students of all ages



At VSB, an important part of our mission to develop business leaders for a better world is looking beyond our classrooms and connecting to the larger community outside of Villanova. Our external community outreach programs focus in particular on increasing awareness of business education and careers among women and underrepresented minority groups. While the business world has made tremendous strides, gender and racial disparities persist in salary, promotional opportunities and leadership roles.


% of female Fortune 500 CEO’s [1]


% of white Fortune 500 CEO’s [2]


cents a woman
earns for every $1
a man earns [3]


millions of jobs
created by minority-owned
businesses in last 10 years


While women and minorities may have further to go in the boardroom, many are charting their own paths as entrepreneurs. Over the last decade, more than 50 percent of the two million new businesses started in the U.S. were minority-owned.3 And, women-owned businesses rose 50 percent between 2007 and 2018, while all businesses increased by only 12 percent.[5]

[1] https://fortune.com/2020/05/18/women-ceos-fortune-500-2020/
[2] https://whorulesamerica.ucsc.edu/power/diversity_update_2020.html
[3] https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/womens-earnings/2019/home.htm
[4] https://www.sbc.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/minorityentrepreneurs
[5] The 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report. Commissioned by American Express and based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners (SBO).

We know that women and underrepresented minority groups face barriers to higher education that could better position them for success in the business world. Our community outreach programs aim to break down some of those barriers and empower students with the tools, education and awareness of the opportunities that may exist for them. 




Summer Business Academy: in partnership with the Center for Access, Success and Achievement (CASA), this program introduces girls in the VIEW program (Villanova Initiative for Engaging Women) to business concepts and business disciplines including economics, finance, accounting, business law, management and marketing.

College Essay Review: this annual program offers an experienced professional to review and make suggestions and edits to a student’s common application essay or an essay of their choice. This past year, approximately 50 volunteers across the University have reviewed 142 essays from 117 students across the Philadelphia area.

High School Engagement: we offer workshops to introduce students to business education, host tours of VSB with the opportunity to observe business classes and meet with students and faculty, and we collaborate with local schools on programs.



Accounting Career Awareness Program

VSB’s Department of Accounting and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) co-hosted an Accounting Career Awareness Program (ACAP) this past summer for students from Philadelphia area high schools. The objective of ACAP is to promote college education and careers in accounting to students from underrepresented minority groups.

VSB Hosts Summer Business Academy

This past summer VSB hosted a virtual Summer Business Academy for high school students in the VIEW (Villanova Initiative for Engaging Women) program. VIEW is a four-year program, run by Villanova’s Center for Access, Success and Achievement, for talented female students from Philadelphia public high schools. Its mission is to prepare students for admission to college and to provide the skills needed to succeed in higher education. Students participate in intense academic enrichment programs and personal and professional development workshops throughout the year.

Developing Future Female Business Leaders

Since 2017, VSB has partnered with the Agnes Irwin School for Girls (AIS) to offer a “Shark Tank” entrepreneurship program and a mini-business conference. AIS students learn business fundamentals and had the opportunity to pitch their business concepts to a panel of Villanova judges. In February of this year, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, VSB hosted a virtual mini business conference for AIS students to learn more about key areas of business such as marketing, management, corporate finance, and supply chain management.

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Joyce E. A. Russell, PhD, the Helen and William O’Toole Dean of VSB, discusses the critical importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in VSB’s Strategic Plan as well as outreach efforts to girls and underrepresented minorities

For more information on VSB’s External Community Outreach programs, please contact:

Cathy Toner, JD
Assistant Dean
External Community Outreach


Cathy Toner, JD
Aronté Bennett, PhD
Linda Coleman
Patricia Eget, PhD
Christine Etheridge
Kate Gentile
Melinda German
Julius Green, JD
Lauren Higgins
Marylu Hill, PhD
Stephen Jones, PhD
Alicia Strandberg, PhD
Jessica Taylor
Cheryl Wert
Erica Woods

VSB Students
Christine Blackman '23 VSB
Roger Broussard ’22 VSB
Bernadette Gorakowski ’23 VSB
Sharielle Rodriguez ’23 VSB