Women in Business Convention Spotlights Career Options

Story posted April 11, 2007

By Haley Bridger '07 and Kathryn Papanek '07

While some students may think that business careers are limited to investment banking and finance, the students in the Bowdoin Women in Business Club (BWIB) know otherwise.

At Club members' invitation, alumnae, trustees, and guests gathered recently at BWIB's first annual convention to share information with and advise students about the variety of career options available to them after Bowdoin. Guests in attendance had jobs ranging from ordained deacon/author to Portland Radio Group promotions director.

All were eager to share their knowledge with current Bowdoin students.

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Panelists in the non-profit and communications fields shared their experiences and advice at the BWIB Convention March 31, 2007.

A panel discussion with five prominent women representing different industries, all of which intersect with the field of business, included Karen Mills, founder and managing director of Solera Capital, LLC; Crystal Canney, Maine associate commissioner for the Department of Administrative and Financial Services; Michele G. Cyr '76, associate dean for women in medicine, Brown Medical School; Stephanie Smith, senior vice president and general manager of Comcast SportsNet; and Mary Herman, Safe Passage board member and former first lady of Maine.

Guests and alumnae from across the state of Maine and other areas of New England attended the convention, which this year focused on the non-profit and communications sectors.

"I was impressed by the turnout and the responses offered by the panelists," said alumna Maria Chi '99. "[This event would have been] very helpful for me if I had been a senior listening—or even a graduate student!"

Following the panel discussion, students and guests had the opportunity to network over a brunch catered by Bowdoin's award-winning Dining Service.

Many students present said the convention helped them realize the options they had open to them, and make connections with alumnae in the area.

"It was really helpful to organize [student seating] by interest. I got to speak to journalists, make connections, see how paths develop after Bowdoin, and I got contact information," said Susan Coyne '07.

Lauren Steffel '07 described the atmosphere of the event as "comfortable and social. It felt like it was less about networking, and more about finding out information."

Many career-focused events organized by the Career Planning Center and academic departments are offered at Bowdoin, but this was the first major career convention organized and initiated by students. With the help of advisors Karen Mills and Anne Shields, director of the Career Planning Center, the students handled everything from compiling the guest list and publicizing the event to moderating the panel discussion.

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Student organizers (l. to r.) Julia Lindsey, Kathryn Papanek, Haley Bridger, Caitlin Rosa, Jennifer Xu, with advisor Karen Mills.

The newly chartered Bowdoin Women in Business Club strives to foster mentoring relationships and offer networking opportunities for all students. Co-presidents Haley Bridger '07, Kathryn Papanek '07, and Jennifer Xu '07 work closely with a team of underclassmen officers—Kayla Baker '09, Charlotte Hitch '09, Julia Lindsey '09, Caitlyn Rosa '08, and Alexandra Smith '09—to bring successful women in business to campus.

In addition, BWIB has received support and encouragement from many campus resources, as well as other student groups, including the Women's Resource Center, Career Planning Center, President's Office, Dean of Student Affairs, Alumni Relations, Communications and Public Affairs, Bowdoin Women's Association, Bowdoin Cable Network, Bowdoin Finance Society, African American Society, and Ironic T-Shirt.

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