Networking is an important aspect of the job search process and can be a great way to get to know recruiters in a more relaxed setting. Often times, recruiters will give you their contact information for after the event. Following up after an event may be unfamiliar but it is an avenue to foster a relationship with recruiters you meet, ultimately creating a great resource as you navigate through the job search process and transition into the corporate scene. These guidelines for following up will help you gain a solid foundation for contacting recruiters after networking.
1. Try to follow up within a few days after the event. It will be easier for your recruiter to remember you and your conversation if you follow up sooner rather than later.
2. Include the event name, time, and place you met. For example, “Hi ____, it was nice meeting you at Hokies On Wall Street on Friday.” This will help jog the recruiters’ memories and confirm that you were paying diligent attention to all aspects of the conversation during your time networking.
3. Incorporate a memorable aspect of your conversation from the event in your message. Recruiters often meet and interview many students during recruiting season. Adding a memorable topic will ensure that the recruiter will remember you. For example, “I enjoyed speaking with you about marketing and aspects of building your own brand.” This will also help elicit further conversations on the job responsibilities you are most interested in pursuing.
4. Ask for advice. At the recent Hokies On Wall Street, an employee from Resy said, “Email people you networked with and ask for advice. It’s a great way to continue your conversation and learn from them.”
5. Thank the recruiter. As recruiters are very busy, it’s important to express appreciation for speaking with you. This common courtesy will never go unnoticed and is crucial for maintaining your positive reputation in every professional interaction.
6. Connect on LinkedIn, which will make it easy to stay connected with your recruiter. When you send a request on LinkedIn, make sure to send a message with it so they know who you are. This can also open doors to connections with other business professionals. You never know who knows who, so expanding your network is always an asset in obtaining your dream job. There are many ways through which to follow up with a recruiter besides LinkedIn, such as Email or even a thank you card to a recruiter if he or she has gone out of his or her way to connect you with helpful resources.
7. Suggest meeting again. If you’re interested in continuing your conversations, suggest meeting for coffee, which is a good option to get to know each other in a more casual and personal setting.
8. Always proofread every message you send a recruiter. It’s always a good idea to have a peer look over your message before sending to make sure there are no errors. Little mistakes like punctuation or grammar errors reflect a lack in attention to detail and convey a sloppy work attitude. No recruiter wants to have this impression of you.
Following up after networking can show recruiters that you are dedicated, interested, and engaged, whether that be in them personally or the company they work for. While it can feel intimidating to reach out to a recruiter or if you fear that you are coming across annoying or pushy, do not let these thoughts stop you from pursuing an opportunity. Employees love to talk about the great companies they work for, so more often than not they will be more than happy to share more knowledge with you! If you follow these guidelines for contacting recruiters, you will be better able to stay connected with and build your professional relationships.
As finals approach and this year comes to an end, it is hard to keep our minds off of summer break. With that being said, CWIB has a few suggestions to help you plan for the most productive, yet revitalizing, summer possible! As college students, we often find ourselves overwhelmed with the stress of managing heavy course loads, extracurriculars, social events, and much more. The summer months can serve as a great opportunity to take a step back, catch your breath, and plan for the future without the pressure of deadlines weighing on your conscience. Whether you have an internship, summer job, or are giving yourself a summer off from either, here are five simple guidelines to ensure you make the most out of your break:
1.Keep a calendar, planner, or schedule- Just as you would during the year, managing your time during the summer is essential. You can include events relating to academics, socializing, personal time, or anything else important in your life. Regardless of what it is, staying organized can make a big difference in helping you establish what activities you want or need to accomplish. You have to make the most out of the three months we call summer, and planning can help you decide how you want to spend those months. Remember, it is important to balance work and play. Stay focused on your goals and aspirations all while enjoying your ample free time.
2. Take time for yourself- Your body and mind have been through a lot over the course of the past school year. Stress can take a toll on us all, and it is important to give yourself time to recuperate. We often find it difficult to devote time to ourselves due to the hectic schedules we have during the school year. The summer months give us an opportunity to change that! Working out, eating healthy, and resting are just a few ways to nourish our bodies. Do whatever works best for you, but continue to make it a priority throughout the summer!
