Stock image of Rosie the Riveter. -Photo courtesy of The Smithsonian.

Determination and guidance were emphasized at Rowan’s “Sharing HERstory” discussion in the Owl’s Nest Tuesday night. The panel largely discussed how female entrepreneurs succeed in the competitive job market, as well as ways on how the panelists’ experiences could help guide Rowan’s female students’ success in the future.

The panel consisted of Brittanie Thomas, a former Rowan student, and Natalie Vargas-Suppi, a local business owner. Both are female entrepreneurs who have succeeded in their respective markets in Philadelphia and Glassboro.

Vargas-Suppi is a yoga instructor and founder of Peace Love yoga studios in Glassboro, while Thomas is the founder and creative practitioner of Happily Better After, a creative consulting network comprised of men and women tackling the most challenging prospects of people’s lives in creative ways.

Throughout the night, Thomas and Vargas-Suppi discussed their journeys and difficulties faced along the way.

Thomas expressed that simply going after what you want is the hardest thing a person can do.

“I was working in higher education for awhile before I decided what I wanted to do,” Thomas said. “I’ve always considered myself a creative person, especially when it came to music, and when I finally figured out that I can use both music and my expertise in higher education, I began this creative business to help individuals express themselves as well as educate them in creative ways.”

Vargas-Suppi expressed that determination and goal setting helped her succeed in her business and life.

“I worked in retail before I started my own business,” Vargas-Suppi said. “My mistake was staying in corporate, where it’s salary based and felt very caged in. So when I quit my job, I was determined to set goals, both short term and long term ones, to not only better myself but also figure out what I wanted to do as well as what could work for my business in the long run.”

Freshman psychology major Abigail Charpentier noted the incredibly empowering experience of seeing other strong women succeed as they chase their passions.

“As a woman, to hear other strong women find their passions and chase after them no matter the obstacles they face, is just purely inspiring,” Charpentier said.

Charpentier, a member of Rowan’s Planned Parenthood Generation Action, saw the panel as very helpful in guiding her to new ways of pursuing her goals.

“I think the part on reaching out to people and building connections with others is really important for clubs,” Charpentier continued. “We can form connections with more people and spread the word for women’s health.”

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