Mia Daniels said Friday that life is not easy.

Daniels, an auditor at a Dallas-Fort Worth accounting firm, told an audience at the Women In Leadership Forum that she came to this conclusion after a lot of self-reflection, and that she admired the students in the audience who took time to attend.

“It’s not about your background. It’s not about the awful things that’s happened,” said Daniels, who graduated from Wesleyan in 2013 with a finance degree. “It’s about where you’re going and that’s where I want to encourage you today.”

Daniels was one of five speakers at the Forum, a new event which was sponsored by the Student Government Association and the School of Business. A crowd of around 150 people listened to professional business women and ate lunch.

Daniels said leadership starts early in life and what keeps people from moving forward is fear. She encouraged members of the audience to share their stories without fear.

She also spoke highly of the value of teamwork and its importance in leadership.

“If you see someone on your team that can’t do it or is afraid, step up, move forward, because that’s part of leadership,” Daniels said.

Daniels encouraged people to speak up and be heard – and if life hits you hard, hit it harder.

“If you take away one thing that I say today, take any and every opportunity, do what you love, and do what you’re passionate about,” Daniels said. “Don’t limit yourself, don’t sell yourself short.”

Several of the students that attended said they found the Forum inspirational.

Junior general business major Mary Boysen found keynote speaker Rebecca Brumley to be the most interesting speaker because of her vast knowledge and experience.

“Some of the stories were just so appalling to a younger person like myself,” Boysen said.

Alexi Ellsworth, a junior marketing major, said she attended the forum because she has always seen herself as a feminist.

“Basically as a woman you need to learn to grow and adapt,” Ellsworth said. “We shouldn’t be scared to go into the work force, looking at these women here who were able to do it.”

Stephanie Varuska, a senior marketing major, found it encouraging that a lot of the women speaking made career changes throughout their lives.

Varuska said she attended the forum hoping to gain more motivation.

“Motivation from seeing other women that have excelled, it’s kind of in the middle of the semester and I need something to help me get up this morning,” Varuska said.