It’s not often that a room full of people erupts in song, but that’s exactly what happened when women from all over the Springfield area came together to celebrate International Women’s Day at Bay Path University for the third annual On the Move Forum to Advance Women. The event, founded by Bay Path Undergraduate Communications Chair and Assistant Professor Janine Fondon, was designed to celebrate, unite, and inspire women from the community, neighboring businesses and institutions, and Bay Path students, supporters, faculty, and staff to celebrate the work of women from the past, the tenacity of women in the present, and the possibility of women in the future.
Harvard University’s Barbara Nobles Crawford joined the conversation as the event’s keynote speaker, addressing the United Nations Women’s Day theme: Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change. She shared advice and life lessons learned from her vibrant and varied career history, urging the audience to find supportive communities of mentors, champions, and allies, stating “women are the “only” person at the table. It’s lonely for us. I’ve been the first, and I’ve been the only, and I’ve been lonely, and I know what that experience feels like.” She also stated the importance of knowing yourself - your core competencies, skills, and abilities - but to also be open to change. “Keep reinventing yourself,” Nobles Crawford said. “If I stand still, then the rest of the world and all of these opportunities will keep floating around me. Ask, what do I want to do next? Be a committed lifelong learner. It’s not about books. It’s about life. It’s about listening. It’s about growing.”
Sharing the stage throughout the event were several Bay Path students, including a poetry reading by Loren Jones, a video presentation by
Throughout the event, women gathered together around tables to add their voice to the discussion of issues at the center of women’s rights. Table topics included The Future of Women, Women of Color, Millennial Perspectives, STEM, Business, Media, Education, Politics, Diversity, Pay Equity, and more. The conversations and key
“It’s been really empowering to be in a room full of so many strong and inspiring women that have the drive to change the world,” stated Bay Path junior Zoe Naglieri-Prescod. Dr. Ruth Bass Green, a music teacher and retired Minister of Music and Mount Holyoke College Dean, seconded that emotion, stating, “my energy, and my vision for what my work is, has grown much bigger. Every one of us that
The event ended in an impromptu sing-a-long of “This Little Light of Mine”, with the women in attendance ready to take action, and ready to be on the move. “Women face