New York Life was well represented at the recent “Winning Women” conference hosted by Virtual Enterprises International (VEI) for high-potential female students. Heather Nesle, president of New York Life Foundation, and Marie-Helene (Marie) Payen, head of Community and Operations at New York Life Ventures, lent their expertise to the event.
Since 2015, VEI, a New York Life Foundation grantee, has hosted the annual conference to guide female high schoolers and enable them to hear firsthand from women with diverse professional backgrounds about their journeys and the perspectives they’ve gained over the course of their careers.
Nesle joined a panel of female leaders to offer tips on building a personal brand, establishing professional presence, and developing effective communication skills. Over the course of the discussion, she emphasized the importance of being consistent, accepting constructive feedback, and maintaining a positive outlook.
“VEI is a terrific program that gives participants a truly hands-on view about how a business is run and the various jobs that they can pursue. Equally important to learning about functions is learning about how to communicate and ‘show up’ for potential employers”— Heather Nesle, president of New York Life Foundation.
“VEI is a terrific program that gives participants a truly hands-on view about how a business is run and the various jobs that they can pursue. Equally important to learning about functions is learning about how to communicate and ‘show up’ for potential employers,” said Nesle. “I am a firm believer in having mentors and passing knowledge on to the next generation of emerging female leaders, so participating in this event was a great way for me to pay it forward.”
Participating as a mentor, Payen led breakout room discussions on leadership, teamwork, and presentation skills. Reflecting on the event, Payen explained, “Giving back to aspiring young female leaders was a very rewarding experience. Mentees asked thoughtful questions which brought a lively exchange from mentors who shared practical examples and situations based on their own careers. Thanks to this event, I also expanded my own network by connecting further with fellow female professionals who aspire to elevate the next generation of female leaders. A true win-win moment for women!”
Representing over 430 schools across the country, VEI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to career exploration and career development for middle and high school students. New York Life has been an active VEI partner for almost 10 years. Since 2011, New York Life has committed $3 million to VEI in corporate, New York Life Foundation, and volunteer grants. Our funding has helped VEI launch Junior Ventures, the organization’s middle school program and business competition. New York Life and VEI also partnered on the Junior Ventures Career Academy Program (VE-JV), challenging students to collaborate with their classes to launch and manage businesses.
A core objective of VEl’s programming is to develop students’ entrepreneurial and work-based learning skills to bridge the divide between the classroom and the work world. According to the Veuve Clicquot “Women’s Entrepreneurship Barometer Global Report 2021,” 74 percent of female entrepreneurs believe it is important for aspiring entrepreneurs to have a female role model to look up to.
As Iris Blanc, founder of VEl, noted, “One cannot be what we cannot see. It is so important for our female youth to connect with professional women who offer inspiration and motivation for girls to think bigger and understand what professional choices might be available to them. We appreciate New York Life’s partnership in supporting our efforts to build brighter futures for young women.”
Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.