NAWMBA Builds Connections

Published on November 1, 2010

Entering its 2nd Year, Mentorship Program
Proves Valuable for Women MBA Organization

MBA student Brigitte Landry, left, met her new mentor, Lone Star College human resources manager Jessica Peña (EMBA ’07), at the NAWMBA Mentorship Program Kickoff Luncheon.

The University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA) kicked off the second year of its Mentorship Program in October with a celebration of an initiative that has nearly tripled in the past year.

With 59 pairs of mentors and mentees, compared to 22 last year, the success of the NAWMBA Mentorship Program is exciting, said Aimee Langlinais, president of the chapter and a second-year MBA student at UH Bauer.

“There’s an energy in this room,” Langlinais said at an Oct. 15 luncheon held at Maggiano’s Little Italy in the Galleria area to launch the program. “The mentor/mentee relationship is a beautiful thing. Every new person you meet can teach you something about yourself, and it puts the ball in your court to change, grow and show continuous personal improvement.”

Presented by Strategic Financial Group, the luncheon served as a meet-and-greet of sorts, where many mentor/mentee pairs met in person for the first time. The list of mentors includes c-suite executives and industry professionals, mostly in Houston, while the mentees are MBA students at UH Bauer.

“I’m eager to sit down with my protégée, talk more about her background and what her goals are, and see how I can help her,” said Anne McCloskey (MBA ’86), who also participated in the first year of the Mentorship Program.

McCloskey, who works in banking and finance, said mentorship is an enriching experience, both personally and professionally. “It’s a great opportunity for these young women,” she added. “I didn’t have anything like this when I was finishing school, and I had to feel my own way around. Now, they can get a head start on all of that. I can show her how to network, what to do when you’re actually in a company, how to connect with other women in your field and encourage each other.”

NAWMBA works with UH Bauer Director of Alumni Development John O’Dell (’70) and Marie Guillot (’97), CEO and managing director of ABACO International, Global Executive Search, to identify potential mentors and pair them with students with similar interests.

“The people I asked to be mentors gave me a quick and enthusiastic ‘yes,’” Guillot said. “Our roster of mentors includes some of the most amazing executives in Houston, and the students are incredible people — I’d be proud to have any of them in my organization.”

The growth of the NAWMBA Mentorship Program is indicative of an increasing rise in women in leadership positions, said Brigitte Landry, a second-year full-time MBA student who met her mentor, Lone Star College human resources manager Jessica Peña (EMBA ’07), at the luncheon.

“Women are becoming more and more powerful within the community and the organizations they work in,” Landry said. “Being part of NAWMBA and the Mentorship Program is a chance for us to network and establish those connections that will further us in our careers.”

In addition to growing its Mentorship Program, NAWMBA has had a banner year, most recently with a team of four members, including Langlinais, Stacey Brown, Kate Turner and Alina Tkachova, earning first place in a national case study competition, beating out NAWMBA chapters from across the country (click here to read more).

Members of NAWMBA’s board met with leadership from Strategic Financial Group, including President J.K. McAndrews, fifth from right, and recruiting director Susan Tasson, center, during the luncheon. Strategic Financial Group is partnering with NAWMBA for several of their initiatives, including the Mentorship Program.

By Jessica Navarro