Women of Smeal Initiative encourages women in leadership

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- A new initiative in the Penn State Smeal College of Business aims to extend college-wide awareness of events and activities and create new opportunities that promote and develop women as leaders.

The Women of Smeal Initiative, led by Jennifer Eury, director of alumni relations, will encompass opportunities for women throughout the college, from students to faculty and staff as well as alumni.

“What I kept hearing was that alumni and students both felt a need to find other women as mentors to talk about their own unique professional issues,” Eury said. “Smeal already offers women so many ways that they can come together, but this initiative really helps to promote these initiatives and create new opportunities for collaboration and partnership among existing groups.”

“Smeal already offers women so many ways that they can come together, but this initiative really helps to promote these initiatives and create new opportunities for collaboration and partnership among existing groups.”

-- Jennifer Eury, chair, Women of Smeal Initiative

Beginning earlier this fall, a small group of students, faculty and staff piloted an effort to create discussion groups around the book "Lean In," by Sheryl Sandberg. In the spring this effort will be developed further, and peer groups will begin to form “Lean In Circles," small peer groups that meet regularly to learn from and share with each other.

Carrie Marcinkevage, managing director of the Penn State Smeal MBA Program and leader of the “Lean In Circle” effort, hopes that these small groups will provide forums for discussion and encouraging women’s leadership through networking and mentoring.

“We hope that the Lean In Circles will provide a way for women and men in Smeal to share experiences, connections and support for women who want to ‘sit at the table’ – from the classroom to the boardroom,” Marcinkevage said.

Some existing groups that will benefit from the support of Women of Smeal include the National Association of Women MBAs (WMBA), the Multicultural Women’s Forum (MWF) and the Women in Business (WIB).

The Women of Smeal Initiative is being led by a steering group that includes Eury as chair, Marcinkevage, Assistant Director for Corporate Outreach Meg Brower, Assistant Dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs Jamie Campbell, Human Resources Manager Rebecca Cianci, Penn State Smeal Executive MBA Associate Director Gwen Cohen, Director of Career and Corporate Connections Meg Handley and supply chain instructor Sue Purdum. Representatives from WMBA, MWF and WIB will also participate in the steering group. For more information, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/diversity/women-of-smeal-initiative.

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Last Updated December 17, 2013