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Darnell Donahue: Men Who Support Women

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Darnell Donahue: Men Who Support Women

Partner, Morrissey and Donahue, LLC

National Board Member


"When she [my daughter] was born it made me think about how the world is for young women and how this is my opportunity to impact an organization that she could come to rely on in her future."

We can’t wait to come to Chicago for conference this year! Can you tell us a little bit about it?

Well, I grew up here in Chicago and I always love being here. When the weather is great like now, it’s easy to love the city. It has alot of culture, history, great architecture, and the people like to work hard and have a good time.  

As a man, why is NAWMBA something that you have chosen to invest your time and energy into?

I got involved with NAWMBA about 3 years ago. I was good friends with the attorney who sat next to me in my office at my former law firm. She was passionate about NAWMBA, but had two young children so didn’t have time to become involved. So I raised my hand. She put me in touch with the President who told me about the successes and struggles that NAWMBA was dealing with. I was impressed that here was an organization that was genuinely trying to do good things for young professional women and that they needed help rebuilding and strengthening their brand. I was especially drawn to the mission and goals of empowering women in business because my daughter was 6 months old at the time. When she was born it made me think about how the world is for young women and how this is my opportunity to impact an organization that she could come to rely on in her future. I started thinking practically what the world would be like in 25 or 30 years and I realized that this was my opportunity to help make that change.

Why IS the empowerment of women in business important today?

The issue is rooted in the underrepresentation of women in business. For making up 51% of the population, they are grossly underrepresented. The culture of business is the way that it is because it’s male dominated. Alot of the flaws can be attributed to the closed society that it is. So it’s important to promote women to be more reflective of the entire culture which is better for all of us.

How do you carry this ethos over in your own business?

Our new firm, Morrissey and Donahue, LLC recognizes that the one thing that we have the most direct impact on is hiring. We are a small law firm and our one associate is a woman. She’s been out of law school for four years, and we can make sure that she is appreciated, listened to, and has the opportunity to become a partner in our firm. We want her to ascend to an ownership position and let her know that there is a path that has realistic goals. It’s also important to let her know that we value her and that we will both mentor her and learn from her. It’s just our small way of making sure that there aren’t any barriers due to gender or race.

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Tags:  Business  Leadership  Men Who Support Women  Morrissey and Donahue  National Board Member  NAWMBA 

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Houston Professional Chapter: NAWMBA Family Leadership

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Karina Larsen Evers: Developing as a Leader Through the NAWMBA Family 

President, Houston Professional Chapter

Former VP of Marketing, Rice University Chapter

Marketing Manager at Arundo Analytics, Inc.

“What I’ve realized in my professional career is that you really need that network of people around you to fulfill your potential.”


Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in NAWMBA.


I became a member of NAWMBA at Rice University in 2007 and was in the chapter until 2009 when I graduated. My second year I sat on the board as the VP of Marketing. That year we had our local chapter conference at Rice and in conjunction held all sorts of interesting events in professional development and cultural development as well. For example, once we held a wine social where an Argentinian native sommelier taught us how to understand wines. That was one of my first bridges into the professional world culturally. We were pushed to a national scale when a large contingent of us went to the national conference in DC. There our leadership was involved in with case competitions and all sorts of activities that pushed us on a platform nationally.


Is that what encouraged you to come back to NAWMBA as a professional member and then move into leadership there as well?

Yes, I moved away from Houston from 2009-2011. Upon my return in October 2011 I re-engaged with NAWMBA and by March I was nominated as Secretary of the Houston professional board! At that point, I was part of the history of NAWMBA in Houston. There was a familiarity to the organization because I was in it when I was at Rice University and it helped me get through school and bridge that connection into the professional world. It’s an organization where you form personal relationships with people and continue to foster relationships with women from different industries and with widely varying interests. In Houston, we really focus on the variety of experiences from professional women.


You work in oil and gas which is a male-dominated industry. What is it like being a woman in a male-dominated industry? And how have you navigated your way in that world?

Arundo is an anomaly in the industry, but just like any industry the difficult parts as a woman are salary negotiation and how to educate yourself on things that guys know and that they connect over. But the way that I deal with it is to dive into the world that I don’t know about. For example, I’m not an engineer but I still manage to talk the talk and walk the walk by diving into that world. Rice was instrumental in building a base in teaching me how to do that. Also, I’ve had fantastic managers at all of the companies I have worked at who really believed in me. I was able to learn things that I didn’t even think I would have the opportunity to dip my toe in. That’s where I realized that I was successful because of others. That concept was new to me because in school I was an athlete and it was a ‘rely on yourself’ situation. But what I’ve realized in my professional career is that you really need that network of people around you to fulfill your potential. The older you get, it might be tempting to take a position with more prestige or pay although it may not be what you want culturally. But that may mean that it’s not necessarily the fit for you. Just because a big brand wants you, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t want to go with a startup that fits better with what you want to learn. You can be at the best brand, but if that’s not where you fit it won’t work.


