Two female students, talking across a table in the Roosevelt library

Roosevelt University trustee Larissa Herczeg says that growing up, her first and biggest advocate was always her mother, Joan Deutsch. Deutsch encouraged her to do whatever she set her mind to and if she wanted something, to ask for it.

But in many places where Herczeg has worked, she says, there were few women in leadership roles who could be mentors to her or her female colleagues.

While women have made impressive professional gains in recent years, they remain underrepresented in the upper levels of government and business. During the pandemic, women — especially women of color — now disproportionately bear the burden of job losses and unpaid childcare.

With a scholarship named in honor of her mother and all mothers raising strong, successful women, Herczeg hopes to create new opportunities for future women leaders.

The 2021 deadline is coming up on April 2. To learn more and apply, visit the scholarship homepage.

The Joan Deutsch Herczeg Women Leaders Scholarship will connect ambitious women students with paid summer internships that match their career goals. The first five scholars will grow as leaders through workshops and mentorship with the Women’s Leadership Council, returning to support the next cohort.

“It’s important that women have an opportunity to step up and become leaders in their own right,” said Herczeg. “I hope the program becomes an ongoing, influential aspect of the lives of everyone who graduates from it, and that it will motivate other similar programs, as well.”

The Herczeg Scholars program will also build on the commitment of the Women’s Leadership Council and Roosevelt University to equity in higher education.

Herczeg is a founding co-chair of the Council, which aims to close the gender opportunity gap. The group of 150 Roosevelt alumni and friends hosts regular events that encourage personal and professional connections, growth and giving back.

“Leadership doesn't need to mean being vice president of the country,” Herczeg said. “There are many ways that you can be a leader. Hopefully, it will be a beneficial program for everyone, regardless of what their overall career aspirations are.”

In her nine years at Oak Street Real Estate Capital, Herczeg has grown the firm’s seeding and strategic capital business from $50 million to more than $750 million, including an additional $100+ million allocated to minority- or women-owned managers. Herczeg also mentors emerging real estate managers as the co-founder of Women in Real Estate and a mentor for the Goldie Initiative.

“An important component of mentorship is that you benefit from your mentors, and then, because of your experiences, you have a lot to share with those that follow after you,” said Herczeg. “I think that continued participation in the program will be positive for everyone.”

About the Women’s Leadership Council

The Women’s Leadership Council was established in 2019 and is an association of women and men who know and support Roosevelt University. The Council works collaboratively with other affinity groups within Roosevelt as well as the community to identify the critical issues women face. The group develops programming, provides mentorship and gives back to initiatives that facilitate real solutions to close the gender gap.

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