Get Started

November 17, 2022

AHA Senior Is Harvard BOLD Ambassador; Eleven Angels Were Guests

Several aspiring business leaders from the Academy of the Holy Angels spent the weekend of November 12 and 13 at the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Business BOLD Conference. BOLD, or Business Oriented Leadership Development, is an annual, two-day event where high school women explore the business world and sharpen their organizational and communication skills. This expo of business opportunities includes panels and workshops with women leaders and entrepreneurs.


Participating Angels included seniors Shivani Sahu of Paramus, Alexis Jacob of Tappan (New York), and Nicole Yakubov of Teaneck; juniors Lianna Gourmos of Englewood Cliffs and Speridoula Evelyna Pavlatos of Cresskill; and sophomores Lily Cossio of Tenafly, Jacqueline Garcia of Bergenfield, Chae Hyun “Claire” Lee of Oradell, Katherine McLoughlin of Rutherford, Sienna Morreale of Edgewater, Sophia Rigoli of Wyckoff, and Isabella Zahirudin of Stony Point (New York). 
This year was particularly special for Shivani Sahu.


“I was an attendee last year and loved it so much that I applied and was accepted to be a BOLD ambassador, aiding in the organization of the event and working closely with Harvard undergraduates,” the Holy Angels senior explained. Sahu, an award-winning member of the AHA DECA team for business-minded teens, initially learned about BOLD from AHA business teacher and DECA Adviser Krystal Reilly.


In fact, Sahu was one of only 30 young women selected for an ambassador’s role. The competitive application process involved a series of in-depth essays.


“I was in charge of recruiting 10 people (I recruited 13 total, 11 being from AHA) and fundraising $100,” Sahu explained. “I was also a point of contact between my recruits and the committee, answering questions, reaching out to schools around the country, and making sure everyone who was interested got the opportunity to register. Some benefits that I got to enjoy as an ambassador included networking with other ambassadors, being featured on the BOLD Instagram and website, and getting personalized guidance after being matched with a ‘BOLD Mentor,’ who is one of the Harvard undergrads on the BOLD Committee. I was paired up with sophomore Ariel Beck, and I am so grateful for her kindness and wisdom throughout this process.”
Sahu, who is a veteran voice-over and performing artist, envisions herself establishing a talent agency as a way to synthesize her interests in the arts, business, public policy, and mentorship.
“I will use the many connections I made with the high school students, Harvard College students, and speakers to build my professional network as well as take all of the speakers’ helpful advice into account when entering the corporate business world.


One common theme that I felt was echoed throughout the conference is the importance of grit. As long as you believe in yourself and your mission, you have the capability to pursue your goals. I will employ this mindset when I enter college and the business world, always keeping in mind my values and mission.”


Speridoula Evelyna Pavlatos added, “Being able to get insight on these businesswomen and hearing about their journeys through life is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I learned so much and I am beyond grateful for this experience.”


Lianna Gourmos said the two-day event gave her hope for the future of the business world.


“The BOLD conference was an experience that I will definitely carry with me throughout the rest of high school, college, as well as my future career,” Gourmos stated.


Nicole Yakubov found the conference inspiring. She was particularly eager to attend the first panel.
“I sat myself in the first row, front and center,” she said. “As nervous as I was sitting a few feet away from the outstandingly brilliant CEO of Supergoop!, Holly Thaggard, my mind was craving to hear her story, her triumphs, and even her failures.”
Yakubov noted that Thaggard’s dedication to the importance of wearing sunscreen, drove home the impact of authenticity in terms of personal success.
“Like Holly, who has never given up on her global mission to promote sun protection, I plan to never give up on my passions and missions for impact,” the AHA senior added. Yakubov sees herself as an international consultant who facilitates the growth of companies overseas. Eventually, she plans to become an entrepreneur/CEO in fashion or retail. 
“Be curious” was a recurring phrase this weekend, Yakubov reported. “As someone with diverse ideas, interests, and intellectual curiosities, it was profoundly refreshing to hear that businesswomen do not just specialize in one niche. In fact, they are constant learners both in their fields and beyond.” She added, “I have learned that successful, noteworthy businesswomen have a plethora of unique interests that define who they are within and beyond the office.”
Yakubov said she felt a sense of belonging and identity among likeminded peers, mentors, and advisers.
“While sitting six feet apart from some of the most successful businesswomen seems like oceans of distance, I now know that, with hard work, mentorship, and self-advocacy, the seat of success is not too far away.”