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Carroll School of Management Graduate Programs

GWIB & CWBC Spring Panel

Graduate Women in Business

By Cortney Cino, MBA '14

On March 25, 2014, the Graduate Women in Business (GWIB) organization held its annual capstone event, the Spring Panel. GWIB is an organization led by MBA students from the Carroll Graduate School of Management (CGSOM). I am fortunate to be one of the co-directors for the 2013-2014 academic year. My fellow co-directors include Kimberlee Bachman, Rachael Kleinman, and Kathryn Smith.

GWIB exists to provide women in the MBA program an opportunity to network with and learn from successful women from the Boston College community and beyond. We organize a variety of social and professional events throughout the year, many of which are open to the broader Boston College community. The 2014 Spring Panel, co-sponsored by the Council for Women of Boston College (CWBC), was one such event. The panel, held in the Murray Function Room at the Yawkey Center, drew a crowd of 150 guests representing undergraduates, graduate students, professors and staff, and alumni. The diverse audience, panelists, moderator, and event theme all contributed to making the 2014 Spring Panel a tremendous success.

The theme for the event was “The Value of Negotiation and Influence Throughout Your Career,” a topic relevant for both men and women of all ages in the workforce. Five dynamic panelists representing several industries shared their stories and best practices for applying negotiation techniques and influence. Panelists included (visit the 2014 Spring Panel Facebook page for panelists’ bios):

·         Mary Halpin, Vice President, Human Resources at Fidelity

·         Kathryn M. Hinderhofer, Retired Exec. Vice President at National Bank Holdings; Consultant, Bank Integrations at NBH

·         Sandra L. Jesse, Chief Legal Officer at Haemonetics

·         Jennifer Lum, Cofounder at Adelphic Mobile

·         Michelle Micone Paolino, Vice President, Global Brand Marketing & Strategy at Hasbro, Inc.

Associate Professor Dr. Judith Clair from the Carroll School’s Management and Organization Department moderated the panel.

We kicked off the event with refreshments and passed hors d'oeuvres. As the panelists arrived, they finally had a chance to meet one another and the many individuals who helped to make the event possible including GWIB leadership, CWBC members, and CGSOM staff and faculty. The GWIB co-directors and MaryLee Halpin from the CWBC provided opening remarks, which were followed by a one-hour moderated panel discussion covering a wide range of topics including, among others:

·         Please share what you believe to be the difference between negotiation and influence.

·         Let’s focus on someone who’s had an important influence on you. Who has been most influential for you and why?

·         Personal presence – sometimes called the “it” factor -- plays a role in one’s ability to influence others. What advice can you offer us about the do’s and don’ts about developing our own personal presence.

·         A hot topic recently concerning women and leadership is the “lean in” concept, coined by Sheryl Sandberg.  Do you have some advice from your own experience about  “leaning in” and the role it’s played in your own move into leadership? 

Members of the audience tweeted (@BCGWIB) and took notes throughout the event. Some of the key advice offered by the panelists included:

·         Negotiation involves more hard skills and is data-driven. Influence is the soft skills…what we read about as emotional intelligence.

·         Don't underestimate the power of relationships. How? Ask others to lunch and coffee, ask about their job…set up one on one meetings.

·         In the startup environment, the key is to be able to negotiate in real time. You need confidence and you need to understand how your request aligns with other party.

·         Everyone needs their own ‘board of directors.’ These are the people who you solicit advice from for all aspects of your life. Each one plays a distinctly unique role.

·         Be prepared when you negotiate. Define your “non-negotiables” – the things you must have to accept a job offer or move to a new position. Ensure you present them in a way that shows an understanding of what is in it for the other person if they grant such concessions.

·         Your personal presence and brand is so important. Pick three traits you hope to exude and consciously work to demonstrate them on a regular basis.

The moderated panel discussion was followed by a question and answer session with the audience. Guests had the opportunity to ask the panelists questions that aligned with their career ambitions or addressed current career challenges. The evening concluded with lively networking and dessert.

If you were able to attend the event, thank you. We hope you had a terrific time and that you were able to walk away with one or two additional nuggets of wisdom from our panelists. Also, thank you to those who helped make the event a success – our panelists, Judith Clair, Diane Carey, Jennifer Sacks, MaryLee Halpin, MaryEllen Jordan, Marilyn Eckelman, and Karen Rubin.

If you’re interested in learning more about GWIB or attending future spring panels, please contact We look forward to seeing everyone next year!





Cortney is a second year MBA student with a specialization in Product and Brand Management. She currently serves as a GWIB co-director as well as a Second Year Consultant (2YC). She interned at Staples this summer in Category Marketing. After several years in management consulting, Cortney is looking forward to transitioning to a career in marketing. She will be moving to San Francisco upon graduation. Cortney is sad to part with Boston, but ready to leave the cold weather behind!