Leading Ladies: JMU alumnae offer words of wisdom


by Mary McGhan

 

SUMMARY: Campus was buzzing Saturday as women leaders and students converged at the third annual Women in Leadership Conference. JMU alumnae shared with current students what it means to be a leader at every level and offered career advice and tips. Check out what our speakers have to say!



Campus was buzzing Saturday as women leaders and students converged at the third annual Women in Leadership Conference. JMU alumnae shared with current students what it means to be a leader at every level and offered career advice and tips. We caught up with a few of the speakers – here’s what they had to say.

Susan Bonvouloir ('83), Senior Executive Leader of Human Resources at SourceAmerica

susie

What’s one piece of advice you would give women in the workforce?

Think like a man, act like a woman. Don’t change your style; you don’t have to be a man. Sometimes it is helpful to think like they would think.

What is one thing you learned at JMU that you have taken in your career?

The thing I loved about JMU and love about hiring JMU grads is there is not a lot of ego and attitude. It is just good smart people doing good smart work…You learn to roll up your sleeves and do good work … JMU lays the foundation really well so that it is easy to do that when you get in the workforce.

How have you continued to stay involved with JMU?

I have stayed very involved. First starting out my career, I begged my company to recruit from JMU. I was always raising my hand for the interviews and all that stuff, which led to me being on the Executive Advisory Committee for the CIS department. In October, I joined the College of Business Board of Advisors. It is an amazing group of people and a great way to serve and stay connected and do great things. It is such an exciting time at JMU.

It feels like the alumni are getting more and more engaged each year … helping graduates find their way and get connected to companies and build their network. It is a powerful thing.

AllisonAllison Browne Weiss ('98), Professional Journalist, Line Producer for Bloomberg TV

What’s one piece of advice you would give women in the workforce?

It is about the personal connections and about meeting people and having them remember you… A lot of times, as we go through our careers, it is not as simple as sending resumes and hoping someone gets back to you. It is about having touchstones in different parts in your careers, and meeting people.

It is important to have a network of professionals to touch base with every once in awhile, even if that doesn’t lead to an immediate job … it does pay off.

What is one thing you learned at JMU that you have taken in your career?

Tenacity. I learned about a quiet determination. The ability to step outside of your comfort zone and try to take risks. By emailing people and calling people - even cold calling, to try to form a relationship. Sticking with that is really important.

How have you continued to stay involved with JMU?

I do a double take a lot when I meet people, especially in New York, that are from JMU. It is always nice to see people doing well especially in my city in different industries. So I really appreciate that connection. I always appreciate meeting other alumni when I can, and also helping students polish their resumes and figure out how to approach a job position that they might want.

I like strategizing a lot with current students that are just getting out there. I also have touchstones within the alumni association, and when those people are in New York, we will meet for coffee or lunch.

Kelly Spraker ('99), Manager of Communications and External Affairs for Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones

Kelly

What’s one piece of advice you would give women in the workforce?

 Take a leap of faith. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anybody you know that will be able to help you out. Be bold. 

What is one thing you learned at JMU that you have taken in your career?

Teamwork is the best takeaway I learned from JMU. How important it is in the workforce to work as a team, across many different industries.

How have you continued to stay involved with JMU?

I am more involved from a work perspective. I worked with the Dean of the College of Business on some initiatives in the Governor’s Office. Through this I have gotten reconnected, and that has been nice. I hope to become more connected on a personal level going forward as well.

For more opportunities to stay connected to JMU go to alumni.jmu.edu.

 

Published: Monday, February 29, 2016

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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