3. Do something you love- You only have a limited number of summers as a college student, so make them memorable. Spending your days doing something that gives you joy can go a long way in bringing you happiness throughout the next year. Whatever it may be, do it for you and your own enjoyment. Taking care of our own happiness is one of the most important things in life. As human beings, we conform to what others want to do far too often, but this summer can be a fresh start in taking care of ourselves and fulfilling our own desires! You have worked hard this past year, and you deserve to do something you love this summer.
4. Think about the future. Planning for your future academic and career goals during a time that is not filled with stress can be very beneficial. You can rationally form the steps you will need to complete in order to get that job, internship, position, or any other aspiration. Ask yourself what do I want my future to look like? Then use this summer to your advantage. It can be a great way for you to grow into who you want to become! If you want something specific out of the upcoming school year, what can you do this summer to work towards that goal?
5.Be proactive. It is easy to say you want something, but it takes strength to go and get that something. If you set a goal for yourself, work towards it. If you want to do a specific activity, do it. It is easy to waste away summer days because there is not a set schedule of classes or meetings you have to attend but strive to avoid those wasted days this summer. No one ever remembers the day they sat inside watching television for 14 hours straight. They remember the days they accomplished a goal or experienced something new. Make every day count.
No matter what you plan to do this summer, we hope you use the time as a way to grow, destress from the past school year, and make memories that will last you a lifetime. Use the upcoming summer months as motivation to work hard throughout the end of this semester!
Ashton Hughes has been a member of Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) since September of 2016! She joined CWIB as a freshman because she had an older friend who went to Virginia Tech at the time who told her about it. Ashton decided to join the organization because she felt inspired by the CWIB founders and their professionalism. She has not left since. In the three years that she has been involved, Ashton has grown as a professional woman in business, and she now wants to apply her lessons to empower, prepare, and connect other CWIB women!
In her career, Ashton aims to be a financial planner for individuals, families, and small businesses. Her personal goal is to continuously help guide others through every financial milestone in their life. On her journey to achieve her career goals, she was able to obtain an internship with Canal Capital Management, an independent financial planning and investment firm, this summer! Ashton credits CWIB with teaching her the skills that are necessary to go after the career you desire and empowering her to self-advocate and gain opportunities.
As Ashton prepares to enter her senior year, she wants to help empower younger members in ways CWIB has helped and empowered her. “CWIB has been an integral part of my career journey,” Ashton said. “CWIB taught me how to make my first resume, the do’s and don’ts of interviewing, and how to build my personal brand. This organization has given me alumni mentors and a network that has been so generous to me. Most importantly, CWIB has empowered me to feel confident in the professional world.”
Ashton’s biggest motto in life is “I am my best advocate.” She found this motto when she realized that filling out an application with a resume and a transcript was not going to get her the best opportunities. She has learned about her strengths and her passions and now wants to teach others that succeeding professionally involves recognizing your weaknesses and capitalizing on your strengths. “School hasn’t always been a walk in the park for me,” Ashton said. “But I am intensely passionate about helping others succeed, and my strengths lie in communication. I learned that I had to make the extra effort to meet in-person with people, and have a genuine conversation.” Advocating for your strengths and knowing your weaknesses gives you the ability to present yourself in the best manner and succeed!
One piece of advice that Ashton would give to other CWIB members is to not wait around for opportunities but to instead go out and seize them yourself with confidence. She believes that if you want something to happen in your life, it is your place to make it happen. “If you see an internship or job with qualifications and you don’t meet every single one, apply anyway. Reach out to professionals for lunches, coffees, a phone call, and LEARN from them,” Ashton said. She believes that asking for advice from professionals can bring many opportunities, and that could all stem from just one email! Taking the step to put yourself out there is the only way for people to know and remember you.
Ashton has found CWIB to be a place of education, empowerment, and mentorship and she has many goals for the future of CWIB! As the incoming Co-CEO of CWIB, Ashton wants the organization to be a network of driven women who are rooting for each other’s success. “As CWIB gets older I hope we can really tap into a strong alumni base all over the country,” Ashton said. “The job for us now is to really cement a clear and unique identity not only here at Virginia Tech, but beyond it as well.” She has committed to seeing this organization reach its potential and provide strong value to its members. “The fact that we have such a devoted and talented leadership team, staff writers, and general membership is what makes Collegiate Women in Business at Virginia Tech so special.” Empowering women is rooted in CWIB’s culture and Ashton wants that to see that continue for years to come.
