A new group in CSU’s College of Business is already making a big impact for students in the college. The Women in Business Association launched this month with an inaugural event featuring Beverlee Garb, a well-known leadership trainer.
The event with Garb launched the Women in Business Association’s first year of programming to provide students in the College of Business with opportunities to engage in critical discourse about gender equality in the workplace and help provide solutions to common problems faced by both women and men.
“The university as a whole is focusing on gender equity and inclusiveness,” said College of Business Dean Beth Walker. “It is timely and important that we respond to this essential need.”
And to meet that need, the Women in Business Association has scheduled dozens of events that will take place over the school year to connect students with business leaders in the community who can share their experiences and insight through lectures and networking.
Empowering the next generation
“The Women in Business Association is an important initiative because we are supporting and empowering the next generation of female business leaders,” said Alexis Applegate, president of CSU’s Women in Business Association. “We have a great deal to offer to businesses, and when we work together we can accomplish incredible things.”
The group is creating opportunities for the female business students to connect with and empower one another to be strong leaders when they step into the professional world through mentorship, seminars, discussions, field trips, workshops and presentations. The programming is focused on helping members discover their strengths.
“We are focusing on developing ourselves as professionals and showing businesses all that we have to offer,” said Applegate.
Need for role models
Addie Arnold, a senior business student concentrating in finance and management, emphasized the importance of role models.
“It can feel intimidating for women to try to come in and work their way up in a job when they don’t see any other women to aspire to be,” said Arnold.
In the College of Business she’s found a supportive environment, never feeling less important than any of her classmates because of gender. But she still acknowledges that there can be misconceptions among other students.
“Every once in a while you’ll hear something along the lines of, ‘If you’re a woman applying for that position, you’ll get it because they have to hire a certain number of women,’” said Arnold. “That can be disheartening. I don’t want to be hired just because I’m a woman. Women want to be hired and move up in companies because they deserve it.”
The programming for the Women in Business Association also will include hands-on projects and philanthropy related to gender. The organization is partnering with the Women and Gender Collaborative, the Pride Resource Center, Global Business Network and other campus organizations to bolster their offerings.
How to get involved
“We are so excited to launch this organization,” said Applegate. “We are hoping to reach 100 members, and along with that, we’re focused on building connections and creating valuable opportunities for members.”
In order to join the group, students must be a business major. The group hosts a meeting every Wednesday evening. To get involved either email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the group’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WIBA.CSU/.
Opportunities for business leaders and alumni
“I was always looking for who looks like me, who knows the struggles I’m going through,” said Nicole Staudinger, president of FirstBank Northern Colorado and an alumna of the College of Business. “When I look at what I can help with at CSU, and what I think is important in the business community, it’s the availability and engagement of senior experienced women in business that are there saying, ‘How can I help? What questions do you have?’”
Susan Schell, director of the Career Management Center of the College of Business, is the advisor to the Women in Business Association and emphasizes that there are many opportunities for business leaders and alumni to get involved with and help the new group.
Opportunities for involvement include:
- Mentor: Agree to mentor one or more female students in their school and career pursuits. Meet live or virtually at least two times a year for at least one hour with each student to provide tips and suggestions.
- Networking participant: Interact with student members during one event per year on campus. The event will be held during spring semester and will include a welcome from the dean, a brief introduction by one of the members, and an hour of conversations with the students.
- Advisory board member: Recommend programming and activities for students, and suggest field trips, educational opportunities, certifications, etc. The board will consist of six to eight female members who agree to meet three times a year for approximately an hour and a half. Meetings will be in person, but it will be possible to connect virtually.
- Informational interviewee: Be interviewed by one or more of the female students to discuss your career pursuits, secrets to your success, and ways you recommend they could enhance their success.
- Speaker/panel member: Address members of the organization during a regular Wednesday meeting at the College of Business on topics of interest to female students.
- Contributor to specific programming: Fund programming, conference fees, travel expenses, social events, scholarships, or any desired WIBA activities.
If you’re interested in helping the College of Business’ new Women in Business Association, please contact Susan Schell at Susan.Schell@colostate.edu or 970-491-4834.