International Women’s Day 2013

By  Alex Vilchynskaya IMG_9185

To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day graduate student club Zicklin Women in Business welcomed students and guests to its 4th Annual IWD Luncheon event at Baruch College. The topic of this year’s luncheon was “Pathways to success (through the glass ceiling?)”. As it already became a tradition, graduate students gathered at Baruch College’s Newman Library, Room 750, for an opportunity to get insights and valuable career advice from a panel of high-ranked professionals.

The first time the term “glass ceiling” has been used to refer to invisible barriers that impede the career advancement of women in the American workforce in an article by Carol Hymowitz and Timothy Schellhardt in the March 24, 1986 edition of the Wall Street Journal. Since then its meaning has been expanded to include minorities as well as females. It might seem that with time the situation changed. However, statistics show that very little percent of women reach high ranking positions within organizations. This year Zicklin Women in Business invited women that hold executive leadership positions in different organizations to share their success stories and talk about obstacles they encountered climbing up a career ladder.

Sima Wang President of ZWIB

Sima Wang President of ZWIB

Donald H. Schepers, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Zicklin School of Business

Donald H. Schepers, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Zicklin School of Business

Sima Wang, President of ZWIB, started the event by welcoming everyone with an inspiring speech and introducing Donald H. Schepers, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Zicklin School of Business. Donald spoke about how the time changed since 1960s and how women started to take on positions within the government that before was consistently presented by white guys. “Nothing will change without your voice and your work”, he said referring to how the situation changes now and how it will change in the future.

The panel portion of the event started promptly afterwards. This year, students were fortunate to enjoy an amazing panel of successful and extraordinary women: Eileen Cohen – Managing Director, Asset Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co; Renee DeGagne – Managing Director, Global Trading Client Management, RBC Capital Markets; Julie El-Taher – Managing Director, Advanced Execution Services, Credit Suisse; Jo Holz – Senior Vice President, Client Research Initiatives, The Nielsen Company; Joyce Hsu – Former Vice President, International Tax, Goldman Sachs; Amy Shang – Executive Vice President, Strategic Implementation (Regulation), HSBC-North America. Dionyse Fitzwilliam, Executive Producer, Caribbean’s Next Top Model, kindly agreed to take on a role as a moderator.

The speakers briefly introduced themselves and delved into a fascinating discussion of what women can do to become successful in their careers. The discussion was both insightful and funny keeping audience highly engaged and shaking it with laughter at times. The ladies addressed such questions as “What are some of the main challenges you have faced in your career? How did you overcome them?” or “As an experienced leader, you have had to make many decisions during your career. What were some of the most difficult decisions for you to make?” and many others.

DSC_0301Our panelists gave students plenty of valuable advice and food for thought. For example, Julie said “know what you don’t know” because it is important to understand your weak spots and ask for help when necessary. Joyce advised to always keep your eyes open and look for opportunities in front of you. Do not just focus on what you are doing now. Eileen mentioned that females cannot take anything for granted. It is necessary for them to prove themselves every day. When talking about work-life, all panelists agreed that there is no such thing as balance. Sometimes we face trade-offs that are very hard and painful to take on but we make our own choices and decide for ourselves what is more important at each occasion.

The last question our panelists addressed was about career planning. An interesting thing is that all our panelists admitted that what they planned and had in mind did not go exactly the way they wanted it to be. Jo said that she did not have any plan whatsoever. However, panelists acknowledged it is better to have a plan but use it as a map that helps us stay on track.

The panel was followed by Q&A session giving students an opportunity to ask some burning questions. After that, Yulia Davletova, VP of External Relations, ZWIB took the stage to thank our guests and present them with gifts from ZWIB.

Student Laura Meyer asking a question

Student Laura Meyer asking a question

You can find more videos from this year’s luncheon at ZWIB’s youtube channel by following the link here.  http://www.youtube.com/user/ZicklinWIB

About ZWIB: ZWIB is a professional organization that provides career, networking and mentoring opportunities for women and men at Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business.  Our goal is to create a rewarding long term network for our community.  We actively connect our 400+ members with distinguished alumni and professionals.  We host discussions on important topics such as successful negotiation techniques, the use of emotional intelligence, and the breaking of the corporate glass ceiling.

Panelist with ZWIB Executive Board and Volunteers

Panelist with ZWIB Executive Board and Volunteers

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