Women in Business

Ready to Start Your Career? The UD Women in Business Panel Talks About Making the Most Out of Your First Job

Date Published: April 12, 2018

Women in Business Spring 2018Transitioning from full-time student to full-time employee brings a myriad of changes: Final exams are replaced with performance reviews, professors are replaced with supervisors, and “going to work” becomes the new “going to class.”

The Spring 2018 Women in Business Leadership panel at the University of Dallas focused on helping students successfully make the transition from classroom to career.

This semester’s panel included women from both small and large corporations ranging from finance to law to retail.

Together, the panel, moderated by Felicia Johnson, Founder & Managing Director of Gatson Group, LLC, brought over eight decades of leadership experience to the university and countless pieces of advice for students and young professionals.

Read below to discover some of the panelists' advice and check out the 12 Insights From DFW’s Top Female Leaders for more insights from the event.

Mary Manning“Take a presentation skills course.”
Mary Manning, Senior Vice President, SBC/ATT (retired)

As a long-term investment, see where you can take a presentation skills class. From mastering body language, to gaining the confidence to speak up in meetings, these skills will serve you well throughout your career. Effective communication is crucial to a successful workplace and is a way you can differentiate yourself. Whether in class, or through a formal organization, such as Toastmasters, find an opportunity to develop presentation and communication skills.

Atoy Strawder“Bring your genuine self–people are more open to that.”
Atoy Strawder, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, McKesson Financial Center

Typically, people around you can sense when you’re not being your true self. Let your personality shine through–whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, analytical or intuitive, outgoing or reserved–you bring unique skills and contributions to the table. Get to know those around you at work and let people know who you are, too. Building relationships can go a long way in building your career.

Yvonne Freeman“The Golden Rule isn’t just the right thing to do, it may also impact your career.”
- Yvonne Freeman, Vice President Total Rewards - HR, Michael Stores

How you treat others–everyone from the CEO to the receptionist–says a lot about your character. There’s never an excuse to treat others disrespectfully, plus you never know who may have an impact on your career down the road. From the moment you step inside the office for an interview, to the day you leave, you have an opportunity to build your reputation. 

Alesia Coffman Turner“Networking doesn’t have to be formal, but it should be strategic.”
- Alesia Coffman Turner, Senior Vice President, Institutional & Private Client Advisor, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management

Any conversation is a networking opportunity. Even if you’re talking to a friend’s dad, the barista at Starbucks, or your facilities manager, all of those opportunities are ways to get to know people–you never know which connections will lead to opportunities. If you’re looking for a particular job, be strategic in your networking tactics. Use platforms like LinkedIn to find people in particular organizations that you can talk to, or talk to friends and coworkers that can help you get in touch with others.


Want more advice from DFW’s top female leaders? Read about the 12 big revelations from the Women in Business Leadership panel

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