Ashton is a prime example of someone who has seen the value that Collegiate Women in Business can bring its members. Anyone can pay dues, but if you really want to set yourself apart to get your dream internship and job, get involved in the organization! Ashton, we are looking forward to seeing you continue to empower other women in CWIB as one of the Co-CEO’s next year. Our organization is very lucky to have such dedicated, successful, and inspiring leaders like you!
On April 4th, fifteen CWIB members headed to New York City to join Pamplin alumni for the annual Hokies on Wall Street event. Hokies on Wall Street is a networking event for Virginia Tech alumni and current students of all majors to come together and interact with each other about everything from their careers to their favorite memories in Blacksburg.
This year’s event was hosted by CitiGroup in their Midtown office. The event kicked off with a panel including Omar Asali, Chairman and CEO at One Madison Group, Tracy Castle-Newman, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Lynne Doughtie, Chairman and CEO of KPMG. Dean Sumichrast moderated the panel and asked them questions about their career journey. When asked what one piece of advice she can give to people who want to grow their career, Tracy Castle-Newman emphasized the importance of commitment. She admitted, “Every time I got a promotion, I would stay at the office until 11 PM for a couple of weeks in order to learn the job and become good at it. I made that choice.” Omar Asali’s piece of advice was: be passionate about what you do. He explained that “if you do what you love, everything else falls into place.” The panel ended with the question: why is giving back important? Lynne Doughtie shared that she has been contributing money to Pamplin since she graduated. She went on to say, “When I got my first paycheck, I donated $15 to Pamplin. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Virginia Tech gave me so much and I have always believed that it was right to donate what I could.” The panelists did a great job inspiring the audience to work hard in their career to reach their goals and remember that Pamplin helped get them to where they are today, so there is value in giving back. After the panel, there was a networking reception where attendees chatted while munching on the delicious catered food. CWIB members thoroughly enjoyed interacting with many successful Hokie alumni.
CWIB members also had the chance to visit a couple of the world’s most iconic companies. On Friday morning, trekees visited IBM. CWIB members sat down with three women in marketing who explained their paths to IBM and offered advice on reaching one’s full potential and becoming successful in business. Allison Wood, a sophomore majoring in Marketing and Management, shared that the IBM visit was one of her favorite parts of the trek because of the inspirational women she got to meet. “They are each so successful but are only a few years older than us. It really showed me what I can accomplish in just a few years if I put my mind to it,” she shared. In the afternoon, the CWIB members traveled to the New York Stock Exchange. The group was treated to a personal tour of the company from Laura Seamon, a Manager in Enforcement Counsel. Heather Sangalang, a senior majoring in BIT, shared that her favorite part of this visit was being on the trading floor. She admitted that “It was a surreal experience being on the famous trading floor that you see in movies. I found it really interesting to hear that the number of traders decreased from 5000 to 500 over the years due to the adoption of advanced computer programs and algorithms. It proved the significance of technology in business.” The visit ended with a panel featuring women who work in regulation. CWIB members asked them questions about their job roles, how they handle work in a male-dominated field, and why they think internships are important. After this visit, the group was free to roam New York City with each other, which allowed them to bond with new and old faces!
Emma Roby is a freshman studying Finance who participated in the trek to expand her network and connect with professionals from companies she’s interested in working for. When asked about her most memorable moment from the trek, she shared, “My most memorable part of the weekend was touring the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, getting to experience what goes on down on the floor in person was incredible.” Roby encourages other CWIB members to participate in treks because they offer the opportunity to meet professionals in different fields, which can be helpful in deciding which career path you want to pursue.
Lauren Carey, a senior studying Finance and Management, has attended Hokies on Wall Street for the past three years, explaining that it is her favorite event of the year. She enjoyed visiting the New York Stock Exchange for the opportunity to tour the trading floor and speak with a panel of women in the regulation sector. Lauren admits that her favorite part of the trek was bonding with other CWIB members. “I have made some of my best friends from CWIB and I cannot picture my college experience without it,” she says.
