Inclusive social network created by alumna to empower young women leaders

May 19, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A Penn State alumna has partnered with women across the University community to launch a private social media network designed to help young women grow together as leaders.

Consequential Flowers, which launched in January, was created by Jayme Anne Goldberg, an executive in the investment and data analysis industries, with partnerships formed with the College of Information Sciences and Technology and the Smeal College of Business. The network is designed for undergraduate and graduate female students and young professionals and uses a collaborative, data-driven approach to develop impactful leadership skills that will apply to any industry.

“Women's support of each other will be motivated by the joy we feel from bringing out the best in ourselves and each other,” said Goldberg, who graduated from Penn State with honors in finance and has taken active roles as a mentor throughout her career. “It will be a behavioral norm for women within and across industries, communities, and cultures to learn, support, and collaborate together.”

Women make up 56% of college graduates but only 21% of C-level leaders, and 3% of C-level leaders are women of color, according to statistics from a recent study by McKinsey & Company. With Consequential Flowers, Goldberg hopes to help close those gaps.

“While there have been some gains in leadership diversity, equity, and inclusion, with grace and efficiency, we need to go much faster,” Goldberg said. “Our young leaders need to practice for peak leadership performance. We do not show up magically prepared to ensure that our voices heard or to successfully lead new, transformational initiatives. Early, intentional practice on ‘how’ to be bold, impactful leaders is one of many needed initiatives that can help to accelerate leadership team diversity.”

Cassidy DiPaola, who recently graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in security and risk analysis - information and cyber security and a master of international affairs degree in international cyber security, began working with Goldberg last year as an intern through an informal initiative with the College of Information Sciences and Technology called, “Project Water.” Consequential Flowers was one of the results of Project Water, which helped to create new internships opportunities for students in the college that also emphasized leadership development.  

DiPaola has already taken on numerous leadership roles, including the corporate logistics chair for Penn State Women in Business, and her experience with the network has been valuable as she considers pursuing future leadership goals. She and Mackenzie Cullen, a Penn State English major, will lead growth initiatives for Consequential Flowers this summer.

“I think the value is having mentors like Jayme that have been through things that women my age haven’t faced yet,” DiPaola said. “What is it like to be the only woman in a board room? What is it like to have a family and balance a career?”

Topics covered on the platform since the January launch include “Own Your Mind, Own Your Voice, Be Fearless, and Find a Way.” Consequential Flowers’ multimedia “digital garden” has podcasts, events, polls, discussions, articles, and weekly challenges to help members practice. For example, members defined differences between courage vs. confidence with an AI generated word-cloud; the community hosted a challenge to self-track how many times members each apologized (women, Goldberg has found, tend to over-apologize); they practiced different ways to advocate their own and others’ ideas, they brainstormed and practiced ways to say “no.”

“It’s a community where we really support and empower each other,” DiPaola said.

The podcast has hosted guests such as Penn State Abington alumnae Zelnnetta Clark and Alexis Akarolo, who founded Rebuild the Block, a nonprofit organization that helps Black-owned businesses and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for more than a dozen businesses nationwide. Consequential Flowers has committed to donate a portion of its net profits from products sales to support Rebuild the Block’s mission.

DiPaola, along with executive board members of Smeal Women in Business, Alexis Dominguez and Caitlin Bertrand, helped facilitate a partnership between the two organizations that sponsors one year of membership in Consequential Flowers for all Women in Business members.

Goldberg is eager to pass on what she and prior generations have learned as C-suite executives working mostly in male-dominated environments and connect students and young alumni with others like her so that they may better recognize and adapt to challenges while advocating for themselves and one another.

“I want our next generation of leaders to have more impact and have joy, by knowing what their passion is and be great at it and enabled,” Goldberg said. “They’re going to be able to underwrite culture before they go somewhere to make sure it’s a place where they’re able to thrive.”

Last Updated May 19, 2021