An interview with this year’s CWIB president, Jamie Schermerhorn

To kick off this year’s blogging, I asked our 2011-2012 CWIB president to share some of her thoughts about the club, its plans for the year and more.

Jamie Schermerhorn

CWIB President, Jamie Schermerhorn

Why is CWIB important to you?

In my career prior to business school I had very few female colleagues, and even fewer female leaders. Over time I realized that being successful in business requires more than just putting your head down and working hard; it requires actively managing your career. To do this well, I believe you need great relationships. You need trusted peers to bounce ideas off of, and you need mentors to help coach you. These peers and mentors can be both men and women, but I think at least some need to be women because of the unique choices and challenges that we face. Helping women develop these relationships is incredibly important to me, and that’s exactly what CWIB does.

(A side note: last year Catalyst published some research that shows even mentorship isn’t enough, but rather sponsorship is necessary.)

What are you excited about for the club this year?

There are quite a few things that I’m really excited about this year. We have some fantastic corporate partners, both new and old, which makes me optimistic that more and more companies realize the value of supporting talented women. In addition to our professional development line-up, we are also hosting more informal events such as happy hours and community service events, which is key to building a strong network. Most of all, I am incredibly excited that we’re moving the 19th Annual CWIB Conference (February 24, 2012) off-campus. Stay tuned for details!

Who are some of your businesswomen role models?

No one seems more relevant than Sheryl Sandberg. Not only is she a brilliant executive who gave Facebook a legitimate business model, but she also does a great job of articulating why organizations like CWIB continue to be important for women. I agree with her theory that the number of women leaders has stagnated because women take themselves out of the workforce. Her messages, such as “sit at the table” and “don’t leave before you leave,” really resonate with me and are lessons I hope to carry with me in my career after business school.  (If you’re interested, here’s a clip of her discussing her philosophy.)

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About cwib blog

Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is an organization that strives to provide Columbia Business School women with resources and contacts to assist them in their academic, professional, and personal development. CWIB is committed to working with faculty, administrators, alumni and the greater business community to promote the role of and opportunities for women in business.
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