Active women leaders to inspire students

By Sade Calin 

Senior vice presidents of Warner Music Group and JPMorgan Chase, along with the human resources director of Johnson & Johnson, are among the successful female graduates who are forming Rider’s new Women’s Leadership Council.

The council is inviting Rider women, current students and alumnae alike, to attend a social networking affair that the group is hosting on Oct. 24 in New York City.

The council, which was established in June, aims to provide great networking opportunities, according to Pamela Mingle, associate director in the University Advancement office.

The lack of women in top leadership roles is not a new phenomenon. That is why Mingle and Anne Carroll, associate dean of undergraduate programs for the College of Business Administration, decided to establish the council.

“Women in leadership still experience a glass ceiling,” Mingle said. “Ninety percent of executive positions are still held by men. At the rate we’re going now, we won’t achieve gender parity until 2050.”

The Oct. 24 networking event will take place at the Museum at Eldridge Street in Manhattan and is open to everyone. Its purpose is to connect young women, Rider students in particular, to real-world examples of women breaking through the glass ceiling. It will feature guest speaker Janice Reals Ellig, co-CEO of Chadick Ellig, Executive Search Advisors. Ellig, a prominent figure in her field, was named one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters” by Business Week.

This event is just one of many that will promote the mission of the council, according to Mingle. Along with Carroll, she observed the lack of active female leadership in the upper echelons of Rider’s college community and the larger society. They asked themselves, “Where are the women?” They have created an answer by developing the council, a group aiming to connect alumnae with current Rider seniors or graduate students who have similar goals and career interests.

The council has enlisted the help of women who are leaders in their respective career fields. These are alumnae who want to be active and engaged in student affairs, mentoring women who are in the same spots they were not too many years ago.

Presently, the council rests on two pillars. First: a mentoring program.

To be a protégée, a current Rider student paired with a mentor, one must fill out an application online. It is an information-gathering tool rather than something strenuous, according to Mingle. The applications are followed by informational interviews used to successfully pair mentees to mentors. It is “not really a competitive process, more like a matching process,” according to Carroll.

The original deadline of Oct. 5 has been extended and interviews will not take place until November, so students are still able to apply.

Currently, the council is focused on gathering more mentors in the tristate (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) area so they can be physically close to the protégeés they are paired with, providing opportunities to make real, personal connections, according to Mingle. As of now, mentors include Kathy Fitzpatrick, director of Human Resources at Johnson & Johnson; Kathleen Madigan, special writer for the Dow Jones Newswire; Maryrose Maness, senior vice president and chief employment and corporate infrastructure counsel for Warner Music Group; Denise Petitta, senior vice president of marketing at JPMorgan Chase, and many other high-ranking, successful Rider alumnae.

The second pillar of the leadership council is event programming — holding events meant to cultivate connections, such as the networking reception with the American Repertory Ballet the council held at the end of September, and this week’s event at the Museum at Eldridge Street.

Carroll stresses that women still fail to be viewed as equals.

“Even internally, when we look at our own advisory boards throughout the university, women are underrepresented,” Carroll said. “We have alumnae doing really amazing things and we are not really reaching out to them.”

More information and the application can be found at: www.rider.edu/rwlc.

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