CWIB Newsletter – Winter 2007/2008

Editors: Janice Schrettner ’08 & Nehal Kenia ’09

About CWIB  |  Sponsors    

A Message from CWIB’s President

Jennifer Camac ’08

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the fall 2007 edition of the Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) newsletter. It has been a terrific semester for CWIB and we are excited to bring you a newly redesigned newsletter to help you stay connected with students and alumnae.

We began the semester by welcoming the class of 2009 during CWIB’s first off-campus kickoff event, held at the Theory store in the meatpacking district. Janine Shelffo ’95, managing director of global communications & media at Lehman Brothers, spoke about her career and experiences at business school, and offered valuable advice to current students. Part of the proceeds from the event went to Dress for Success, which provides interview suits and career development for low-income women.

One of our primary goals is to ensure that Columbia Business School is the number one school for companies seeking to recruit women MBAs. The fall semester was packed with opportunities for students to network with companies operating in a wide variety of industries. CWIB welcomed women executives from more than 45 companies to participate in panel discussions, workshops and industry specific receptions. It was especially exciting to see many alumnae returning to Columbia to share their experiences and reconnect with the CWIB community.

As many of you know, the annual CWIB flagship event is rapidly approaching. February 22, 2008 marks the 15th Anniversary of the CWIB Conference. We are thrilled to welcome keynote speaker Andrea Jung, chairman & chief executive officer of Avon Products. The CWIB Conference Committee, comprised of 41 dedicated students, has lined up an outstanding agenda of panels and workshops on numerous topics affecting women in business. Columbia Business School students will actively participate on panels by, for the first time, moderating the panel discussions. We look forward to seeing many of you at the conference and hope you will share your successes with us.

This year CWIB created a new board position to expand our reach by strengthening the bond between MBA and Executive MBA women. Gillian Core '08, a current EMBA student, was appointed VP of Executive MBA. Gillian began the EMBA Women in Business group last year, with the goals of creating a vibrant community for personal and professional growth, serving as a catalyst for the advancement of women in business, and increasing the matriculation of women into the EMBA program. Gillian has been instrumental in promoting the role and benefits of CWIB to executive MBA students, and the number of EMBA students joining CWIB has increased significantly.

We look forward to welcoming the incoming J-term class, and to spring semester events ranging from mentoring lunches and peer-to-peer mixers to hosting alumnae back on campus. Whether you are a student or alumna, we welcome your participation in CWIB. Please let us know if you have any new ideas for CWIB, or would like to organize an event or contribute to our newsletter.

We hope you enjoy reading the fall newsletter and encourage you to visit our website at to learn about upcoming events, or to email us directly for more information. Thank you for being part of our network and for helping us to shape the role of women in business. All the best for 2008!


Jennifer R. Camac
Columbia Business School, Class of 2008
President, Columbia Women In Business


CWIB Kicks Off the Year in Style
by Crystal Heydari ’08

CWIB Members at the Kickoff Event

While CWIB’s fall kickoff is an annual event, this year there was a slight twist. The event, sponsored by Lehman Brothers, was held downtown at the Theory flagship store in the Meatpacking District. Not only was this a good opportunity for the returning class to meet the incoming class, but the second-year students were able to catch up on their exciting summer internships and traveling adventures, while the first-year students were able to take a break from their intense schedule. Nearly 200 women shopped to update their wardrobe with Theory’s fall collection while also giving back to the community - Theory generously donated 10% of all proceeds to Dress for Success.

The highlight of the evening was when Anita Darby spoke on behalf of Dress for Success. Many, myself included, had to fight back tears as we listened to her story of overcoming struggles and rising to success. Her first interaction with Dress for Success was as a client looking for suits to wear to interviews, but now she is working for the organization and helping others follow in her footsteps.

All in all, everyone had a great time networking, shopping, and enjoying wine. It was a great way to kickoff the semester and welcome the class of 2009!


Defining Success - 2008 CWIB Conference
Success… Your Way. Share your vision, Find your voice.

by Jenny Ahn ’08 and Kristie Wauthier ’08

2007 CWIB President, VPs, and AVPs with Martha
Stewart, 2007 Conference Keynote Speaker

Save the Date: The 15th Annual CWIB Conference will be on Friday, February 22, 2008 in Lerner Hall, Columbia University.

Since the initial brainstorm sessions this summer to the countless hours over the last three months, planning for an amazing 2008 Conference is well underway!

We are excited to announce the theme for this year’s conference “Success… Your Way. Share your vision, Find your voice.” Our theme focuses on the individual woman’s journey to success, uniquely defined by her. Women today are reassessing what it means to be successful in terms of professional growth, personal fulfillment, and how to find the proper balance between the two. This year’s conference aims to bring together an eclectic mix of accomplished female professionals and students to speak to the evolution of how success is defined in today’s business landscape.

