Carey Hosts Panel to ‘Inspire’ Women in Business
Two student-led groups from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Johns Hopkins Alumni Association co-hosted a panel discussion featuring women from a variety of industries and backgrounds that covered topics and issues facing women in business.
The panel, held Feb. 25 at the Carey Business School’s Harbor East campus, was called the Inspiring Women in Business Panel and was attended by 60 students and alumni from across Johns Hopkins University. All proceeds from the event, which included a networking sessions after the panel, went to Dress for Success, an organization that empowers women to achieve financial success.
The event featured women in the industries of biotech, health administration, consulting, and education. The speakers included Valerie Suslow, PhD, and vice dean for Faculty and Research at the Carey Business School; Cherie Butts, PhD, and associate director of Program Leadership at Biogen; Tara Gallant, MBA, and CEO at Mandrel; Carey alumna Jessica Jeang, a senior consultant at Sage Growth Partners; and Lili M. Portilla, MPA, and director of Office of Strategic Alliances NCATS at National Institutes of Health.
The event was moderated by Kathy Bovard, M.Ed, director of Coaching and Education at Carey.
The panel covered a variety of topics. Suslow commented on the importance of learning to navigate within your organization by acting on what you can control.
“There will always be a lot swirling around you. You can’t let yourself be drawn into things that are off target. But invest in working hard and what you can control,” she said. “This advice is for everyone: work hard and do well. Show you can do the job.”
Building on that, Jeang said it is important, especially for women, to assert themselves in the workplace.
“Take your power,” Jeang said. “Women more often than men create these debilitating narratives in their heads. … At what point do you stop taking orders and waiting for people to give you tasks and instead start thinking about the problems you recognize and doing it? Don’t wait for someone to give you that power, just take it.”
The panel was co-organized by Alina Predescu, a student in Carey’s Flex MBA program and president and co-founder of the student club Carey Connect; and Katharina Schmidt, co-president of Hopkins Biotech Network. Predescu said the event emerged after she and Schmidt discussed panels and speakers they’d organized in the past.
Predescu said the two converged on the topic of women in business. “We said, ‘Why don’t we have a combined panel with women from different backgrounds to discuss leadership style, what’s important in life, and what led them to where they are today,” she said.
Schmidt said she was personally encouraged by the “spirit and self-esteem” that came through in the panel. She said it is important to have panels like this because it provides insights and value to women striving to be future leaders.
“It is important to give credit to women who worked their way up the career ladder and serve as an inspiration for prospective female leaders in the audience. I think women in earlier career stages benefit from guidance and mentorship from advanced leaders,” Schmidt said.
Reflecting on the discussion, Predescu said she appreciated the “frank conversation” about challenges and opportunities facing women.
“It was balanced. We would like to say that everywhere women are equal, however there are situations where that is not true. But don’t let that deter you from pursuing your dreams,” she said.