Panel encourages future women business leaders
By Steve Seepersaud
When future women business leaders wanted advice on getting started in a career, moving up and achieving work-life balance, they turned to a group of alumnae far enough along on the career pathway to offer valuable perspectives.
The Women in Business student organization sponsored a networking event and panel discussion on Jan. 17, at Deloitte's national office at Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan. Six alumnae — all of them accomplished businesswomen — met with the group of about 30 students.
Panelists encouraged the students not to focus on landing the perfect job after graduation. Any job, if leveraged properly, can be an opportunity for learning and growth. Tracy Caliendo '97, managing director for Goldman Sachs, said young women need to decide what they want to achieve and take initiative to make it happen.
"I think women have to focus on being more vocal and visible," Caliendo said. "You can't think that by working hard and keeping your head low that it's going to take you places, because it isn't. You're the one driving your career."
Because the only constant in the business world is change, it's important to keep skill sets fresh, said Lisa Abbott, MBA '93, chief human resource officer for Weill Cornell Medical College and member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
"From my perspective, the flexibility doesn't stop when you're young," said Abbott. "You always have to be flexible and don't take your position for granted. The regulatory environment has changed enormously in the past 10 years. Make sure your skills align with what's happening around you."
A good deal of discussion centered on work-life balance — one of the biggest challenges for women trying to juggle starting a family and building a career. The panelists agreed that young women should be flexible and make decisions that are best for their families.
"You can't do everything at once," said Karen Roth '87, senior vice president for Element Financial Group (pictured with Cyndi Chin). "You won't have babies and be peaking in your career at the same time. The years you are nursing, you can't be at the office 18 hours a day."
Constance Olson '90, partner at Deloitte, hosted the event. The panel also included Laura Berland, chief marketing officer, StarTalk Radio (her husband and son are Binghamton University alumni); Angelina Colombo '90, managing director, RBS Greenwich Capital; Debra Moss '99, principal, Acquis Consulting Group; and Cristin Singer '96, partner, McGladrey & Pullen.
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