The Team

USC OWN IT is a student-run organization that aims to connect the students of the University of Southern California to powerful and inspiring female leaders while expanding their network of mentors and peers in a wide variety of fields.

Through a one-day leadership summit with keynote speakers, main-stage panels, breakout sessions, and a networking marketplace during lunch, OWN IT hopes to inspire the next generation of women.

Come OWN IT with us on January 12, 2019.

Erica Wenger

Executive Director

I joined OWN IT because I've always been extremely passionate about connecting women. There is so much power in having stimulating conversations about women's empowerment and professional development between successful female professionals and students. I also love working with an amazing group of girls to put it all together.

My OWN IT moment was starting my own business and knowing that I would enjoy the journey and experiences.

Dimple Khatter

Executive Director

I joined OWN IT because I wanted to surround myself with a group of women that would inspire me to not only dream big but also take the appropriate steps to turn my dreams into reality. I went to an all-girls high school and always felt empowered and encouraged to pursue my passions and I wanted to be part of a movement on campus where women support women and we’re able to collaborate and learn from each other while finding our role models and mentors.

My OWN IT moment was this summer at my internship in Jakarta, Indonesia. I didn’t speak the language and I was the youngest at the company by more than fifteen years. During my internship, I learned the importance of contributing even when I don’t feel qualified, being resilient and coachable and always asking questions and learning from my colleagues.

Camila
Mendez-Otero

Co-Speakers Director

I joined OWN IT because I am a believer that women should help each other become successful. OWN IT serves as a channel for professional and successful women to help, inspire and encourage young women. I also wanted to be surrounded and come together with a group of motivated college age women that are not interested in playing by the rules and are ready to push boundaries!

My OWN IT moment was in High School when my best friend and I decided to establish The Feminism Club. At first, it was terrifying but quickly we saw how popular the club grew and how all kinds of students wanted to come be part of our discussions.

Nina Regan

Co-Speakers Director

I joined OWN IT after being so positively affected by the summit when I attended it my freshman year. I was energized by the summit’s power to connect undergraduates to such amazing female professionals, and to provoke my professional and intellectual interests with so many remarkable examples of what my future could be. Now, I couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to create that experience for someone else.

My OWN IT moment was during a bonding activity at a local charter school where I was spending the afternoon with middle school girls that I help mentor through an on-campus organization. My mentee told the group that she cared about me because “I understand her”. Hearing that empowered me and helped me appreciate the true power of connection.

Shivani Lokre

Finance Director

I joined OWN IT because I believe women empowerment has the power to change people’s lives and perceptions as well as create positive rippling effects in our society. I’ve witnessed how women empowerment not only generates voices that are often times unheard but also enables women to instigate significant changes in various fields. I love having the opportunity to work with such smart, talented, kind-hearted women on the OWN IT team to put up an event that is so enriching and valuable to young adult women. By hearing other women speak about their stories and sharing their thoughts and opinions, I believe many of us can learn to connect with others, inspire change, and empower ourselves and those around us.

My OWN IT moment occurred this past summer when I had the opportunity to present my work at an international conference with other top executives in the company! Being the only female intern and the youngest in the team, I had to step outside of my comfort zone and shatter all self-imposed limitations in order to be successful in a male-dominated team.

Megan McSherry

Assistant Finance Director

I joined OWN IT because female leadership and empowerment has always been close to my heart. I attended a girls sleep away camp for 9 summers and went to an all-girls high school, and coming to USC I wanted to be part of something that created a similar empowering environment for women personally and professionally!

My OWN IT moment was applying for my progressive masters degree in Global Supply Chain Management at USC. I went back and forth about applying early for this masters program because I had no supply chain experience but applied anyway. I was thrilled when I was accepted to the program, and was even more excited to learn that 52% of my program was female. It has been incredible to learn alongside established men and women in the supply chain field so early on in my education and career path, and it was all because I applied even though I did not believe I met 100% of the requirements.

Kira Stiers

Co Logistics Director

I joined OWN IT because I think young, professional women have a huge amount to offer to their respective fields of study and industries. As such, it’s important for us to come together, share resources, and support each other.

My OWN IT moment is my current job, I work in a male dominated department with only a few other women. Completing events, from Coachella to Flog Gnaw and others, and working along side them has been incredibly inspiring and informative.

Emma Cappiello

Co Logistics Director

I joined OWN IT because I joined OWN IT to come together with like-minded, resilient women who are ready to take on the world. It is SO valuable to hear from women across industries, so that we can collaborate and support one another on our journeys as individuals or as teams.

