The Kean University Alumni Association hosted the panel and networking event When Women Lead on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in the North Avenue Academic Building (NAAB).
For a few hours, attendees were able to hear advice from women in leading positions, many of which graduated from Kean University.
The women on the When Women Lead panel included: Assemblywoman of the 20th legislative district Annette Quijano; Associate Research Fellow at Burt's Bees and alumna Abena Antwi; Panelist Regional Public Affairs Manager at PSE and G Sheridan Balmeo; alumna and General Manager of the Business Analysis and Departmental Performance at Port Authority Maria Bordas; alumna, host of "Broken Silence," and Adjunct Professor of communication at Kean Sanyya Gardez; and Regional Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross New Jersey Region Ana Montero.
The moderator of the panel was alumna Lora Condon, who is also an author, consumer advocate, founder of New Jersey Beauty & Wellness Professionals, and the owner of Jersey Boutique Spa.
The night started with the keynote speaker, Judy Spires -- president and CEO of KB US Holdings -- giving a wonderful speech of how she took one step up the ladder to the position she holds today.
"Don't say no to a job position because you don't think you have the skills," Spires says as she explains how she became president of KB US Holdings.
She mentioned that a position opened up to her that she did not have qualifications for. She told her then-supervisor that she did not have the skills, but her supervisor insisted that she take the position because of her other qualities. She told the audience that just because one may not have qualities in one area does not mean they can not do the job.
After Spires spoke, the panel began with Condon being the moderator. She asked a series of questions to the panelist before opening the floor to the audience. One of the questions was about success. Antwi answered this question with a life story.
Antwi grew up in a small town in Ghana with her mother and three sisters. They did not have much money, and whenever they wanted to take a shower, it was a five-mile hike. At the age of 15, Anwi moved to the U.S., eventually becoming a Kean University student.
While a student at Kean, she worked three jobs before becoming an intern at L'Oreal, eventually working her way to get a position at Burt's Bees "all because it was what I wanted to do to succeed. Success is what you want yourself to do," Antwi said.
The audience was able to take away some key points from that night's panel. For example, Gardez told the audience that although women have come a long way from being unable to own property or being able to vote, women still have a long way to go.
"We are just getting started," she says to a room filled with women, "but we haven't broken the glass yet."
Bordas said to the audience, "educate yourself. That's the number-one ticket to success. Also, listen and ask questions because when you're doing that, you are intriguing the other person."
In all, the When Women Lead panel and networking taught attendees to be who they are and to not let others distract them from their goals. Attendees were also taught that men are not the only ones who can be the CEO of a company. Women can do and be anything they set their minds too.