Women’s Leadership Summit: Graduates Who Inspire

After discussing the importance of networking, the students were encouraged to chat with the panelists about their career goals after the event ended.

On Wednesday, March 30, the SUNY New Paltz Foundation collaborated with the Career Resource Center to host a Women’s Leadership Summit in the Student Union Building (SUB) from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The summit showcased more than 25 recent successful senior careers. level alumni who embody leadership roles in their respective fields.

The summit asked students to register in advance through the SUNY New Paltz website so attendees can be organized into small discussion groups decided by their majors. However, students were also asked to introduce themselves and be assigned to the group that best met their career goals on the spot.

Some majors/professions represented at the summit were the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Education, School of Fine and Performing Arts, and School of Science of Engineering.

Students received their assignments in small groups at a table on the second floor of the SUB outside the multipurpose room. These female students would walk into the given room where they would participate in a conversation about women’s career paths, the steps they took in college to get them to where they are now, and the advice they have for young women looking to enter their field.

One of the panels included women with careers in digital media production, journalism, history, theater and drama.

During this panel, students were asked questions about what it was like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry, how to know if your hard work or effort is getting value in the workplace, and other tips and tricks for entering the job market.

The panelists eagerly answered all questions from the group, each of them adding their experiences to the conversation, allowing the students to receive as many perspectives as possible during their short time together.

One of the panelists in the panel was MetroFocus host/reporter Jenna Flanagan. She told the students about the early stages of her career and the ups and downs of the “hustle”. She told students to be prepared to fetch coffee for people in the early years of their careers – but don’t worry because it all pays off eventually, and as you get promoted people will respect you more because you did the dirty work.

Panelists educated students about the importance of boundaries and that what you say no to is just as important as what you say yes to.

Flanagan told the group about a job offer she recently turned down. She explained that the offer was for more money and had what some would consider more prestigious than her current job, but accepting this job would require her to work hours she hated.

Flanagan admitted there was once a time when she would have jumped at the chance – but she has since learned to prioritize her own happiness and set boundaries for herself that she was unwilling to cross for a new position. .

Another key point raised during this focus group was that you don’t need to have everything to start talking to people; Getting your name out there to people who might one day help you or putting you in touch with someone who can help you is of utmost importance.

Networking was the key word of the event.

Also, once you find people who are willing to mentor you, don’t just go to them when you need something for a job, strike up a friendship with them. All panelists agreed that they are much more included in helping someone who knows them and knows them well.

At the end of the breakout sessions, the students were invited to an ice cream party from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. where they were encouraged to network with the women from the panels they had just attended.

Many students have taken advantage of this opportunity. Walking through the gathering, many students could be heard sharing their goals and aspirations with these women – who, in turn, gave them either direction to follow or contact information to keep in touch with.

Students who missed this event should keep an eye out for other alumni networking opportunities. One of the resources offered by the Career Resource Center is the Orange and Blue Network.

The Orange and Blue Network is a program where current and former students can connect with each other. Students can use the website to find graduates who have the job they’re interested in, or graduates they think can give them the advice they’re looking for or help connect them with a potential job.

The Women’s Leadership Summit and the Orange and Blue Network are free for students. For more information on the Orange and Blue Network, visit their website. For more information on upcoming events like the summit, keep an eye out for updates from the Career Resource Center either on their website or on their Instagram page, @npcareers.



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Mara R. Wilmoth