How has that helped form the ethos of the Houston NAWMBA chapter at this point of leadership?

We have a board of people who want to leave a legacy where future boards can build on the infrastructure that we put in place. We also want to help women reach more of an equal playing field when it comes to cultural knowledge.  That’s why we hold events such as the lessons with the Executive Women’s Golf Association and on salary negotiations, etc. We want to give women the opportunity to ask questions that they wouldn’t ask in their company and get mentorship from women they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. The women we meet from being in this organization have such alternate views of the world. These different perspectives are refreshing and teach us so much. The friendships that we form and the education that we receive from each other are invaluable.  

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Tags:  Arundo Analytics  Chapter of the Month  Houston  Leadership  MBA Women  Oil&Gas  Professionals  WomeninBusiness 

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Chapter of the Month: Leading the Charge through NAWMBA Rice

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Elena Engles: Leading the Charge from NAWMBA Rice 

President, Rice University Chapter, Jones Graduate School of Business

This summer Elena’s internship is within Exxon Mobil’s Corporate Financial Services based out of their Budapest Business Service Center.  Her summer project involves evaluating whether the restructuring of a ~270 person organization into a more competency-based model would provide greater synergies, the sharing of best practices and a more aligned organization.  If she concludes the restructuring would benefit the organization, then she will create an implementation plan that can be scaled up to two additional international locations in South America and Southeast Asia.


Tell us how you got involved in NAWMBA.


I previously worked in oil and gas and I was one of two females on the team so I didn’t have a significant involvement with many women. I initially thought volunteering with NAWMBA would give me an additional skillset to learn how to better interact with women in business school. Stephanie Campbell, our previous president, created an internal mentorship program and I felt that the mentorship program would be beneficial in navigating business school and in having an impartial perspective for my career.


I ran for the presidency because I wanted to take what Stephanie did to the next level, and connect our university chapter to organizations and events off the Rice campus to increase our profile. Houston is really large and easy to get lost in. In order to help our members find the places that are right for them, we are pairing with professional, city-wide organizations that give back with the goal of members developing their network prior to graduation.


How have these networking events helped the growth of your members and chapter?


Everywhere I go I meet amazing business women who are passionate about furthering NAWMBA’s mission. For example, last week during a Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce luncheon I met an amazing woman who is a young mom and is a brand consultant and media marketer in Houston and she speaks frequently on entrepreneurship. As Rice’s entrepreneurship program is in the top 5, I knew that she would be a perfect fit for our annual Women in Leadership Conference.  After the luncheon, I spoke with her about our organization and asked if she would be interested in being a panelist and she said yes immediately.


Has this also contributed to your personal professional growth?

Yes, it has really helped me build on my leadership skills. When I go out and talk about NAWMBA I don’t feel like I’m speaking on behalf of myself, but on behalf of the NAWMBA network. If it was just for myself I probably wouldn’t be as gung-ho, but because it’s a program to help build women I’m incredibly passionate about it. I want the women in our chapter to not feel limited due to a lack of opportunities. So we have a packed year’s schedule with events to help the women to learn, ask questions, and have access to people, places, and experiences that they might not have otherwise. It’s going to be a full, great year at NAWMBA, Rice University!


See Elena's photo below in front of the Hungarian Royal Opera House in Budapest!

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Tags:  academic  Chapter of the Month  Exxon Internship  leadership  NAWMBA  Rice University  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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For Career Advice, Nothing Is More Valuable Than a Mentor

Posted By Julie McReynolds, Monday, May 15, 2017
Updated: Sunday, May 14, 2017

One of my favorite quotes is this one of Zig Ziglar’s: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”

I’m a huge proponent of having a mentor. I have several, both male and female. All my mentors are people I have worked with or volunteered for at some point in my life. They understand my strengths and weakness and help to guide me in the right direction. When a new business opportunity arises, they are the ones I always consult with because I know they won’t hesitate to tell me whether I will sink — or rise to the occasion.

What makes a mentor?

A good mentor-mentee relationship isn’t something that is forced. It forms naturally. Mentors take a vested interest in your career and helping you succeed. They are wonderful because they use their experience to help guide you to your fullest potential. They can help you handle everything from office politics to deciding on that next degree to moving on from an employer because you have grown as much as you can in that position.

I am now a mentor to several young ladies and it is exciting when they call or email me with questions and to share successes. I can see myself in their eyes and now know what it feels like for my mentors when I call them.

One of my mentees calls me her “career cheerleader.” I never asked any of my mentors if they would assume that role; they just did, naturally. Chances are there is someone from your day-to-day routine that you are not shy about talking to for career advice. That person is your mentor — and your career cheerleader.

The NAWMBA Mentorship program is open to all members. I hope that you will join it and commit to changing someone's life either as a mentor or a mentee. Click here to learn more! 


This article was originally published by Media Planet. 

Tags:  Mentee  Mentor  Mentoring  Mentorship  NAWMBA 

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