Kinsey Donovan, a senior studying BIT and Management Consulting, also considers Hokies on Wall Street her favorite event of the year and describes the trek as engaging, enlightening, and inspiring. It was her third and last year participating in the trek and explains that the Hokies on Wall Street networking event is what makes the NYC excursion worthwhile. “Being on the top floor of a New York skyscraper under the city lights talking to amazing people who love Virginia Tech and want to invest in the students makes the quick trip so worth it,” she explains. Her biggest takeaway from the trek was a piece of advice she received from an alum she talked to. He explained that the start of your career is a time to spend observing – observing managers, coworkers, and leaders in your company, so when you get to their level you’ll know how you want to interact with everyone.
Abby Perkins, a sophomore studying Marketing, explains that she was pleasantly surprised by the trips to IBM and the New York Stock Exchange. Representatives at IBM focused on product marketing, while CWIB members got to learn more about the legal side of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. Abby appreciated that the company visits consisted of more than just finance and BIT-related topics. “This trek taught me that there are so many opportunities for all majors at companies you wouldn’t normally expect, so you just have to keep looking for the job you want in places you might not be expecting,” she explains. The IBM visit was the most memorable part of the trek for Abby and she enjoyed how relatable the women were. “The women we talked to were very down to earth and you could tell that they wanted us to succeed in our endeavors. We had a great discussion not just about business but life as well and how transitioning from college into a job was for them,” she shared.
CWIB treks are a great opportunity to make connections with professionals, discover new companies, and get a feel for a city you may see yourself working in. They are also a chance to bond with your fellow CWIB members and grow a network of supportive friends who share similar aspirations to you. Freshmen and seniors alike take away something valuable from treks, whether that be learning about different career paths or making new connections at a fun, annual event!
Sports are a major way to connect people of differing backgrounds. They bring about intense emotions as athletes and coaches can inspire the everyday person to reach for greatness. However, more often than not the image that pops up in our heads is of a male athlete, coach, or sports announcer. Women continue to struggle for equal respect in their athletic abilities. While women do not receive the same attention as men do when it comes to sports, we are taking the steps in the right direction. This comes from the support of male-dominated organizations providing women with equal opportunities.
A recent ESPN article caught my attention as the headline stated, “Buccaneers hire 2 female assistant coaches.” Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar were hired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as assistant defensive line coach and assistant strength and conditioning coach, respectively (Schefter). This accomplishment made these two women the first full-time female coaches in the Buccaneers’ franchise.
Both women were extensively qualified for these positions as Locust has had coaching experience with the Baltimore Ravens as an intern and as defensive line coach for the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron. She has additional experience playing the sport herself at the semi-professional level (Schefter). Javadifar comes from an athletic background too as she played college basketball at Pace University. She furthered her education at New York Medical College where she received her doctorate in physical therapy; from there, she completed her sports physical therapy residency at Virginia Commonwealth University (Schefter). There was no question that Locust and Javadifar take their work seriously. Thanks to Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians, he took their accomplishments seriously too.
The National Football League (NFL) is predominantly composed of male athletes, coaches, and general managers, so women may often be overlooked when it comes to their inclusion within this organization. Tampa Bay Head Coach Bruce Arians stated, “I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football. Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.” While general NFL viewers would not initially picture women as a part of the team staff, Arians realized that it shouldn’t matter whether a man or a woman is a coach, as long as he or she knows how to coach. ” ‘I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University, and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game,’ Arians said. ‘I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy, and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program,’ ” (Schefter). Arians recognized the abilities of these women and that’s all he needed as confirmation they would be successful contributors to the team. Their gender was never a second thought.
Arians is known for his support of female coaches as he previously hired Jen Welter as a training camp intern for the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, where he was previously the head coach. She is considered the first woman to hold a position with the NFL (Schefter). Hopefully, he can serve as an example to other coaches that hiring women to work in sports is not such a crazy thought after all.
