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Women In Business Leadership: Integrating Work and Family

Women In Business Leadership

Integrating Work and Family

Women in Business


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 integration.

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 Business Leaders.

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