On November 1st, nine CWIB members traveled to New York City for a one-night, two-day trek in the hopes of bettering their knowledge of business operations and networking skills. Treks provide members with first-hand exposure to companies around the country as well as the opportunity to network with successful business professionals, and this trek did just that for these ladies!
The trek began with a visit to the Fox Networks Company, where the girls were led on a tour by Steve White, the Director of Ad Sales Finance, who explained the ins-and-outs of different company operations at Fox. White then took the girls to a conference room where they were met by Wendy Lee, Senior Vice President of Revenue Analysis at Fox Networks Group. This was an impactful moment for each member of the trek, as Lee has worked as a powerful female in media finance and revenue analytics for 23 years! According to freshman CWIB member Cameron Long, Lee helped the attendees “gain knowledge of how to be a successful woman in the workplace, and how to overcome obstacles in the process.”
Lee highlighted the importance of continued learning throughout one’s career. She emphasized how you can never, and should never, stop learning. She graduated from New York College at Oswego, but still took different classes at New York University School of Professional Studies and Harvard Business School throughout her career. She has also completed 15 Certificate Degrees in Business Management, Finance, and Operations. As a result of her determined mindset, she never fell behind in her male-dominated industry. Instead, she excelled. With hard work, you can become anything you put your mind to!
Following the visit to Fox Networks Company, the CWIB trekkers traveled to the Morgan Stanley headquarters in Times Square for the 9th Annual New York Women in Business Event. The event was sponsored by Pamplin alumna Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director and COO of Global Institutional Equity Distribution at Morgan Stanley, and put on by the Virginia Tech Women in Business (WIB) Leadership Team. This team includes Kay Hunnings as Associate Dean for Administration, Bonnie Gilbert as Director of Alumni Relations, Donna Wertalik as Director of Marketing, and Amy Weishaar as Assistant Director of Special Events. The night was all about connecting with and empowering one another as women in the business world. Castle-Newman stated, “I’m honored to sponsor such an amazing event that brings together women from various professional experiences to share their stories of success and failure. Each year the WIB team executes the event with fresh ideas that attract over 100 alumni. Looking forward to celebrating the 10th Anniversary.”
The event began with a networking session, where current Virginia Tech female students connected with successful Virginia Tech alumni who are in the business world today! Current CWIB member, sophomore Reagan Harwood, explained, “I loved networking with all of the Virginia Tech alumnae and learning about their different professional journeys. Everyone was so helpful and kind.” This exemplifies how the night was simply about uplifting one another to better each others’ success in the future. “It was so much fun talking to these incredible women,” Harwood added. The alumni want the best for each and every member of Pamplin, and they showed that throughout the entirety of the Women in Business event.
After networking, everybody joined together for an interactive activity. Students were placed at different tables with various alumnae, and each table was given a topic to discuss. All of the topics involved being a woman in the business world, such as “How to Stand Out in a Meeting.” Each table shared their discussion with the rest of the event members, creating a room filled with empowerment. Donna Wertalik directed the discussion, constantly emphasizing the importance of believing in ourselves as women in the workforce. Bethany Frady, a sophomore and CWIB member, said, “What stuck with me the most was to just be confident in yourself.” Confidence was a pillar throughout the night; it can go a long way in one’s success!
The following morning, the trek attendees made their way through Times Square to SiriusXM. The girls were greeted by Alison Smith, Program Manager of Talent Acquisition, who informed the group of the many complex pieces that go into producing their hundreds of radio stations. Frady stated, “It gave me a new perspective about the company and how they collect data to gather information about their listeners.” The trek attendees were also welcomed into a conference room with four female employees, whose jobs ranged from marketing to management to engineering at SiriusXM. They made it known that women in the workplace can be powerful and impactful every day. Long explained, “They made me feel like there are plenty of opportunities for women in the workplace, and that obtaining success is very possible.” Treks are not only informative, but they are inspirational!
The main idea of the New York City trek was learning how to stand up and stand out as a woman in business. Led by three members of the CWIB Executive Board, Gigi Jones as Co-Chief Executive Officer, Shannon Keye as Chief Operating Officer, and Angela Zadrima as Chief Financial Officer, the trek attendees were able to learn how important initiative is in the business world, while they explored different companies and met with countless Virginia Tech alumni. Harwood shared, “Being able to speak to the impressive businesswomen at Fox, SiriusXM, and the WIB event helped give me valuable insight into the real business world and advice on how to succeed in it.” Your drive to work hard, learn more, and stand out can only help you and your success! The members of this trek saw that first-hand through their encounters with powerful female leaders in business.
By: Allison Wood