Women In Business Leadership
Integrating Work and Family
Date published: May 9, 2019
On April 3, the Spring 2019 Women in Business Leadership Panel and Networking Event
featured Dallas/Fort Worth’s top female leaders and executives. Leaders in their fields
joined University of Dallas students, faculty and alumni for lunch and discussion.
They shared insights and tips for living both halves of their lives: the work-life
In October 2017, the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College of Business hosted the University
of Dallas’ first Women in Business Leadership panel. Gupta College of Business Dean
Brett J.L. Landry, Ph.D., reminded those participating in last month's fourth Women in Business Leadership discussion that the Satish & Yasmin Gupta College
of Business is one of the few business schools in the country whose name honors a
female business leader. With this designation, it just seemed natural to create this
leadership panel and discussion featuring women.
The panel consisted of experts on the process of integrating work and life. Mary Emma
(Ackels) Karam, Abby Knowles, Kathy Muldoon and Jennifer Proctor, BA '87, sat on the
panel to discuss the process of integrating their home and professional lives. Karam
began the discussion by saying that “we can’t have separate lives”; all elements of
life must be integrated.
Even after working professionally for over two decades, Knowles admitted she still
doesn’t have it mastered. She confessed that a lot of the time she spends off-balance
and suggests that you “just have to be good where you are.”
Muldoon stressed that you must be flexible. She said you can “set a course, but life
happens … you must flex.” She continued, “You have instincts; trust them.”
The theme and tone for the event was consistent: Have a plan, but be flexible and have fun. Each panelist contributed insightful wisdom.
Mary Emma (Ackels) Karam is a preeminent Dallas health care contracting attorney, sought-after outside general
counsel, and recognized authority in managed care. As the first woman associate to
become a partner at Jackson Walker and a mother of six, Karam knows what it takes
to break through barriers while emphasizing collaboration and communication. Her dedication
to building meaningful relationships is further evidenced by her success as a mentor
and rainmaker and is why she was chosen as chair of Jackson Walker’s Statewide Business
Development and Marketing Committee.
Abby Knowles is vice president of Network Assurance for Verizon Wireless, in which role she leads
the team responsible for maintaining Verizon’s award-winning network in the western
half of the U.S. Knowles has 20 years of network communications experience with Verizon
and has held various roles as an engineer and a leader overseeing engineering, program
management, operations and business analysis. A native of Kingston, Jamaica, she currently
resides in Dallas/Fort Worth with her husband and two daughters. She loves being involved
in her community, sports, reading and traveling.
Kathy Muldoon is a nationally recognized CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, with skill in
transition planning due to the sale of a business or major life events. Her customized
solutions reflect deep experience in legacy planning and wealth management strategies
for ultra-high net worth individuals, their businesses and their families. Muldoon
takes special interest in guiding recently widowed clients, based on her own experience
as a young widow with children. She has been a senior partner with Carter Financial
Management for over 30 years.
Jennifer Proctor, a UD alumna, is managing director of flight service customer delivery at American
Airlines, supporting 27,000 flight attendants with policies, procedures, technology,
reporting, and communications and engagement. She joined American in 1990 and has
held positions of increasing responsibility in several departments. A native of Fort
Worth, she now lives in Grapevine with her husband. They are learning to enjoy life
as “empty nesters,” with their two sons in college in Michigan and Louisiana. She
enjoys traveling and volunteering at her church.
Want to learn more? Read Transitioning From the Classroom to the Workforce: 12 Insights From DFW's Top Female