Kelly Weiss is on the front lines of women in business

Oregon senior and Women in Business vice president Kelly Weiss speaks at the annual Women In Business Gala on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. (Taylor Wilder/Emerald)

“Never underestimate the power of Kelly.”

Instructor Tina Starr says this about student Kelly Weiss now, but Weiss hasn’t always been this way. When she began the business program, Weiss admits she felt extremely defeated because of how difficult the classes were, and she wanted to find other women who were seeking a future in business as well.

“I was trying to find a support system and people who could help me, so I heard about Women in Business and it’s helped me tremendously,” Weiss said.

She found what she was looking for in the Women in Business group at University of Oregon. Three years later, she’s now vice president.

“The core mission of WIB is, ‘can we empower women to go outside their bubble and keep moving forward?’” senior, Ana Pena said.

Women in Business has increased 30 percent over the last year, with its current membership being 208. The group actively brings in speakers from areas such as marketing, management, finance and accounting to come give advice to students on how to get a job right out of college.

“It’s the ladies who can speak for themselves,” Starr said. “They’re the ones that have made this club what it is.”

Women in Business started at the University of Oregon because the ratio of women to men in the business school was much lower. The group celebrated their 10th Annual Gala in February at the Ford Alumni Center. Weiss said the Gala is where the executive board matches each student with a professional in the area of study that they’re interested in.

“It’s basically a networking dinner,” she said.

Weiss’ role at the gala was to monitor the event and make sure everything ran smoothly.

“I think that’s why VP suits her well; because she can do anything,” Starr said. 

Weiss said Women in Business has taught her how to have confidence and to remember the importance of supporting one another. Working in a field that is primarily male-dominated, Weiss feels she’s always had to try a little bit harder to prove herself. Last summer, she interned at Frito-Lay and after she graduates in the spring, she’ll be heading down to California to start working permanently for PepsiCo.

“They offered me the job in Seattle and California but I fell in love the second I drove down there, so I chose California,” she said.

She hopes she can support women in her career the same way she has here in Women in Business. Starr describes Weiss as “A networker, self-starter, and self-motivated woman,” and sees her holding a high position in the company she ends up in.

Weiss is also a duck guide for the Lundquist College of Business, a teaching assistant for Starr and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

“I’m really proud of the business school and I feel like I’ve dedicated the past four years to this place,” she said. “I hope that when people come to this school they find as much enjoyment as I have.”

Women in Business meetings are bi-weekly on Tuesdays in Lillis 245 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“Come to a meeting. I guarantee after your first you’re going to want to join,” Weiss said.

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