Quinnipiac president, People’s United Bank EVP give lessons from top

The People’s United Center for Women and Business hosted an inaugural event, Women in Leadership: Lessons from the Top, on Nov. 6. This event showcased two intelligent leaders: Judy Olian, president of Quinnipiac University, and Sara Longobardi, senior executive president, retail banking at People’s United Bank. Women and men from the town of Hamden and the university came to learn from the experiences and wisdom of these two leaders.


Olian and Longobardi shared many personal stories about their journeys to the height of their careers. Many attendees thanked them personally for sharing their stories.

Olian and Longobardi have worked together to bring The People’s United Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship as apart of the 10-year agreement between People’s United and Quinnipiac, where the bank has donated 5 million dollars to the center and women in business. This agreement has been put in place to help bridge the gap of resources for women pursuing careers in the business world. Some of these resources provide advisory services, workshops in legal, finance, research, marketing, design, business plan development and startup mentoring.

Both People’s United and the university have high hopes for the centers ability to help students from all majors and disciplines. “We want women from all different backgrounds and areas of life to bring their skill sets to the same table and create a diverse community,” said Judy Olian. Olian, as the ninth president of Quinnipiac University, is motivated to bridge different cultures of women together to leadership.

She touched on 10 important skills to have that will ensure one's success in the business world as a women, including: “Saying yes to assignments that intimate you, Finding your own brand, and knowing when you fail and being honest with oneself about it to get right back up.” These were a few statements Olian made in her pursuit to abide by “the obligation to help young women pursue their dreams and goals.”

Olian states that dreams and goals start to flourish just by saying “Yes.” "You just say yes to stuff that people dump on you and say 'would you do this?' If you can bring yourself to say yes it is probably a career development opportunity because you are learning new skills and you are becoming visible in new ways to people, and you become known as a can-do person." In doing so, Olian became more aware of her own skills that she probably never knew she had by just

saying yes


Olian encourages students to be very self-aware when saying “Yes” to different opportunities as as part of their leadership development. "You'll be a much better leader, and will understand what your passionate about and what you love doing which makes work so much more fun."

Sara Longobardi agrees with Olian in which students and women in leadership should take advantage of every opportunity, because those numbers have potential to bring diversity. “Culture and diversity is what brings strength. Celebrating differences will be a source for strength for future women leaders,” said Longobardi. Longobardi gave many motivating words about what diversity means to her and this partnership between the center and Quinnipiac. Many students and faculty aim to see this change as this partnership grows.

“Diversity is a business partner, and women from all walks of life bring that. It’s great to have these two exponential women feel such a gratitude in their careers to want to share those passions and experiences in what they learned with other women,” said Gail Gilmore, Director of educational leadership at Quinnipiac University.

This event brought many different leaders, educators, and students together to bring new insight to what Quinnipiac represents and supports. Longobardi and Olian look forward to having more events like this to continue to motivate and cultivate women in leadership. “Always remember that together we are a stronger force,” said Longobardi.

QuinnipiacCharlene Torres