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Academic Chapter of the Month-Oklahoma State University: A Chapter with Heart

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, August 9, 2017


Oklahoma State University’s chapter is new to the NAWMBA family. They are going on their second year, but after only a year of establishment their personality is clear. They are a chapter with heart. I always say that my favorite thing about NAWMBA is that it feels like family. Nobody has embodied that more than NAWMBA’s Oklahoma State University chapter. Here’s a little bit about what drives the chapter at OSU in the words of their president, Dylan Dean.

The first thing that we did as new leaders was to go to NAWMBA’s conference and career fair. At the time our President was Holly, and even though I’ve taken over this year I’m still close to her. We went to conference and became inspired by what other chapters were doing. When we came back we brought what we learned. We built on programs that already existed within Spears School of Business. For example, Spears has a Friday class that we call, ‘Professional Development.’ Through that class we are connected directly to faculty, staff, and representatives from the community. Students are introduced to speakers and then go to networking events with the members of our community who present on different topics. Some entrepreneurs discuss how they got their start or why/how they switched careers. From that program, we decided what was most interesting to us and economic opportunities in our community. We pulled ideas as to what we want to be our focus for the month. It’s an easy way to get the ideas going! This past spring, we watched the documentary, “The Women’s List” highlighting 30 women who have made their mark in their respective industry. This gave us so many ideas! Currently we meet monthly but we also have volunteer events that make it more frequent. For example, this past spring we volunteered at the Children’s Museum, engaging with Elementary aged students. We enjoyed interacting with them, but also were proud to let them see that there are women in the community (outside of their teachers) who are leading as examples of community activists and goodwill models. This community volunteer aspect is extremely important for our chapter. We volunteer on and off campus and interactive volunteering is an important aspect of our service. We see the value in food or toy drives, but for us it’s not as beneficial for members as having interactive experiences together. In the next year, I hope to develop these community partnerships so that we can find more opportunities for volunteer work in the community. The leadership and organizational skills helps us build community connections but also helps to develop our skills in marketing, communications, leadership, and stewardship that we may not have in our internships or entry level jobs. Our chapter is incredibly grateful to also have such great support from our MBA program. Whatever we choose to attend, OSU provides transportation, funding, and/or training. They really give us support to make our goals a reality. For example, last year only our chapter leaders attended the 2016 NAWMBA Conference and Career Fair, but we are looking forward to getting a large group to Chicago this year!

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Tags:  Chapter of the Month  NAWMBA  womeninbusiness 

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Professional Chapter of the Month: THRIVE with NAWMBA Nashville

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Last month, NAWMBA Nationals joined the Nashville Professional Chapter for their THRIVE Conference, an all-day conference that focused on the chapter’s annual theme of The Whole Body. Our Manager of Operations sat down with Claire Lord Jarrett the President Elect of that chapter.

I got involved with NAWMBA Nashville when it first began in 2011. It was an important time in my life because I was in the middle of a career transition. I was transitioning both with my job and career, which is difficult after you’ve been out of the job market for awhile. Jennifer Way, a member of this chapter and now a dear connection through my NAWMBA network, helped me! She helped me revamp my resume and got me back into the interview mode after I had been out for so long. With her help in navigating career transitions, I decided on financial advising. Now I am an independent financial advisor providing comprehensive planning services specifically focused on single, divorced, and widowed women. I know that the industry is male dominated but I want to provide support from the perspective of someone who has been there. As a young professional woman, NAWMBA provides me with a network of support to help me professionally and personally. The thing that I specifically like about NAWMBA is that it has both local and national support. There are a lot of local organizations and women’s groups in Nashville, but not many of them have a national presence. With nationals you have that backbone of support, a national conference, and a network no matter where you go.  

The Nashville chapter began in 2011 and has grown and changed over the years as Nashville has changed. The city of Nashville has grown tremendously so we are trying to change with the city right now and figure out where we fit.  We’ve especially enjoyed meeting new people, specifically younger women who are earning their MBAs. It’s a wonderful opportunity to interact with them and keep our skills sharp. That’s especially true for someone like me who may not be going into an office environment every day and interacting with a lot of different people. I like networking with women of all ages -- learning from young MBAs who have all of the new information and keep you on your toes but also from the women who have been in the field for 20, 30 years and have been through the trenches. It has created an incredibly effective work environment as we learn how to work together and delegate tasks that make sense generationally.

At NAWMBA Nashville we focus alot on programming and building practical knowledge that you can implement today. Our goal is that once you leave a NAWMBA meeting over breakfast or lunch you can implement what you learned at your workplace immediately. THRIVE is an entire day of that programming where you can reevaluate where you are and how to improve. Working with women across industries, we utilize our network of diverse women that can help provide a wider scope both personally and professionally. If I need an event space or marketing ideas I have a network of women already built in that can help me out. I think that most people think about networking as they look for jobs but I’ve used it more to learn different skillsets and mentoring even if it’s not formal. How people interact with their contemporaries or asking other women how they got from point a to point b is critical and our chapter provides the opportunity to do that. Our core group is women with MBAs but we reach out beyond that as well. If you don’t have an MBA we welcome you to join us. We put on a monthly event and then we do two large events annually-the THRIVE conference that we are at today and our “Little Black Dress” event that we use to celebrate our birthday in August.

Our other focus besides programming is membership. Our membership has been pretty consistent for the last 6 years that we’ve been involved. We have a dedicated group of about 75 women which is great, but we do want to grow our membership and monthly participation. We want to take the lead from nationals and incorporate mentoring as part of building a pipeline of engaged membership. On the other end of the spectrum, once we get members they tend to stay! We’ve only had two past presidents and they support us in everything that we do. Kristina Bow, the current president and I also work together on everything to ensure a stable succession plan. Even the board that started our chapter continues to provide support. We all work to make these events happen. I’m very proud that the people who started it are still involved. It speaks to the character of the local chapter. When I moved from my hometown, someone told me ‘you’re going to love Nashville because it’s just an overgrown small town.’ It’s very urban and new blood is constantly being introduced, but it’s still very personable. Our chapter reflects our city--it has the same feel of growth and development while maintaining community and warmth that defines our NAWMBA family.

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Tags:  Chapter of the Month  nashville  NAWMBA  WomeninBusiness  WomenMBA 

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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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