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Pamela Hemann, executive director of the Foundation for Leadership California, left, with a Mount student at the February The Vantage Point event. The event brought female executives to the College for a discussion on women in business.

Undergraduate Business Students Meet Top Female Executives

Feb. 15, 2012 -- Three leading women executives offered advice to undergraduate business students on Feb. 14 during the College’s ongoing The Vantage Point speaker series sponsored by the Business Administration Department and the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society.

Panelists were: Felicia Bannon, executive director of community and local government relations at UCLA; Gina Barro, vice president, strategic relations, at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation; and Pamela Hemann, executive director of the Foundation for Leadership California. The women offered career advice to female business students in the Campus Center on the Chalon Campus in Brentwood.

Panelists discussed how men in leadership positions tend to be more vocal about their accomplishments than women – a difference that can leave women lagging behind their male colleagues. “There was a lot of ‘we’ in what the men did, but there was also a lot of ‘I,’” Barro said of her male colleagues at a previous job with Toyota. She also encouraged students to make connections and stay active in alumnae networks.

Said Bannon, “My biggest failure is the lack of tooting my own horn. For us women, working hard is just a given." And stay positive, she said. "Surround yourself with people who think and talk like you. Criticisms are everywhere. You have to learn to turn it off.”

Some students asked about personal sacrifices women may make on their way up the corporate ladder. “I’ve seen women struggling to make choices in balancing work and family," said Hemann. "Young women make a decision, and then they feel guilty. The struggle is not in the decision, it’s in believing in your decision. Let go of the guilt. Live with your decisions.”

The Business Administration Department started The Vantage Point speaker series in 2006 to showcase speakers from the business world and bring real-world expertise to students. The Mount, a College primarily for women, continues the discussion on helping women reach their full leadership potential when it presents the groundbreaking The Report on the Status of Women and Girls in California on March 29. Read more about the report.

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