This year, the Arabian Horse Center had special guest Nancy O’Reilly, author, philanthropist and owner of Amazing Horsewoman LLC, at its annual lecture and book signing.

Nancy O’ Reilly speaks to the campus community about her rise as a businesswoman, therapist and writer. She encouraged women to find male allies and to help each other in business and in life. (Ashley Rowles / The Poly Post)

The empowering lecture took place Thursday, Jan. 31 at AGRIscapes.

O’Reilly’s most recent book, titled “In This Together – How Successful Women Support Each Other in Business and Life,” includes anecdotes from successful career women from all walks of life on how women can support and uplift one another in life and in business.

Her philosophy is about putting together a step-by-step action plan designed to figure out how women can better support one another.

“Be a mentor and get a mentor,” O’Reilly recommended. “Sixty-five percent of women CEOs at a diversity conference said they became CEOs because someone told them they could. Surround yourself with people who are your cheerleaders.”

A therapist for 25 years, O’Reilly said that when one becomes more successful, there is a need to uplift other women as one goes on.

Throughout O’Reilly’s inspirational speech she mentioned situations which show the progress women have made this year. One of the most notable being the last election, which had 100 women elected to the House of Representatives. 

She also mentioned that women-owned business are growing quicker than ever before. 

In our day-to-day life as women, O’Reilly said we can further our progression by asking for equal pay and opportunities, and coping with mean co-workers and harassment by addressing the situation and ending the silencing of women’s voices while finding and enlisting male allies together. 

After the talk, O’Reilly opened the floor for a Q & A.

Two particular questions resonated with the audience. 

A student asked, “If we really want to make a big leap in making women in leadership possible, what can we do to speed up the process?”

O’Reilly responded simply but powerfully. 

“We need good leadership training; more companies need to have quality training to teach those interested in becoming leaders how they can and provide them with the tools they need,” she said. 

A man sitting in the middle of the room asked, “How do we cut those lines and involve everyone? How can we stop the [stigmatization] between ‘that’s a man thing’ and ‘that’s a woman thing’?” 

At this, several audience members reacted with cheers and wanted to comment on the answer themselves.

“You simply have to ask,” O’Reilly said. “If you want to attend something that is just for men or women just ask and do it. You have to find the right people to surround yourself with. We have to get out of stereotypical thinking as a society.” 

Weilin Wu, a first-year animal science major, was also in the audience. 

Wu, who just moved to the United States four years ago, remarked on her experience as a woman after she moved here.

“My family is a traditional Chinese family,” she said. “They have a ‘men is better’ culture. After my first year in the United States, I felt like I could achieve anything, despite being a woman.”

Nancy Harvey, president of the Arabian Horse Association, was also in attendance. 

She remarked on the fact that the Arabian Horse Center’s leadership is all female. 

Harvey advised students and women not to be intimidated by trying something new and to work hard. 

She advised students not to be afraid and master the ropes of one’s craft in order to become a leader. 

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