WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Every "Intro To Business" class at Immaculate Heart Academy (IHA) in Washington Township begins with a four minute " Makers " video of a female business leader talking about her journey to success.
The idea for instructor Christine Capizzi is to provide her all-female class with a "pep talk" before she tries to inspire them to chase their dreams in the male-dominated world of business.
"If we want women in leadership roles in business we need to get them thinking at a young age that it is possible," said Capizzi, who worked for 14 years at Fortune 500 companies. "I'm trying to break down a barrier."
At the conclusion of each video, Capizzi, 44, asks her students what they can learn from the woman featured in the video that they can apply in their own life. Then she goes off into her lesson, which is usually grounded in her own experience as a woman working at Unilever and later at the Ford Motor Company.
"At Ford it was very difficult for a woman to rise to a senior leadership position," Capizzi recalls. "But towards the end of my career there were some encouraging signs."
"I think people are starting to realize today that it is important that women have those opportunities," she added.
Capizzi graduated from IHA in 1989 and later earned her CPA. She left the business world when she had her kids, then decided she wanted to help inspire the female business leaders of tomorrow at her alma mater.
She has been at IHA, an all-girls catholic school, for three years now.
The final woman to present to Capizzi's class each year is Louise Buzzelli, a mother who runs an art and music school in River Vale. Buzzelli speaks about how her husband narrowly escaped the September 11 attacks and the difficulties of running a business and being a mother.
"They are just mesmerized by her story," Capizzi told Daily Voice.
After her students turn in their final essay each year on a strong female business leader, Capizzi hopes they are ready to take on the world.
"A woman's place is anywhere she believes it to be," Capizzi said. "That's what I teach."