In May, 20 undergraduate students in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University traveled to New York City for the Whitman Women in NYC career exploration trip. This experiential learning opportunity allowed students to learn about careers in financial services as well as connect with accomplished female Whitman alumni.
The trip began with a visit to Goldman Sachs hosted by Deborah Leone ’86, ’87 MBA, a Syracuse University Trustee and member of Whitman’s Advisory Council. Leone is advisory director of the firm and a member of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. Hillary Tucker, grad year associate on the Global Consultants team within the Consumer and Investment Management Division, and Lauren Goldberg from the campus recruiting team also were on hand. The site visit to Goldman Sachs was followed by an alumni panel, networking luncheon and small-group coffee chats matching students with Whitman alumnae for continued conversation and career insights.
The theme of the panel was Closing the Gap: Empowerment, Mentorship, and Persistence. The panelists were Nancy Girondo ’98, ’16 MBA, senior product management at Invesco; Molly Fisher ’08, ’12 M.S., chief of staff to the CFO at Dig Inn; Laura Cawley ’12, leveraged finance associate at J.P. Morgan; Chelsea Ransom-Cooper ’15, associate wealth advisor at BakerAvenue Wealth Management; and Dana D’Ambrosio Bartley ’09 MBA, head of national accounts at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.
The panelists discussed their backgrounds in the industry, from graduating from Syracuse to where they are presently in their careers. Additionally, they covered an array of topics related to navigating the underrepresentation of women in the global financial system.
One of these topics was “Silencing Self-doubt: How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter syndrome is the internal suspicion that one’s success comes from luck, timing or even accident, and can be inherent for women in the workplace, as presented at the National Diversity Council’s Women in Leadership Symposium 2019.
Despite the efforts of high achieving women, those who suffer from imposter syndrome have a nagging feeling that they may be “found out” as a fraud or detected by colleagues that they do not belong. The panelists discussed how women can identify and silence this voice.
Another panel, “Leveraging Intersectionality in the Workplace,” discussed intersectionality, originally coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia Law School, and a leading authority in the areas of civil rights, Black feminist legal theory, and race, racism, and the law. Intersectionality touches on the fact that identities are not defined by a singular part of our background.
While there is a connection between women, it is important to recognize how race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, class, education and experience all help to mold unique perspectives, and this must be accounted for in the pursuit for achieving equality for all women. With that in mind, the panelists opened with the question, “How can we ensure we are fighting for every woman and how can we use our intersecting identities to support one another in various ways?”
Lastly, the panelists covered the importance of mentorship with the topic “Gaining Mentors.” Most of the time, one cannot reach his/her goals without some help, and for women, especially those of color, it can be difficult to gain such assistance in the form of a mentor, according to the panelists.
For women who have been able to obtain powerful positions, it is crucial to become accessible as mentors to both women and men in order to showcase women as leaders and continue to bring more women into the corporate realm. The panelists then discussed how women can find the right mentors.
With this exploration trip, many female students from Syracuse were able to begin making connections with mentors during the small-group session like Bettina Papageorge ’21, and Daniela Lisa ’17, financial analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“I connected with Daniela, because we had similar interests at Syracuse,” said Papgeorge. “I am extremely grateful for her willingness to help me with my career and provide professional advice. I still keep in contact with her and some of the other alumni I met on this trip.”
Papageorge also noted that, “Seeing how many successful women there were in the finance field, specifically Syracuse alumni, gave me confidence in my own career path, wherever it may take me.”
With the mission of educating, inspiring and encouraging students to reflect on their own goals as they strive to mold their career journey, this immersive trip gave female students powerful insights in navigating the field of finance and the corporate world. Students were able to take this and build upon their networks as they continue their studies at Syracuse.