my first meeting, we had a group discussion about Ruth Bader Ginsberg and what a role model she is, and I realized that this was the place for me.”
At IGNITE, Jeannie helps plan social events, networking sessions, and group discussions. More importantly, however, she’s helped to build a community of women building each other up and learning from each others’ perspectives. As Jeannie explains, “Being engaged in what’s happening around you is your responsibility as a U.S. citizen. It blows my mind when I hear some people don’t read the news every day! As amazing as UMD is, I feel that it sometimes lacks spaces to talk about really important issues. It’s so easy to go through your classes, homework, and extracurriculars forgetting about the bigger picture. However, through IGNITE, I feel as though I bring the perspectives from other empowered women into all aspects of my life, including QUEST.”
One upcoming event that Jeannie has been working to put on is a No-Barrier Women’s Networking Brunch. While some students have plenty of opportunities to connect with professionals in their field of study, Jeannie noticed that other students in other situations may not have such chances; hence the idea of the “no-barrier” network was born. Starter and prompting questions are provided, as IGNITE realizes that not everybody has the skills and practice of talking to professionals. Instead of full suits, students are encouraged to wear jeans and a nice shirt. There is no need to bring a resume or cover letter. Instead, IGNITE wants to simply provide the opportunity to talk to professionals from all backgrounds and experiences. As Jeannie explained, “Career fairs are intimidating. If there’s any way we can make people more comfortable furthering their career aspirations, why wouldn’t we?”
When asked if she had any advice to give to young women and students such as herself, Jeannie said, “Don’t be afraid to assert yourself. I went on an alternative break and met someone whose mom did supply chain management, which is what I want to do. I didn’t say anything in the moment, but later that day I grew the courage to ask the student for his mom’s contact information. He gave me her email address, and when I reached out to her, it turns out she was the Vice President of Johnson & Johnson North America. We had a lovely conversation and I learned a lot… but it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t ask.”
Cohort 33 and the entire QUEST Community is proud of Jeannie for helping young women grow and develop into tomorrow’s leaders! If you want to learn more about IGNITE or the No-Barriers Women’s Networking Night, you can find more information at ter.ps/womennetwork.