Sharing HERspective: My experience at the Women Impact Virginia Summit 2023

   Bivushi Timilsina '27 at the Women Impact Virginia Summit 2023 in Roanoke VA.
   Bivushi Timilsina '27 at the Women Impact Virginia Summit 2023 in Roanoke VA.

Bivushi Timilsina ’27 at the Women Impact Virginia Summit 2023 in Roanoke VA.

Sweet Briar student Bivushi Timilsina shares her perspective on the Women Impact Virginia Summit 2023 recently held in Roanoke.

Posted on October 12, 2023 by Bivushi Timilsina ’27

I always carried a deep yearning within me. I always desired to be part of an event where the powerful narratives and triumphant journeys of remarkable women would take center stage. Born in Nepal, my homeland granted me few chances to be inspired by the incredible successes of women. I had yet to experience an event where the speakers were solely female, where I could learn to amplify my voice and follow my dreams. This was the burning desire that had driven me.

In May 2023, back in Nepal, I was the Vice President of the Kindness Club in Pokhara. We organized an empowering career program for females, and I proposed the idea of inviting female guests, and though many initially doubted it, I persisted. Through perseverance and networking, I hosted the “Empowering Our Daughters” program, featuring four remarkable female guests from the city. Witnessing the excitement and inspiration in the female students who attended filled me with immense happiness.

But here’s the twist: even though I was the initiator of such an event, I had experienced nothing remotely like it myself. Nepal had not presented me with opportunities to be part of an event where only women could share their experiences and, in turn, inspire others. Yet, destiny took a turn for the better.

In late June, an email from the Office of Student Life of Sweet Briar College appeared in my inbox. It was about the Women Impact Virginia Summit and there was an application form attached. As I perused the event’s website, I felt a sense of destiny, as if this was the very event I had always dreamt of. I eagerly filled out the application form and waited for a response from the Office of Student Life. To my sheer delight, I was one of the fortunate individuals selected to attend the summit, along with five of my other college friends.

On Wednesday, October 4th, we gathered at the Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center for the Women Impact Virginia Summit 2023, which focused on the theme “Amplifying Voices. Her Story. Our Story.” The event kicked off with opening remarks from Dr. Winifred Bragg, a physician and CEO, celebrated for her inspirational speaking. Her words spoke to my heart, emphasizing the profound significance of self-belief, stepping out of our comfort zones, and nurturing a positive mindset.

Dr. Bragg’s speech set the stage for an event that was about to change my life. As the day unfolded, we delved into our first breakout session. I attended “Amplifying Voices: Building Economic Empowerment and Social Justice for Transformational Change,” featuring Bethany Lackey, Tiffany McGee, and Rupa Murthy. Their stories of breaking down systemic barriers, supporting refugees, and empowering trafficking survivors left an indelible mark on my soul. Their experiences were profoundly moving, and eye-opening.

The event didn’t stop there. We had the privilege of getting our headshots taken, a valuable perk that was offered at the summit. We continued with a panel discussion, a buffet lunch, and another deeply emotional breakout session. Here, I had the honor of hearing DeShanta Hairston’s story—a tale of unwavering determination amidst adversity. Her story touched our hearts and tears welled up in our eyes.

The event ended with a closing keynote speech by Lynn White, Chief of Staff at Genworth Financial, Inc. Her remarkable career journey and her dedication to social responsibility were truly inspiring.

During the summit, we had the pleasure of interacting with other female attendees who were curious about our backgrounds. When we mentioned we were all from Sweet Briar College, they were quick to commend our college for affording us this wonderful opportunity. They emphasized that attending this event at this stage of our lives would undoubtedly contribute to our personal growth and enable us to amplify our voices throughout our entire journey.

I must express my heartfelt gratitude to the Office of Student Life for making my attendance at this amazing event possible. Without their unwavering support, it would have remained an unfulfilled dream. The Women Impact Virginia Summit gave me more than knowledge; it gifted me with the ability to amplify my voice and make a positive impact on the world. It was a day filled with emotions and deep personal connections, an experience I will treasure for a lifetime. Dr. Winifred Bragg’s words will forever resonate with me: “Always believe in the little girl you see in the mirror.”

SBC Students selected to attend the summit were: Audrey Flattich ’26, Etaf Jumaa ’26, Bivushi Timilsina ’27, Lizzie Earhart ’25, Mst Mithila Afroz Hridy ’27 and Aisha Sorrower ’26.


Sharing HERspective is a new column that allows students to share reflections on their lives and activities while attending Sweet Briar College. We invite all SBC students to submit articles for consideration at