We are thrilled to welcome Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products, Inc. as our Keynote Speaker. We believe that Ms. Jung is a true inspiration for business women at all stages of our professional careers. Ms. Jung’s exceptional journey as a marketer, retailer, and industry leader fully exemplifies the distinctive vision of success referenced in the theme of this year’s conference. As many of us strive to find our passion in both our personal and professional lives, we are eager to hear how Ms. Jung has navigated her path while remaining true to self and her unique point of view.

We are also honored to recognize Melissa Marr ’02, president of The Healing Project, as the recipient of the 12th Annual Distinguished Alumna Award. After nearly 12 years in the entertainment industry, Ms. Marr transitioned to lead The Healing Project, a nonprofit that provides support to individuals dealing with life-threatening and chronic diseases. We are excited to hear Ms. Marr’s perspective on the evolution of success, especially as it relates to her recent career transition.

Our dedicated student Conference Committee has done an amazing job in planning 15 dynamic panels and workshops, ranging from specific early-career topics including “Taking the Reigns: Tips for New Managers” to mid-career topics such as “Ascent to the Top.” We will also bring you focused discussions such as “Power Couples,” three husband and wife pairs who bear the challenge of balancing dual-careers. In addition to panel discussions, you may also take part in interactive workshops on “Managing Your Personal Finances”, “Personal Leadership”, and “Finding Your Sweet Spot”. More information on panels and workshops may be found by visiting our website at

Our one-day conference will culminate in a grand Networking and Cocktail Reception that will feature hors d’oeuvres and our traditional CWIB cocktail! Join us immediately after the conference to network with new contacts and connect with old friends. You will not want to miss the annual CWIB slideshow and live music.

A special thank you to our generous conference sponsors who make our conference possible. We are pleased to announce that Deutsche Bank will return as our Executive Level sponsor, and we welcome State Farm as a new Executive Level sponsor! We wish to thank all our corporate sponsors and gift bag donors whose support is essential to ensure we continue in the tradition of great CWIB Conferences.

As always, capacity will be limited to 650, so please register early to ensure your ticket. Online registration is scheduled to open on January 24, 2008 at You can also view the highlights video and photos from the 2007 Conference on our website.

If you have any questions about the 2008 CWIB Conference, or would like to be a corporate sponsor or contribute to the Gift Bags, please contact Jenny Ahn ( or Kristie Wauthier (, the 2008 CWIB Conference Co-Chairs.

Executive Circle Sponsors:



EMBA Women in Business Connect with CWIB
by Gillian Core ’08, VP EMBA

Gillian Core ’08

Better than peanut butter and chocolate, EMBAs and full time MBA women realized this year that CWIB just wasn’t complete without the two groups working together. EMBAs recognized the vast networking and recruiting opportunities with the full-time women, while the MBAs wanted to interface with women with more seasoned work experience. Thus far, the union has better connected the women in both groups as fruitful relationships and mixed attendance has increased at CWIB events.

Because not all CWIB events are designed for the EMBA woman, EMBA has created enriching and in-depth programming geared to the already accomplished business woman. Our efforts have focused on a handful of speaker series, cocktail events, and well-deserved nights out. Two such notable events were the Merrill Lynch Leadership series and the Woman Alumnae Panel. Well attended by women as well as men, EMBAs have been able to squeeze in these special events, as well as some MBA outings, thanks to the newly opened lines of communication.

Beyond the goals of networking and recruiting, EMBA women have actively participated with the faculty in raising the amount of women who matriculate at Columbia. By speaking on panels to interested students and calling female applicants, EMBA women have made a significant contribution to the admissions process.

What will next year bring? I am hopeful that it will bring more powerful, life-changing opportunities and friendships as more EMBAs and full-time women connect through CWIB activities. By connecting the groups and opening the lines of communication, the next leaders of CWIB will have a great base from which to build an even stronger organization.

The best is yet to come.


Mothers in Business Continues into its Third Year
by Alba Roman ’08 and Rebecca Williams Mincy ’07

Alba Roman ’08

Rebecca Williams Mincy ’07

In the Fall of 2005, CWIB launched Columbia Mothers in Business (MIB) to provide students with the resources and mentors needed to make informed decisions at pivotal points in their career and family development. This groundbreaking initiative was reported in the Wall Street Journal (“Parental Guidance - Help for Student Moms”, Sept 20, 2006) and most recently in Business Week Online (“Mommy’s MBA”, May 10, 2007), in which several CBS alumnae were featured. Moreover, several women have chosen to duplicate the model of Mothers in Business on the campus of the Chicago Graduate School of Business.

