CWIB Newsletter – Spring 2009

Editors: Nehal Kenia '09 & Sonal Kapoor

About CWIB  |  Sponsors    

A Message from CWIB's President

Brooke Reinders '09
Dear Friends,

Welcome to our spring edition of the Columbia Women in Business newsletter. I am excited to introduce you to CWIB's incoming president, Mary Martin '10. Mary served as CWIB's AVP of Conference Marketing this past year and is excited to expand her service to all aspects of the club. Mary and an outstanding team of newly elected VP's are already planning for an exciting 2009-2010 school year.

I want to thank the outgoing CWIB board members for all of their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm. It was impossible to ignore the impact of the financial crisis on Columbia Business School, but the CWIB leadership team was able to focus on providing programming that was more valuable than ever.

One of the board's goals this year was to expand the reach of the offerings CWIB provides to students and alumnae, and I am proud to say we met that goal and laid the foundation for a new, more expansive CWIB. Some of the highlights of this expansion include the launching of a new young alumnae mixer with current students. One hundred current students and young CWIB alumnae learned how to improve their golf game and had a chance to network at Chelsea Piers. CWIB was also proud to host the first women-focused recruiting event for the Central Intelligence Agency in New York City. Three members of the National Clandestine Service shared their experiences in the CIA and let CWIB members and alumnae know about the agency's heightened efforts to recruit women with business backgrounds. CWIB's desire to reach out to working mothers lead to a number of exciting events including Mothers in Business roundtable discussions and an Early Education Forum. CWIB teamed up with the Committee for Economic Development to discuss the economic impact of high-quality early education.

One of the most exciting events this spring was the 16th Annual CWIB Conference with keynote speaker Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, and Distinguished Alumna Award Winner Toby Boshak, Princess Grace Foundation-USA Executive Director. The conference theme, “Connect. Grow. Achieve.” emphasized the importance of a strong personal and professional network that keeps pace with the changing times.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the newsletter. As always, CWIB welcomes your thoughts and comments on this newsletter and our programming.


Brooke Reinders
Columbia Business School, Class of 2009
President, Columbia Women In Business


CWIB Prospectives Panel - January 2009
by Johanna Bowman '10

Panelists: Lauren Wall '09, Marina Gendelman '08, Andrea Olsham '04, Sharon Park '03

CWIB and the Columbia Business School admissions office held a panel for prospective students on Monday, January 25th.  Panelists included Lauren Wall, MBA '09, Marina Gendelman MBA '08, Andrea Olsham, MBA '04, and Sharon Park, MBA '03 and  represented a variety of industries including media, marketing and real estate to pharmaceuticals to finance.  The panel attracted nearly 200 prospective female students and provided an opportunity for them to get a broad view of the career options available to Columbia women after business school.  CWIB members met with prospectives students and answered some of their questions about student life and academics at Columbia Business School.


CWIB Conference 2009: Connect. Grow. Achieve.
by Maya Rozenblat '10

CWIB Conference Co-chairs, Jen Legenza '09 and Lisa Kobashi '09

On Friday, February 20th, more than 600 students, alumni and other professional men and women attended the 16th Annual Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) Conference, where they had the opportunity to hear advice from one of the most respected and powerful women in business. Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service and the nation's largest non-commercial media organization, shared career tips as well as her own story with the audience.

Ms. Kerger stressed the importance of giving back and helping one another in this time of economic downturn. She said that when things get tough, it is easy for companies and individual employees to withdraw, but now more than ever that we need to reach out, connect with others and achieve together.

Ms. Kerger also shared her personal experience of being a woman in business school. It was not too long ago that a professor told her to stop wasting everyone's time with silly questions, and even accused her of “husband hunting.” Clearly, women have come a long way in a short amount of time, but there is still a long way to go. Dean Amir Ziv echoed Ms. Kerger's sentiment in his address, when he emphasized the importance of having an equal number of women and men in Columbia Business School classes. Dean Ziv said that women should represent 50 percent

of each Columbia Business School class, not the 33 percent that the school has today. He left all of the attendees with an important homework assignment – to find one qualified woman, connect with her, and bring her to Columbia Business School next year.

