“We Mean Business” Women’s Leadership Summit hosts professional panels and networking

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Attendees check into the hub at the balloon arch in Business Hall for the Women’s Leadership Summit on Tuesday evening, April 4, 2023. - Photo / Maryela Gallardo

On Tuesday, April 4, The Rohrer College of Business and Rowan Women in Business hosted the “We Mean Business” Women Leadership Summit. The event was held in rooms 104A and 104B of the Business Hall, which was broken down into three parts.

After checking in at the hub, registered attendees were given name tags and split into two groups, with one group in each room to experience different panels. 

At 4:15 p.m. each breakout session started, and the first group attended Brittany Tattnall’s panel called “Networking Your Way to Success.” Brittany Tattnall is a Rowan alum who graduated with a journalism degree and is now a senior brand marketing manager at American Express.

In Tattnall’s panel, she expressed the importance of learning how to network at an early point in one’s college years because networking is one of the best ways to find job offers. She demonstrated her technique using the acronym ICE, which stands for, “Identifying a commonality or area of entry for conversation, Confidently introducing yourself and clearly stating your objective, and Expressing appreciation and your interest in connecting further.”

Tattnall gave advice to current students based on her experience with studying journalism at Rowan.

“Your skills as a journalist… understanding how to put a story together the parts, the people, talking to people, connecting with people, listening… those all make such great qualities of a leader. So you can do anything you want to do,” Tattnall said. 

After the first breakout session ended, groups were directed to the next panel titled, “Thriving in a Male-Dominated Industry,” which was moderated by the President of Women In Business Nicole Millemann and featured guest speakers Denise Coogan and Christine Tagye. The panel discussed how women in successful careers have been met with times they were unheard, unappreciated and doubted because they were women.

Coogan, who is the environmental partnership manager at Subaru of America Inc. recounts the experience of women in business before it was more common.

“When the plant was built there were no women’s bathrooms. So that tells you where women stand in the very male-dominated world. There’s maybe a couple of women that sit on the board of directors, but I think it’s changing,” Coogan said.

She also expressed hope that there will be more women’s voices at those same board of directors meetings. 

Coogan and Tagye, who is the talent development manager at Enterprise Holdings, urged young women to not be afraid of pursuing a field that is male-dominated. They’re advocating for the rise of women in higher positions and expressed the need to surround themselves with support. 

After this breakout session was over attendees were given a free dinner and were encouraged to network and make connections with others using the advice given by all three of the panelists. After the dinner, the event concluded with a message from the keynote speaker Ashley Pimenta. 

Pimenta is the general manager and vice president head of marketing at Element1 Music, who works with artists like Twenty One Pilots and NF. She spoke about her experience as a former college student who graduated with a journalism degree but is now in the music industry. Pimenta recounted her random encounter with someone in her dorm and how it led her to a career in the music industry. She told students who are unsure of what they want to do after college to expand their horizons and try everything they can.

Along with reflecting on her past, Pimenta shared what advice she would give to her younger self and by extension current students jumping into their careers.

“I would tell myself to continue approaching my career the way that I had college, and that’s leaning into the things that I enjoyed,” Pimento said  

Each speaker provided lots of insight and created impactful conversations with the attendees, fostering confidence and new perspectives for women seeking careers in business and elsewhere.

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