Skip to main content


Two female students in business attire stand next to a conference sign that reads "College Fast Track to Finance Conference"
Victoria Souza Ferreira ‘25 (left) Isabel Zica ‘25 (right) attend the Forté Fast Track to Finance Conference at Deutsche Bank in New York.

Bentley has partnered with the nonprofit organization Forté Foundation to join an alliance of more than 200 top companies and schools dedicated to advancing women in business through access to business education, professional development and a community of successful women. From Forté leadership conferences to career-advancing programs for women at all career stages, the partnership with Forté is designed to offer opportunities to all undergraduate women and gender-diverse students on campus and to support their advancement within business-related fields. The partnership, announced in honor of Women's History Month this March, is an outcome of the Gender Mix Action Implementation Group, which was formed to improve the sense of belonging for women and gender-diverse students on campus as part of Bentley's 2030 Strategic Plan. 

To mark the commencement of the partnership, Bentley sent two students, Victoria Souza Ferreira '25 and Isabel Zica '25, to the Forté Fast Track to Finance Conference at Deutsche Bank in New York this February. The conference, which offered panels, roundtables and an exclusive career expo of recruiters from leading financial institutions, was open only to Forté partner school students.  

Zica, a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion major with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies, found the experience invaluable. "I feel so much more prepared for my internship this summer and for my final year of college that follows," she says.  "As a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion major, it was interesting to hear from company representatives about their company culture, newest DEI practices, and how their company hoped to grow and improve in the future. I've been referencing my notes from this conference every day since." 

RELATED: Bentley Partners with Deloitte for First-Gen Mentorship Program

"Being surrounded by other women interested in finance was motivating," said Ferreira, an Economics-Finance major with a minor in Law. "Not only did I learn from the professionals, but also the other women attending the conference. Such great advice was shared on how to feel more confident speaking up in certain environments and on other topics helpful to our growth, both professionally and personally." 

These kinds of personal and professional growth opportunities are key goals of the Bentley-Forté partnership, according to Dominique Wilburn, director of programs and communications for the Center for Women in Business. "This new relationship demonstrates Bentley's commitment to providing opportunities for women to advance in business-related careers," she says. "It's a sustainable partnership that aligns with Bentley's values in terms of promoting gender inclusion and enhancing women's experiences on campus."

Since 2001, Forté has worked to create real progress toward achieving parity and increasing opportunities for women in business leadership by connecting talented women with its partners, a broad range of innovative business schools, corporations, executive and professional programs, universities, donors, and nonprofit organizations. 

"Our partnership with Bentley continues to educate our community that the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion is stronger than ever," said Elissa Sangster, CEO of Forté. "It's an honor to work with the university and connect them with our diverse network of experienced professional women." 

RELATED: Pulsifer Career Development Center Ranks #1 Nationwide