This semester, recognizing the inherent difficulties that networking poses to parents, MIB hosted a Mommy Meet and Greet at AHA Kids Learning Center. Alumnae ranging from the class of 1999 to current students from the class of 2009 participated. Attendees were able to meet and connect with current mothers, expectant mothers, and those passionate about supporting mothers. As expected, those attending had made varied choices about balancing work and family – some opting to take time off from work, while others came with backpacks and blackberries in tow – showing that there is no right or wrong way "to do" motherhood.

MIB will continue to support opportunities for current students and alumnae to share ideas and develop mentoring relationships, while continuing to provide current and prospective students with the resources and information that they need to make informed decisions about their personal and professional priorities. If you would like to be involved, perhaps by hosting a networking event or connecting MIB with a similar group at your company, or if there are other ways that MIB can be supportive, please contact Alba Roman ( and Rebecca Williams Mincy (


Student Spotlight: Jessica Ochoa Hendrix
by Jessica Ochoa Hendrix ’09

Jessica Ochoa Hendrix ’09

My first semester at Columbia Business School passed by in a blur. I know I learned a great deal from my professors and just as much from my peers, but having school one quarter finished is still a shock. Like many of my classmates, the answer to the inevitable question - “what do you want to do after school?” - has been developed by learning the areas of business in which I am interested, as well as the businesses that interest me. When I entered Columbia, I knew that I wanted to work within the Social Enterprise field, but I had no pre-determined ideas in terms of career or even industry.

I came to Columbia because of the excellent Social Enterprise Program. This surprises some people because they don’t know that Columbia has truly developed and invested in the program. From building a staff of 4 full time personnel to creating new courses within the framework of SE each semester, the program has grown enormously over the past few years. Columbia had more than 50 students attend the annual Net Impact conference. 

Net Impact is an organization whose mission is to make a positive impact on the world through business, and Columbia Business School had one of the largest student groups in attendance. All this effort was recognized by the Aspen Institute, which awarded Columbia sixth place among 100 schools globally in Aspen’s 2007-2008 “Beyond Pinstripes” MBA rankings.

I am looking forward to a course on Education Consulting which is being offered in the spring – it will be the highlight of my first year! I’ve always had an interest in education, and briefly debated between applying for NYC Teaching Fellows or Columbia Business School. However, now I know that I can earn an MBA and also use it in the field which has always fascinated me. Although the majority of students at CBS do not intend to work in education, this course allows those of us with an interest to see how MBAs can impact the public sector.

All the students who pass through Columbia’s doors have similar, yet different experiences. We all have brilliant professors, meet fascinating and intelligent fellow students, and have genuinely wonderful experiences learning from both. Our specific experiences are different of course, and part of what makes Columbia amazing is the way that each of our distinct paths take us from the same starting place to our own unique launching place.


Alumna Spotlight: Denise Nash ’90
by Rachel Vessey ’09

Denise Nash ’90 with her family

Denise Nash ’90 has always forged her own path balancing work and motherhood. She encourages women to embrace their professional talent while pursuing their personal goals. To this mother of four children – ages 15, 13, 11, and 7 – the ability to have a flexible schedule has always been crucially important. “I chose, out of business school, to be at home for a lot of the time, and have moved in and out of the workforce depending on where I’ve been in my life,” Denise says.

Shortly after graduation, Denise and her husband moved to Chicago, where she worked for Peat Marwick and the Civic Committee for the City of Chicago. “Working as an independent consultant has always fit in with how we live our life,” she remarks. After a four-year stint in London, Denise returned to Chicago and the Civic Committee before joining Aquent Marketing four years ago, working part-time on a project basis.

As the Director of Work-Life Initiatives at Aquent Marketing, Denise works with the company to help them draw top managers, many of whom are women returning to the workforce seeking flexible work opportunities. “Aquent provides marketing expertise to companies on a project basis. One of the thoughts was that women returning to, or moving in and out of, the workforce would be a good fit for Aquent,” she says. “As ’one of those Moms,’ I was able to help Aquent’s president get to the other moms so the company could have a pool of talented managers who could pop in and out of the workforce. We think this group of women is a real asset to Aquent, and a recurring source of talent. My job is to get our name out there and attract top talent.”

Denise’s goal is for her company to become a thought leader in the area of work-life balance. In 2002, when the concept was relatively new, Denise coordinated a study about women’s attitudes toward work, which was published in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chicago Tribune. Last year, Aquent co-coordinated a study, “Changing the Career Ladder: Paving Flexible Pathways for Today’s Talent,” in conjunction with Tuck Executive Education at Dartmouth and a company called Work+Life Fit, Inc. The study concluded that more people – both men and women – are seeking flexible schedules, and that companies need to continue to hone their programs in order to attract top young talent and draw people who seek to return to the workforce.

Denise is glad that the topic of work-life balance has become a growing priority for both individuals and organizations. “When I was at Columbia,” she notes, “I asked around to see if there was a class or event that could help me figure this stuff out, since I was getting married and knew I would have to deal with work-life challenges. It wasn’t even something that was talked about. Back then, it was an all-or-nothing issue, and there was no concept of balance. A lot of MBA women in my era dropped out of the workforce completely and never returned. Now there are more flexible options and companies like Aquent to help you manage your flexibility.”

