Top Women Executives Speak at Carey Conference Focusing on Women’s Leadership
Five leading female business executives visited the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School earlier this month for a series of matter-of-fact discussions on the state of women’s professional leadership.
The five women, which included three Carey alumni, boast impressive resumes and wield significant influence across a variety of organizations and sectors.
The group included Karen Appleton Page MS ‘97, Senior Director of Partnerships, Channel and Industries at Apple; Jyoti Chopra, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at BNY Mellon; Redonda Miller MBA ‘04, President of Johns Hopkins Hospital; Karen Peetz MS ’81, retired President of BNY Mellon and a Senior Advisor to McKinsey; and Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President to Industry Platforms at IBM.
The discussions – delivered in back-to-back sessions to an audience of about 100 academics, Carey students, and influential alumni – produced a frank and diverse set of insights into the challenges and opportunities women face in the modern workplace.
Van Kralingen spoke first as part of a lunchtime conversation moderated by Valerie Suslow, a Carey Professor and the school’s Vice Dean for Faculty and Research.
Regarding the challenges and advantages unique to women, Van Kralingen said she believes that changes in the global business climate favor women as consumers continue to seek personalized connection in commerce. She said women tend to have a natural ability to be empathic and create human connection – two skills she sees as critical for the future businessperson.
“The environment for business has fundamentally changed, and many of those changes favor women,” Van Kralingen said.
A panel moderated by Peetz and featuring Appleton Page, Chopra, and Miller followed van Kralingen and Suslow building on similar themes. The three panelists shared personal insights on issues such as the feasibility of work-life balance, how to confront workplace prejudice and bias – both implicit and explicit – and the challenges facing women’s development within companies. The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
The discussions were part of a three-day conference called “Broadening Perspectives on Women in Work: An Interdisciplinary Conference” held on October 12 and 14 at Carey’s Harbor East Campus. The event brought together leading national and international academics from a variety of disciplines to present the latest academic research around the issue of women’s leadership.
The conference was organized by Suslow and Carey assistant professors Colleen Stuart, Sharon Kim, and Erik Helzer – along with the assistance of Peetz, who is also a Johns Hopkins trustee. Stuart said having the perspectives of practitioners to juxtapose against the academic research was “incredibly valuable.”
“Researchers spend a lot of time thinking abstractly about how inequality plays out at work, particularly at senior levels of the organization, which makes it incredibly valuable to hear practitioners discuss their experiences first hand,” Stuart said. “It helps refine our research questions and assures us that the research that has been or is currently being conducted is directly relevant to the problems faced by women in business.”
The conference is part of a series of events Carey has organized highlighting women in business. On Oct. 24, Carey’s Women in Business Club hosted top female leaders from Johnson & Johnson for a panel discussion. On Nov. 13, former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski will visit Carey for a fireside Q&A with Dean Bernard T. Ferrari as part of the school’s Leaders+Legends event series.