Locust and Javadifar join a total of 55 women working for NFL teams in football operations (Marvez). With the increased number of women working in this field, many would assume there is added pressure on them to prove themselves worthy of the position. In an article from Sporting News, Samantha Rapoport, the NFL’s director of football development, states, “ ‘What we don’t want is the spotlight on one female and her feeling it rests on her shoulders for women to succeed or fail,’ ” (Marvez). One woman’s accomplishment should be something special to her; it should inspire others to do the same, not frighten them that they will not live up to their own potential. So far, this has not been a problem among employees within the NFL as Rapoport complements the organization as being “an absolutely incredibly open, welcoming place to work.”
Women who work in sports are becoming more and more common in the world we live in today where increased diversity is not only recommended but demanded by organizations. We can see this past the NFL as the National Basketball Association (NBA) has several women working for their teams, such as the San Antonio Spurs’ Becky Hammon, who became the first female assistant coach in NBA history. Sports reporters like Erin Andrews and Laura Rutledge are paving the way for women in sports media positions. We can see that the opportunities for females in the sports industry are ever increasing across several aspects of the field.
Women such as those mentioned above are role models for women and young girls everywhere that they can be just as successful as men in the sports field. In the future, we can expect to see more women in leadership roles within sports organizations, so if this is something that is of interest to you, don’t be afraid to apply for internships that show you possess these same qualities and skills to be successful in the world of sports!
There are numerous jobs in the sports business. Be sure to check out Teamwork Online at this link to find opportunities that match your strengths and passions, and how they can fit into the sports industry.
In a time of more women holding executive positions in companies such as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and General Motors (GM), Virginia Tech alumna Lynne Doughtie serves as an inspiration for women with a goal to excel at their jobs and reach their goals. She is a huge believer in building confidence and taking risks in order to have a long-lasting and successful career.
Lynne Doughtie is currently the CEO and Chairman of KPMG, one of the Big Four accounting firms that offer financial audit, tax, and advisory services. In 2015, Doughtie became the first female CEO of KPMG and has also held multiple leadership positions during her time with the company. As the CEO, her goal is to foster an environment in which the next generations are nourished and can face challenges the right way.
Doughtie began her career with KPMG in the company’s audit practice after graduating from Virginia Tech in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. She originally found her love for accounting when she helped with her family’s business growing up, and decided that this was what she was meant to do.
Staying involved in Virginia Tech has remained an important part of Doughtie’s fulfillment. She is a current Cabinet Member and has served as President and Cabinet Chair for the Pamplin Advisory Council. She has also served on the Pamplin Accounting and Information Systems Advisory Board. Doughtie received the Virginia Tech University Distinguished Achievement Award in May 2018 and the Pamplin College of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007 for her involvements and contributions to the university. Aside from her awards received at Virginia Tech, Doughtie has also been named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business and Accounting and Today’s Magazine Top 100 Most Influential People.
Lynne Doughtie was invited to participate in a panel discussion at this year’s Hokies on Wall Street event that a handful of Collegiate Women in Business members were able to attend. During this event, she emphasized the importance of giving back to Pamplin. She said that she has been donating a part of her paycheck since she started her full-time career. Doughtie stated, “I only gave $15 and I was so proud of it. Virginia Tech did so much for me, so it has always been important for me to give back.” The CEO is a prime example of someone who lives out Ut Prosim in her life despite the fact that she graduated many years ago.
Doughtie is very involved not only in the Virginia Tech community but also on the Board of Directors of other organizations such as the National Academy Foundation (NAF), cancer-focused nonprofit LUNGevity and the Partnership for New York City.
Building confidence in your career is crucial if you want to reach your goals and have a fulfilling career. In an interview with Business Insider, Doughtie explains the way she thinks confidence is gained. She argues, “…it shouldn’t just come because you say: “I’m smart and I can do this,” I think it comes from action. It’s actually just — jump in, do it, impress the heck out of yourself, that’s how you get confidence. And then as each new challenge and opportunity comes, you jump in again.” This is a valuable point made by the CEO because no matter how well you do in your classes, it won’t matter if you don’t practice applying it somewhere. Therefore, it is a great idea to get involved in organizations on campus, do well on your projects at your part-time jobs, and/or get internships so you can apply what you learn in the classroom to these organizations. Just go out and do it.
