Several members of the Drexel LeBow community participated in the 2014 Pennsylvania Conference for Women, held Oct. 16 at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The day-long event featured keynote speakers such as Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and actress-turned-best-selling author Diane Keaton.
LeBow alumna Maria Allison ’14 participated in a panel discussion called “Turning Your Dream Into Reality.” This panel was popular among young women who had started a business or had an idea for a business and wanted to learn about next steps.
A few of Allison’s top tips:
Trust your colleagues.
“Don’t waste your creativity and brain power on doing things that you hate. I hate social media, but Nicole (her business partner) is amazing with it. As partners, decide what you’re good at and trust each other.”
When it comes to networking, don’t be shy.
Allison makes a point of walking up to groups of people and asking, “Excuse me, can I join your conversation?”
If you’re decisive, people will take you more seriously.
“There’s a big difference between saying ‘I think I’m going to start this business’ and saying ‘I am going to start this business.’” Allison says people take you more seriously and give more constructive advice and feedback if you sound decisive.
Trina Andras, PhD, academic director of LeBow’s Center for Corporate Reputation Management, hosted a small business roundtable discussion that provided marketing tips for owners of small businesses.
“Most small business owners have a great idea and value proposition, but little experience or knowledge in how to communicate with stakeholders, to create awareness, persuade and motivate, and do it all on a shoestring budget.” She provided tips and resources, and fostered a conversation about the biggest challenges these women have faced, how they overcame them, and their biggest successes.
Alumna and LeBow adjunct professor Susan McGann MBA ’06 presented a workshop titled “Coach or Mentor?” designed to help attendees better understand the difference between them and how to find a good fit.
She says coaches help turn training (corporate or schooling) into actionable information that you can use to meet your immediate goals. They should be certified or have extensive experience with the particular skill you’re trying to acquire or challenge you’re trying to overcome.
Mentors, on the other hand, are people who can help you achieve long-term career and life goals. “A mentor should be someone from within your industry who has experience in the career path you’re looking to travel. They’re also there to help you with more general issues of personal and professional well-being.”
Kay Ford, director of MBA career services, presented a workshop on interviewing successfully. One of her main tips is to “tell stories,” because interviewers will best recall candidates through stories used to prove a point. “Practice telling a brief career history,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to talk about struggle and how you overcame it. Identify your key strengths, and focus your future goals.”
Additionally, more than a dozen Drexel employees were on hand to offer one-on-one resume reviews and career coaching.