My OWN IT moment was when I was in high school: I had faced various adversities and continued to doubt myself; I had my male mentor look at me and say, "Never bet against yourself." I will carry this thought with me always because no matter the circumstance or phase of life I am dealing with, it serves as a reminder of what I am capable of and who I am.

Mitali Shanbhag

Assistant Logistics Director

I joined OWN IT because growing up in a household primarily of females and being smothered by curious aunts and protective cousins, I’ve always known an overwhelming sense of pride in my identity as a woman—through the victories and mood swings. I was taught character and courage, but, after being exposed discrimination in different settings, I found that so many individuals across the globe lack the confidence that should be associated with the honor of being a girl.

My OWN IT moment comes from the realization that I now have the ability to read, write, and speak fluently in the language that once disheartened me. I learned not to fear difficulties, but to embrace them instead. I helped myself when help was unavailable will continue to do so as long as hardships arise.

Lilly Howell

Marketing Director

I joined OWN IT because I have a passion for feminism and I wanted to be a part of an amazing community of women who shared this passion. I love the ability that OWN IT has to empower such a large range of women with such diverse interests. After I attended OWN IT last year I knew that helping to create this amazing day was something that would be extremely fun and rewarding.

My OWN IT moment: Growing up I had always dreamed of going to college in California, but I never thought that it would be a possibility for me and I was nervous to go to school so far from home. As I toured USC and heard about all the amazing opportunities that we have here I knew that I needed to take a leap of faith and go to school accross the country from where Even though I doubted myself when deciding to come to USC I am so glad I decided to trust myself and explore my interests on the west coast.

Grace Ang

Assistant Marketing Director

I joined OWN IT to be a part of a creative, talented, diverse and motivated team of women leaders who seek to incite change on campus! I loved the idea of having a conference that only inspires but connects female leaders across all industries to young millennials. Another reason why I joined was also to find inspiration, and I definitely have so far with the group of women I worked with to make this conference possible.

My OWN IT moment: Ever since I was young, my fear of public speaking kept me away from doing the things I loved. I would have a brilliant idea in my head but I wouldn't have the confidence to voice it out to others. In high school, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and commit to the biggest public speaking challenge– MUN. My first moment on stage was intimidating but also exhilarating. As the main speaker advocating for our resolution on the elimination of domestic violence against women in India, I felt a ton of pressure to express the ideas of our group eloquently, and to combat the questions and doubts with confidence. Even though I was nervous, my passion for the topic overrided all the other doubts that sat in my mind. The same sort of passion has pushed me forward today.

Paxton Lambright

Community Outreach Director

I joined OWN IT to be a part of community that reaches out to and connects women across all disciplines.  As women one of the greatest things we can do is support other women, and our team, speakers, and attendees inspire me daily and remind me to OWN my own goals!

My OWN IT moment: After years of dreaming and a few semesters of Arabic, I moved to Jerusalem for a semester abroad.  It was the fulfillment of a dream and every day felt like a new adventure.  Even now, over a year later, I am so proud of everything I learned and accomplished that semester.

Valentina Suarez

Creative Director

I joined OWN IT because OWN IT to me is about cultivating this passionate and hopeful energy that women do and can change the world. What the summit does is just a seed, but that grows into something much bigger: it inspires young girls, it broadens their view on their opportunities and capabilities, and most importantly, it connects them with other talented and amazing women who then become each others inspiration and admiration. USC OWN IT is a platform where women are able to OWN who they are and build relationships upon that. I wanted to be a part of this, I wanted to create something lasting.

My OWN IT moment was this past Summer at my internship across the nation from my home. It was exciting, yet nerve wracking entering a space (creative agency) where there was much artistic talent and fast paced execution. Especially since I was one of the few working under the founder in the web development division. Everyone else was 5 years my senior and had more experience than I did. However, my #girlboss gave me the opportunity to work full time as a project manager and UX designer, giving me the freedom to make big decisions with both clients and the developers, which was scary because I didn't want to mess up but I realized it was my chance to step up and OWN IT.

Annie Oh

Assistant Creative Director

I joined OWN IT because I care about female entrepreneurship in the tech industry. Diversity in founders and their ideas means diverse solutions that help more people.

My OWN IT moment was helping start In Great Company, a community of female founders and future female founders, on campus.

© USC OWN IT, 2018