Like all of us, Doughtie has experienced many challenges and disappointments in her career but has kept going by learning in new positions and experiences. In the same interview with Business Insider, Doughtie stresses the importance of your professional growth of always raising your hand for new opportunities and being confident in your abilities when taking risks. She says, “When you feel you’re most uncomfortable… that’s actually great because it means you’re growing.” In continuing on this theme, she attributes her ability to take risks as the reason why she got all of her promotions because it’s the driver for growth in your career. She explains, “Careers are really long. At 13 years it seemed, like, “If I don’t do this one thing, my career’s over.” No, it was just starting. And I think that my ability to rise through the ranks at KPMG, I was clearly benefited by having a variety of experiences.” While it may seem scary to take on a new role or ask for a promotion, Doughtie’s career showcases that it is one of the ways that new doors will open for you that can present you with new opportunities to learn and grow.
Becoming the first female CEO in KPMG’s history made headlines in 2015. Lynne Doughtie recognizes that this is a huge accomplishment and continually strives to empower women in the business world to help them know that success is attainable. She believes that her success is due to watching others. She explains, “I feel a sense of responsibility to reach in and encourage and sponsor and mentor, and to show women that they can do this, and that’s very powerful. It goes full circle to how we started the conversation about even just me seeing my mother and my father, and the things that they did…and you can see yourself doing that.” As women in the business world, we should empower other women and be good examples of what a successful woman looks like. Here in Collegiate Women in Business, we strive to create a supportive environment that makes our members feel ready to achieve anything they want to. Female support is a powerful thing!
Lynne Doughtie has and continues to encourage women to use their unique talents and abilities as they strive for success in their career. As she continues to pioneer the way for women in the business world through her past and current leading roles, she truly sparks inspiration for women to climb to the top.
On Monday, March 25th, Collegiate Women in Business (CWIB) hosted their biggest event of the year: the 2019 Power Panel. This is an annual event in which CWIB invites the entire Virginia Tech community to take part in a night filled with networking, panelist speakers, and empowering insights. The theme for this year’s Power Panel was Choose Courage: Unleash Your Full Potential. Our three panelists, Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch (refer to the CWIB Chronicles’ article: Meet Your 2019 Power Panelists for more information), inspired attendees with their own courageous experiences of being a woman in business.
The night began with a catered networking session with the panelists for CWIB members only, giving our members a unique opportunity to speak one-on-one with these incredible women. After networking, students from all across Virginia Tech’s campus arrived eager to hear from the three leading industry professionals attending the panel. The panel was then moderated by CWIB’s Chief Communications Officer, Neha Shah. Shah asked prompting questions throughout the night, and the panelists were excited to share their life experiences with the room.
Frances Reimers as CEO of Firestarter Communications, Tricia Harper as Partner at KPMG, and Allison Sitch as a PR representative for Marriott Hotels collectively highlighted four main ideas to live by in the corporate world:
Interests and Passions:
In order to reach your full potential, it is crucial to discover and define what you are truly passionate about. This can be anything from your major to a small interest in your life, and it can occur at any time in your life, as we are always growing. Reimers revealed how her majors and personal interests were very different, but in order to excel in her industry, she combined her knowledge and passions for each. Reimers shared, “The bridge may be foggy at the beginning, but with every step, it gets clearer,” referring to one’s journey in finding themselves and what they choose to do with their life.
Harper was focused on sharing the importance of being open-minded in terms of your passions. She advised the room to be grounded in who you are as a person and ask yourself what excites you. Then, you must be open to where that will take you in life. If you think about what you love, you will find things that are uniquely you, and those qualities will take you far in life if you let them! Simply put, “Do something that you will love,” said Sitch, agreeing with Harper. Motivating factors are a big aspect of discovering what you are passionate about as well. Harper announced how she is motivated by having an impact, even if it is small, every single day. “Everyone wants to change the world but no one is willing to make an impact on the person next to you,” she proclaimed. No matter what gives you passion or feeds your interests, find those factors and incorporate them into your everyday life, both personal and professional.
