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Jindal School Women’s Network Ties Alums Across Industries

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Quarterly breakfast focuses on building career-growth strategies  

Even in the 21st century, this is still true: Women start losing ground on promotions as soon as they enter the workforce.

Naveen Jindal School of Management alumnae are working to change that reality. Now meeting quarterly, women with careers as diverse as financial planning and commercial construction gather to compare professional hurdles and trade Linked In profiles.

According to the 2017 Women in the Workplace report by McKinsey & Co. and the Lean In Foundation, women lose ground with the first round of promotions. In entry-level positions, the ratio of men to women is 52 percent to 48 percent. Just one step up, at the manager level, the percentage of women falls to 37 percent. The report notes “women of all levels are less likely to interact regularly with senior leaders.”

Tina Hoang BS’09, a financial adviser with Northwestern Mutual, offered one of her strategies at the most recent alumnae breakfast – don’t volunteer to help with events all the time, like many women do. “Ask for projects that accelerate your career,” she said. To that end, she said she delegates all her “non-business generating tasks.”

Breakfast setup at Ida Claire in Dallas.

One speaker at the August networking breakfast was Angelica Barriga BS’03 MBA’08, solutions management lead at Google, based in Dallas. She talked about her life’s journey that included helping her immigrant parents as a translator from a very young age. “It taught me that it was OK to ask for help,” Barriga said. One of her fondest memories, based on her professional success, is a personal experience – taking her mother to Florida so her mother could see an ocean for the very first time.

Also still true: Women aren’t as effective at networking as men nor are their networks as robust as their male colleagues.

“Even though women are generally strong collaborators and communicators, they tend to have fewer business-related connections than men do. In addition, (women’s) social connections tend to be divided into personal and work, with less overlap than (men),” says Shama Hyder, in Inc.

Barriga encouraged women to continue to attend the quarterly Jindal School alumnae breakfasts. She said she “values mentorships and offering guidance to others” as a way to give back, remembering how much “other people gave back to me.”

Staying connected to UT Dallas has had significant career impact for alumna Rebecca Noah Poynter BA’86, who, with her husband, started OnPoynt Aerial Solutions. OnPoynt recently won the UT Design Startup Challenge as a “high-potential startup for its drone racing and gaming system.”

“We got the big check” at the competition, Poynter said, noting its total value was $20,000 for a product idea related to drone racing. Poynter was one of the breakfast speakers, and talked about how the University’s entrepreneurship programs had helped OnPoynt grown its business since its inception in 2012.

That assistance has been in everything from a dedicated student capstone team to help developing a new product as well as marketing advice. And, since Poynter is a UT Dallas alum, it’s been free.

Diane McNulty, associate dean of external affairs and development, enjoys breakfast with the alumni at Ida Claire.

Olia Bosovik BS’12 MBA’15, a development director for Jindal School, where she received her undergrad degree in finance as well as her MBA, said women often don’t realize the power they have in their own networks. “We talk about all these great women we know and sometimes, as women, we forget to introduce people to each other.

“Everyone should be eating breakfast,” said Bosovik, who organizes these events. “So this is a way to sneak in a high quality networking opportunity early in the day for great women who might not know each other.”

Anjie Vichayanonda BS’08, an associate with Haynes and Boone in Dallas, was one of the attendees. She mentioned she was sponsoring an upcoming Dinner with 12 and asked if anyone would like to help her. Hoang quickly volunteered. The women had met only casually prior to the breakfast. Now the lawyer and the financial planner will be hosting a dinner for 12 Jindal School undergraduate students. Each of those students is getting ready to step into their own careers. It was a networking moment at its finest.

Jeanne Spreier

Jeanne is a writer and editor who has worked in JSOM's External Affairs for more than seven years. She is also mother of three college-age kids who were born and raised in Dallas, and gets a lot of her Dallas know-how from them. On any given day, she would rather be outside somewhere. She earned her communications degree from the University of Kentucky. Read more articles

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