November 21, 2013

Conference Celebrates and Supports Women in Business

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Making work/life trade-offs according to personal beliefs is crucial for success, said Ann Glover, chief marketing officer of ING US, during her keynote speech at the 21st Annual Columbia Women in Business Conference. The event was held November 15 at the University Club of New York.

“Balance is not a part of my vocabulary,” said Glover, who formerly led the Pepsi-Cola Company in a number of key marketing roles. “Often, work wins. Sometimes my kids win. Sometimes my aging parents or my husband wins. The key is making trade-offs consciously and accepting the consequences.”

Glover, who started her career as a 10th grade biology teacher before going to business school, also encouraged the MBA students in the audience not to be afraid to change their paths — even when things are going well. “The best time to consider a change is when you’re at the top of your game,” she said. “The ability to change direction and articulate why can serve you very well at work.”

The keynote presentation was a highlight in a conference filled with numerous women speakers and panelists who have become business leaders in their fields. Panel topics ranged from mentoring and securing funding for entrepreneurial endeavors to the presence of women in top management and board positions, each based on the theme of the conference, “Create Your Own Rules: Building Your Path to Success.” Karis Durmer ’10, CEO of designer clothing brand Altuzarra, was recognized with the Distinguished Alumnae Award. Debora Spar, president of Barnard College and author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection (Sarah Crichton Books, 2013), addressed the conference attendees during a second keynote address in the afternoon.

The event also saw the annual presentation of the Alcoa Scholarship, created in memory of Deirdre Collins ’09, a former member of CWIB, the Management Consulting Association, and the Social Enterprise Club. The scholarship is given to a second-year MBA student who shares Collins’s passion for education and extracurricular activities. This year’s recipient was Jennifer McCaleb, an MBA candidate for 2014 and CWIB president.

CWIB provides Columbia Business School women with resources and contacts to assist them in their academic, professional, and personal development. In addition to the annual conference, the organization offers community service, mentoring, and professional development opportunities.