Attendees applaud at the 2019 Women's Leadership Conference

Carlson Women Global Connect Inspires Women Worldwide

Friday, April 8, 2022

When Julie Gilbert, ’93 BSB, ’99 MBA, thinks and talks about Carlson Women Global Connect (CWGC) she can’t help but think of the future. Though women are beginning to make inroads to narrow the inequality gaps in business, there is still much more that can be done, and Gilbert hopes CWGC can help.

The organization is one of the Carlson School’s alumni affinity networks, which seeks to foster a culture of lifelong engagement and build a community of women dedicated to helping one another succeed.

“We really want Carlson Women Global Connect to be a lighthouse for women,” Gilbert says. “And not only women who graduated from the University of Minnesota or the Carlson School, but also their daughters, their nieces, and any little girl who has dreams to become something they never could have imagined.”

Before the affinity group was formed, much of the female-centric programming offered by the Carlson School focused on networking events in the Twin Cities. CWGC expands that substantially by offering events
for women around the world, as well as hosting other programming, such as sponsoring a mentorship program, hosting professional development opportunities throughout the year, and helping current students make
connections and advance their careers.

To support some of these initiatives, many in the organization have come together to donate their time and treasure. In November, the group established the Carlson Women Global Connect Alumni Affinity Network
Fund to advance initiatives that support gender diversification at the Carlson School and in the workforce, and foster engagement between Carlson School students and Carlson Women Global Connect members. The fund launched on Give to the Max Day and raised more than $16,000.

“We really want Carlson Women Global Connect to be a lighthouse for women.”

– Julie Gilbert, '93 BSB, '99 MBA

To help fund some of these initiatives, CWGC created a philanthropy and volunteer committee, which also formed on Give to the Max Day.

“I wanted to find a way to give back and help other students who were in my same shoes and need financial support,” says Jill Haspert, ’11 MBA, who is the philanthropy and volunteering lead for CWGC. “The Carlson School, and the U of M more broadly, enhanced my life in such an amazing way. So I’ve felt compelled to give back and keep that spirit going.”

With a foundation in place and plans to continue growing, Haspert and others involved with CWGC are already seeing the group shape lives outside of its members. 

“A key piece of this group is the impact all of this will have on our children,” Gilbert says. “The last two years of all of us working from home provided the opportunity for my 11-year-old son to overhear countless Zoom meetings, including the work we as women do to lead and grow businesses, elevate the financials, and also inspire and engage employees. He’s learning a lot through osmosis. So our responsibility is to build the next group of leaders, whether they’re male or female, who will help elevate women.”

Spring 2022 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Spring 2022 alumni magazine

Strength is determined by how we rise in the face of challenges. 

The Carlson School community remains an unstoppable force. 

Spring 2022 table of contents