Maggie O’Neill ’99 Inspires at the 14th Annual WIB Conference

“When you enter a room, you need to have confidence. But you also need to check your ego at the door.” This was the advice that keynote speaker Maggie O’Neill ‘99 shared with over 200 students and alumnae gathered in Hogan Ballroom on the morning of November 2nd. This event marked the 14th annual Women in Business Conference held at the College of the Holy Cross. 

O’Neill is an artist, designer and entrepreneur. Despite her lifelong passion for the arts, she did not always know that she wanted to pursue this as a career. O’Neill commented that while on The Hill, she equally split her time reading for her Political Science classes and painting in the art studio. After graduating with a degree in Political Science, O’Neill decided to turn her love for the arts into a career. She founded O’Neill Studios and later SWATCHROOM, a design, art and fabrication firm based in Washington D.C. Over the course of her career, she has designed numerous commercial spaces and restaurants. She also creates pop impressionist style paintings. 

During the address, O’Neill commented on the value of a Holy Cross education. She remarked that “the unique education you receive at the College allows you to navigate the increasingly interdisciplinary world in a different way.” She also noted that design remains a male-dominated industry and shared the ways in which she is trying to change this. O’Neill launched SUPERFIERCE, a traveling art exhibit featuring female artists that donates some of its proceeds to local charities. In addition, she told those in attendance to embrace their individuality and “celebrate the fact that the differences you bring make you stronger.” 

After a brief Q&A with O’Neill, students and alumnae learned networking tips and tricks and participated in a series of icebreakers led by Kim Miles. A networking lunch followed, providing attendees with the opportunity to ask questions and make meaningful connections with fellow Crusaders. After lunch, participants had the chance to attend alumnae panels covering a variety of topics such as Design Thinking, Investing Basics, Launching Your Career, and Marketing. 

Gold Sponsor: PepsiCo
Bronze Sponsor: Ascensus


Thank you to Christina Casey ’22 , WIB Student Committee Member, for sharing this recap of the 14th annual conference.  Be sure to join us next year for the annual conference on Saturday, November 7, 2020!