When Denise was at school, CWIB was not formally organized. Nonetheless, she is a huge supporter of the program and has secured Aquent’s sponsorship for February’s CWIB conference. “CWIB is amazing,” Denise says. “I am so happy that the organization exists now. I’ve been to the annual conference the last two years, and I think it’s amazing to see alumnae and students get together. I like that there is an alumni connection. It’s an invaluable resource for women trying to get into business and having to think through both their business issues and their personal issues.”

Denise encourages female students to take advantages of the myriad opportunities to learn and grow while at CBS. Her advice for current students? “Take the class that scares you the most, because you’ll never have that chance again.” Almost two decades later, she says that she still draws on the training she had in school: “It never leaves you.”


Alumna Spotlight: Dawn Verbrigghe ’05, Founder of Moi-MÍme Attire
by Janice Schrettner ’08

Dawn Verbrigghe ’05

Moi-MÍme is a women’s made-to-measure apparel business founded by Columbia Business School alumna, Dawn Verbrigghe ’05.

“After graduating from Columbia, I would wear business suits to work three days a week on average, but I was never able to find chic suits that reflected my personal style and also fit me well - particularly when it came to pant length,” says Dawn.

Drawing upon her own frustrations and those of other professional women, Dawn identified an unmet market need for women’s suits and separates that are stylish, office-appropriate, well-fitted, constructed of quality materials, and affordable. “So I set out to develop a line of custom-tailored suiting separates - jackets, pants and skirts - that would fit and flatter women of all body types, from petite to tall and slim to full-figured.”

Moi-MÍme offers a personal tailoring service for both suits and separates - the latter being ideal for business-causal workplaces. During the initial hour-long measuring appointment, a Moi-MÍme Style Consultant takes each customer’s body measurements and assists her in selecting a suit style, fabric and lining color. Each custom suit is individually tailored and ready within four weeks. Also, once a customer’s measurements are taken, she may re-order at any time.

Dawn spent one year researching the business model and nine months developing the product before launching the Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection in October. The inaugural collection features suiting basics with contemporary, sophisticated style and a made-to-measure fit. The company plans to release two new collections each year, expanding into made-to-measure coats and shirts in 2008.

“I am often asked if an MBA makes sense for an aspiring entrepreneur,” says Dawn. “People ask, ‘why not just learn while launching a business?’” I always say it was the best decision for me because it enabled me to gain a strong foundation in all the functional areas of a business and a Columbia MBA provides a lot of ‘street cred’ with customers, suppliers, banks, investors, and even journalists.

“Still, I think the most important benefit of a Columbia MBA is the same for all alumni - the network. I think the network is even more important for entrepreneurs, as we are constantly drawing upon the past experiences and unique expertise of faculty members, students, and our fellow alums. CWIB, in particular, has been extremely supportive and has invited Moi-MÍme to participate in professional development events and the annual conference. A team of women from a marketing strategy class even used Moi-MÍme for its semester-long marketing project!”

If you have questions about Moi-MÍme, would like to peruse the Autumn/Winter 2007 Collection, or would like to make an appointment for the company’s personal tailoring service, please visit the website at


About CWIB

CWIB participates in Race for the Cure on September 9, 2007

Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is a professional networking organization with over 400 student members and thousands of alumnae. Each year, CWIB strives to provide programming that enhances the MBA experience by connecting current students with alumnae and companies that have paved the way for professional women and contributed to the growth of today’s business leaders. For more information about CWIB, please visit our website at


Our Sponsors

A special thank you to our sponsors for their continued support:

Acai Solutions
American Express
Aquent Marketing
Archstone Consulting
A.T. Kearney
Bank of America
Barclays Capital
Bear Stearns
Booz Allen Hamilton
The Boston Consulting Group
The Capital Group Companies
Colgate-Palmolive Company
Credit Suisse
Deutsche Bank
Fidelity Investments
General Electric
GE Energy Services
Goldman Sachs
Jefferies Company
Katzenbach Partners
Lehman Brothers
L.E.K. Consulting
McKinsey & Company
Merrill Lynch
Morgan Stanley
New York Times
Opera Solutions
Sanford Bernstein
Standard & Poor’s
State Farm Insurance


Alumnae Reminder

Please update your contact information frequently. Please visit BANC at, the Columbia alumni website, to update your contact information as soon as it changes. It is our only way of reaching you. Also, be sure to stay in touch and check the calendar of alumni events at

We urge you to get involved! If you would like to get involved with the CWIB community, or have any questions, please contact CWIB at

Contact Us
Visit us on the Web at
© 2007 Columbia Women in Business