ZWIB Presents: Women in Leadership – Negotiating Your Way Up

Anne Izzillo, Marietta Bottero, Jessica Bibliowicz & Laura Cirello

by Maria Shpokayte, MBA Candidate 2012 Human Resources / Organizational Behavior and Information Systems

On Monday September 26th, 2011 Zicklin Women in Business hosted a speaker panel event. This event explored the topic “Women in Leadership – Negotiating Your Way Up”. Students had the pleasure of meeting distinguished panelists:  Marietta Bottero (Vice President, Senior Human Resources Business Partner at BMO Capital Markets Corp) Jessica M. Bibliowicz (Chairman, President and Chief executive officer at NFP) Laura Cirello (Senior Vice President of HR at Bank of America) and Anne Izzillo(Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney).

The event kicked off with an inspirational message from ZWIB President, Sweta Merchant, who spoke about how we, women, need to work as negotiators; how far we have come as leaders but still have a long and difficult road ahead of us.

As the event progressed, our panelists gave advice and answered questions from the audience. Highlights were:

  • “The National Partnership for Women & Families reports that, among full-time workers in the population as a whole, women still earn only 77 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. To what do you attribute this? How can we teach women to have that confidence to negotiate for themselves?”
  • On salaries  “You should never give the first number while negotiating salary. Do you think this holds valid?”, “If during an interview, we are asked our currently salary, which is below the market rate; how can we negotiate to be paid our worth?”

The panelists discussed that women often do not rightfully ask for what they deserve and give their male counterparts an easy lead. They suggested that women should be louder, try harder to get noticed in group meetings, be more aggressive and opinionated to be able to stand out in a male-dominated crowd. All speakers shared anecdotes on how they started off on a weak foot as businesswomen and then toughened up in situations that demanded them to be strong leaders. They all agreed that men occupy more leadership positions than women because women shy away from demanding promotions and demur at negotiations.

At every table around the room, participants took notes and listened closely while our panelists gave invaluable advice on negotiating in the corporate world.  Our speakers were energetic and enthused about the topic—what is not to be excited about? After all, this topic is relevant to all of us whether we are negotiating our way up or negotiating a better salary.

Marietta Bottero & Severine Perrin

Our participants and panelists really made the day for us!  There wasn’t a delay for questions during the Q&A part of the event. We were thrilled to see that students were excited and motivated. Our panelists did a spectacular job in answering students’ questions and giving real life advice everyone can walk away with and practice.

With such a motivated group of participants, the ZWIB Board and our facilitator Moheeta Tamrakar, found it hard to call it a day. We could have easily asked questions together for many more hours. After the Thank-You message, delivered by this correspondent, students had a chance to speak to the panelists informally. Attendees also mingled with Board members and gave feed back on the event. Students were saying that the event was “informative”, “relevant”, “exactly what they wanted”, and “more on campus events should be as interesting as this one”. Thank you all for great feedback!

We hope all of you who had the opportunity to be with us on Monday, enjoyed it and learned something you can put to use in your future negotiations. To those who could not join us, we hope to put on similar events in the future and we will continue to post here on ideas, issues, news, and information to help you in your graduate careers.

Don’t miss the next event. It will be Societas-Meet a Mentor on October 13th.  Each student will be paired with a mentor for a one-on-one mentoring for 15 minutes. During this time you can ask any career related question you might have to the mentor. Our mentors are senior level managers and partners from different industries. In order to match you up with a mentor, please send us your resume at and be sure to RSVP.    Companies represented for this event are: KPMG, PwC, ING, E&Y, Barclays, Universal , McCann, Directors Roundtable, Pepsi, Colgate and more to be announced.

Moheeta Tamrakar, Ke Zhao, Sweta Merchant, Dipti Patil, Miranda Wang, Yuan Li, Maria Shpokayte


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