What are the biggest challenges facing women’s ascent to leadership positions? This was the question on the minds of panelists and attendees of the Women’s Careers & Leadership Panel & Networking Event at the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics.
The room was full of avid listeners as the eight panelists discussed these challenges, along with moderator Patricia Sloane-White, chair of women and gender studies at UD.
The Lerner College’s Amanda Bullough, Jill Pante and Wendy Smith organized this event.
“The networking panel was a great success,” Pante said. “We had over 90 students, staff and faculty in attendance. You could feel the energy, support and mentorship from the panelists in their conversations before, during and after the event.
“This group of extremely successful women want to see our students see the same amount of success and are great partners of the Lerner College.”
The panel included women from diverse backgrounds with an array of experiences to share with the audience, including:
- Amy W. Stengel, group VP & managing director, institutional administrative services, Wilmington Trust
- Maryanne Baker, regional vice president, Enterprise
- Erin Girard, director of North American account services, Citi
- Pamella J. Raison, office of the general counsel, Farmers Insurance
- Donna Masley, president, Masley Enterprises Inc.
- Sarah Rooney, assistant professor, biomedical engineering at UD
- Courtney Crain, wealth management professional, Goldman Sachs
Bullough said, “This exceptional event brought esteemed women leaders and students together for a discussion of gender equity and women’s leadership. It was a night full of inspiration and empowerment.”
During the panel discussion, attendees learned about each panelist and the subjects she was particularly passionate about.
Stengel, a Blue Hen alumna herself, began her career as a high school English teacher before switching careers and becoming a paralegal at the same company she’s with today. Stengel said she hopes students will feel inspired to have “courage to take some scary leaps” after the event.
Rooney, a University of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania alumna with a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, is now a UD assistant professor. Rooney discussed bias and the ways that her youth and gender affect the way people view her.
Often, Rooney said, she hears that she doesn’t “look like an engineer.” Rooney encouraged the audience not to let others tell them what they are, since what is important is if they completed excellent work.
Next, Raison discussed her passion for public school education and feeling that she is a product of what can come out of the public school system.
“Be your authentic self, because you never know when your next job will come!” Raison told students.
Masley, another UD alumna, talked about her life as a part-time nurse and business owner of Masley Enterprises – a U.S. military glove company that she took a chance on with her husband. Since then, the business that Masley and her husband began in their basement that has grown to something extraordinary.
Girard told students all about her travels around the world, and advised them to always “raise your hand” and take every opportunity presented.
Crain, the most recent alumna at only five years from graduation, served as an example of how quickly out of a college career one can jumpstart opportunities. Crain advised students not to be afraid to take a leap of faith when applying for jobs.
Last, Baker shared her story, which she said she hopes can help students to have the “confidence to pursue a career.”
After the event, students and panelists enjoyed food and networked together. Students were buzzing about the stories they heard and what each panelist had to say.
Lexie Lattner, sophomore marketing major, when asked what she took from the panel, said, “As women, we should never feel like we are at a lesser value than our male coworkers. We need to speak up and make our potential known.”