Students, faculty and alumni came together at the Capital One Tower in McLean, VA on Apr. 24 for Pamplin College of Business’ National Capital Region Annual Women in Business Event. This event featured a networking reception followed by a panel comprised of four successful Pamplin alumnae.  

Moderated by Donna Wertalik, Director of Marketing at Pamplin College of Business, panelists spoke about their own experiences in the workforce and gave their advice for how to best maneuver a career in male-dominated fields on topics such as meeting etiquette, negotiation tips and mentorship. Panelists included Briana Augenreich ‘15, founder of Women Who Code in Richmond and software engineer at Capital One, Jessica Harn ‘03, Business Director at Capital One, Tracy Kenny ‘89, Business Unit Partner in charge of audit at KPMG LLP, and Krystal McCants ‘03, Senior Manager at CST Group. Tracy Castle Newman ‘90, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley made closing remarks.

“I know that I personally learn a lot from participating in panels and listening to panels, hearing other people’s perspectives, so I was hoping that I could share a little bit of my perspective, even though I’m a little bit newer in my career journey, that someone could take away,” said Augenreich. “I know a lot of times I feel like I’m a little bit isolated with something that I’m experiencing or that I’m struggling with. I feel like it’s just me and coming to an event like this, you’re like, ‘Wow. We are collectively experiencing this. I can grow from someone else and learn from them. I can also meet and network with other people.’ It brings a sense of power bringing everyone together in this community.”

Wertalik said she was eager to be involved in this event because she believes women are still fighting for equality in the workforce. “Unless certain things change, we have to keep pushing and pushing and pushing,” said Wertalik. “I think it should be more inclusive and collective, but we still have a lot of space that we really need to move into. That we have not just a seat at the table, but the right seat at the right table and a voice to really change the future. I do believe that we’ve got so many strong women that are on board and so many women that are coming in from the different generational cohorts embracing this and saying that we need to do more. I’d love to expand it further.”

Celia Byrne, Virginia Tech junior majoring in marketing, and a member of the student organization, Collegiate Women in Business, travelled from Blacksburg to attend this event. “I saw this opportunity and I really wanted to take it to get outside of the normal college of business environment and just be able to talk with other leaders in their fields and try to get the most out of it by asking for career advice and how they stumbled upon the positions they’re in now,” said Byrne. “I definitely gained an insight into how difficult it is for women to actually get into their positions, even as many years as they’ve been in that company, and just the challenges we face everyday. How to overcome the gap and the barriers that men and also just leaders and executives put on women and be yourself.”

“I think this is just a great event. It’s very important because I think women do need to help women,” said Lara George, Virginia Tech alumna and co-founder of MCM Capital. “I’ve been in the business field for 28 years and I don’t always find that they do. I think it’s critical because there are still some biases in the workforce and you’ve got to give the courage and the guts to go for it in their careers and not to have a male-dominated world. As some people on the panel said very kindly and clearly, if you bring your diversity to the table, I think companies think smarter and become smarter and actually become more successful. That diversity of thought comes with women and their thought processes and sometimes we’re outnumbered in the workforce and the business table.”

Pamplin College of Business hosts Women in Business Events across the country in cities like New York City (sponsored by Tracy Castle Newman ‘90, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley) and Richmond (sponsored by Union Bank). The Women in Business Leadership Team has already begun planning the next Women in Business Events which will be held in Richmond, VA and New York City.

Pamplin College of Business would like to thank its sponsors for the Women in Business Series in 2017-2018 academic year.

WIB Event sponsors

October 19, 2017 NY metro region: Tracy Castle Newman, Managing Director Morgan Stanley

November 9, 2017 Richmond region: Union Bank

April 24, 2018 National Capital Region:  Capital One and KPMG