Smeal Executive MBA leadership forum unites women for professional development

More than 50 women recently gathered at the ACE Conference Center near Philadelphia to discuss leadership growth and innovation in their careers as part of the Women’s Leadership Forum presented by the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program.

“The Women’s Leadership Forum provides area businesswomen with a platform to talk about the issues facing them in the business world today, a chance to step back from their busy professional lives and take a day for themselves to learn new ways to approach those issues,” said Gwen Cohen, associate director of the Smeal Executive Master of Business Administration Program.

According to Cohen, the forum also raises awareness for the program in the Philadelphia region and provides a diverse group of women with a valuable networking opportunity and day of professional development.

The Nov. 13 event included faculty-led workshop sessions and featured speakers Yashima White AziLove and Peter Steinberg. Azilove is president of YWA Enterprises; Steinberg is a the head coach of the USA Women’s Rugby Team and a faculty member affiliated with Penn State Executive Programs.

The agenda closed with a panel discussion focused on the day’s theme, personal and professional transitions. The panel included Barbara Bridendolph, CEO of Crenshaw Associates; Ariel Charles, supplier performance specialist at AgustaWestland; and Karla Trotman, entrepreneur and owner of; and was moderated by renowned management psychologist Karissa Thacker.

“The forum is a really good opportunity for businesswomen to network in an informal setting and to think creatively about where you are and where you want to be in your career,” said Theresa Zechman Johnson, an EMBA alumna who graduated from the program earlier this year.

About the Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program
The Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Program provides working professionals with the learning, connections, resources and experiences to accelerate their careers. The 21-month program features personalized executive coaching, intensive communication training, a weeklong international residency experience and coursework focused on the unique challenges of the students’ firms. Classes are held on alternating weekends at the ACE Conference Center in suburban Philadelphia. Learn more at

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Last Updated November 21, 2013