Finding the Right Company:
A big factor in determining your happiness while having a professional career is finding a company that fits you as a person. Knowing what qualities you hope to find in a company can go a long way in ensuring you have vast opportunities in the future. As an employee for Marriott Hotels, Sitch shared how important it is that a company recognizes the right that everyone has a future and potential. She finds joy in working for the family company, Marriott, because it is welcoming to all, not just to other companies, but to individual workers. In fact, the new president, David Marriott, has worked every role in the hotel. From making beds and checking people in, to handling the financial books, Marriott has developed a sense of gratitude for each and every employee, creating a work environment that benefits all who are involved.
Similarly, Harper wanted to find a company where she could have countless opportunities to further her career. KPMG allowed her to work with C-level executives directly out of college, and from there she began her journey to become a partner for the firm. Harper revealed that the people and values of KPMG are what has kept her at the company for nearly two decades. She noted the importance of finding a place to work where you will enjoy spending the entire day with the people, as your career is a big time commitment in your life. Reimers added how she always made sure to take part in nonprofits and give back to the community while she was working for other agencies, as well as in her own company. In starting her company, Reimers actually incorporated all of the aspects she desired to have in different companies into one single company. As she put it, she connected the dots!
Finally, finding a company that supports your goals as a woman is crucial. Marriott Hotels, Firestarter Communications, and KPMG all support women in the workplace, which is reassuring to hear. For example, KPMG has previously offered Harper sabbaticals, time off, and flexible work arrangements when her professional and personal goals were both prominent in her life. As a mother of three, and a successful partner at KPMG, Harper revealed her gratitude for the firm, as she did not have to choose between her career and her family. Harper proclaimed, “We always talk about work-life balance, but really it is all life,” and KMPG realizes that in its employees. Go out into the corporate world and believe that you can have both professional and personal ambitions!
A common theme among the journeys of each of the three women on stage included the idea of taking risks. Being unsure about the future is one of the scariest feelings in the world, yet it can lead to some of the greatest results. With risk and courage, comes growth as well. Growth becomes an indefinite journey and a significant one in our transitions throughout the business world. Sitch stated how important it is to always be motivated to learn, transform, and “become better.” “Success is never really final,” she added. Each panelist has taken risks in their careers, and it has led to great success for each one of them.
Sitch shared that the biggest risk she took in her corporate career was moving to the United States. Encouraged multiple times, Sitch agreed to leave her position overseeing 94 hotels around the world and transition to overseeing 5,300 hotels in America alone. She revealed that a mentor of hers once said, “As best you can allow your career to unfold,” and she has lived by that ever since her transition. Although the transition was not easy, Sitch declared, “I had the ability. I had the company. I had the courage.” Change may not always come easy, but taking risks can lead to amazing benefits. You simply have to know and believe in your own abilities.
Reimers believed in her ability to part ways from the advertising agency she was with to form an agency of her own, grounded in her desired ideals. She had to create a company from scratch, funded by her own savings. She personally came up with the brand, social media, logo, and many more details concerning the blossoming company. “We as women often talk ourselves out of something, and we need to stop that,” she announced to the audience. Having the courage to know where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do was the foundation she built her company on.
Lastly, Harper decided the normal, linear path to partner was not one she desired. She decided to take a non-client-based path, despite people telling her she would not make partner with that course. She relied on her courage to persevere in her journey to make partner. “Courage is really about anchoring to your cores values,” Harper said. She did not let those around her who were discouraging affect her perseverance, and neither should you!
Building connections is an important aspect of developing your professional brand and your personal relationships. Harper advises that you begin with a network you are comfortable in, and expand from there. Sitch recommends that you go into every discussion with an open mind, believing that people are good, and genuinely talk with those around you. Reimers reassured the audience not to let what happens in the office impact the relationships that mean the most to you. In our strive for success, we may experience failure, but we cannot let those difficult times define us. “Know the difference between what you can control and what you cannot,” stated Reimers. Another key component Reimers highlighted in relation to building strong relationships is understanding that life is not a competition with your neighbor. “You are enough, so stop worrying about how you measure up to others,” Reimers revealed in an empowering statement. Be present, and your abilities will guide you to success!
Overall, the night was filled with encouraging insight from our three panelists, Frances Reimers, Tricia Harper, and Allison Sitch. We hope you take the advice given by each of these women and use it to make strides in the business world. We at Collegiate Women in Business cannot wait to see all that you become!