In addition to Ms. Kerger's keynote address and Dean Ziv's speech, conference attendees heard from a number of women who personified this year's conference theme: “Connect. Grow. Achieve.” The 13th Annual Distinguished Alumna Award recipient, Toby Boshak, MBA 1992, spoke about carving her own path at Columbia Business School and beyond, whether through a specialized curriculum in non-profit management at the business school or through her passion and commitment to the arts. Since 1996, she has been the Executive Director of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, a public charity which is dedicated to identifying and assisting emerging talent in theater, dance, and film by awarding grants in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships, and fellowships.
Conference participants had the opportunity to attend their choice of 15 different panels, which addressed a spectrum of themes, ranging from how to succeed on Wall Street, to how to manage during periods of uncertainty, to how to make a difference with your career.

“I want to congratulate all of you on an amazing job with Conference,” said Brooke Reinders '09, CWIB president. “I am so proud of all of the hard work and dedication all of you put into the event. We have received many congratulatory e-mails and many people commented on how much they enjoyed the event.”

The Conference wrapped up with a beautiful networking and cocktail reception. In addition to hors d'oeuvres, a martini bar and the signature CWIB cocktail, attendees had the chance to sample wine from Swirl and Frankly Wines, both of which are businesses owned by Columbia Business School alumni.

“This was an amazing day,” said Lisa Kobashi '09, conference co-chair. “Paula and Toby are both such dynamic speakers – they were truly inspirational. The panels were fantastic and we were overwhelmed by the positive feedback. Of course, we couldn't have done it without our wonderful conference committee and volunteers, all of whom worked so hard to make this day a success. Thank you everyone!”


CWIB Clothing Exchange
by Johanna Bowman '10

CWIB Members at the Clothing Swap Event

CWIB finished the second semester with a clothing swap and cocktails event. Members of CWIB brought clothing to Uris as part of a clothing swap to refresh their wardrobes and give back to the community.  It was a great opportunity to mingle, and most of us left with a new outfit or two. The remaining clothes were gathered and donated to a local charity.

New outfits and donating hundreds of garments to a good cause – what could be better?


CWIB's Mothers in Business Continues to Build its Network and Impact
by Tsvetelina Spassova '10

Student moms and alumnae at music session
We are proud to report on a very successful semester for the Mothers in Business (MIB) initiative! MIB has made significant inroads in building a support community for student-moms and moms-to-be, educating them about important future decisions, and connecting students and alumnae.

MIB initiated the monthly luncheon series, where Columbia Business School moms and expecting moms meet informally for lunch to share their experience in balancing demanding school work and family life. The monthly lunches have been a great platform for student moms to share best practices in handling important career decisions and tough interview questions. More importantly, they have been instrumental in understanding the needs of MIB members and planning events accordingly.

The most invigorating event this semester was the first Student, Alumnae and Kids Mixer, which took place on campus in late March. MIB organized a Mommy & Me music session for student moms and alumnae moms. The event was a great success, with 15+ kids and their moms gathered around in a circle in Calder lounge, singing songs and playing music instruments. We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received on this music session, and 3 alumnae indicated that they would like to be actively involved with MIB in the future. More than 10 alumnae who were not able to make it expressed the desire to attend similar events in the future.

MIB also cosponsored an Early Childhood Education Forum with the Committee for Economic Development (CED). The forum presented the case for investments in early childhood education and focused on the economic benefits of high quality early childhood education. MIB members are interested in this issue both as mothers and as future business leaders.

Continuing its tradition of honoring expectant moms, MIB held another baby shower for student moms-to-be, right before a Columbia Business School-wide reception to celebrate growing families organized by OSA. Following MIB's mission to build a support network for moms at Columbia Business School, we believe that it is important to honor future moms and introduce their families to the broad Columbia Business School communities (and vice versa).

MIB is planning many exciting events for the fall semester, including a kick-off mother-to-mother meeting, monthly luncheon series with more flavor, and a roundtable discussion. Stay tuned!


Student Spotlight: Lincy Scaria '10
by Lincy Scaria '10

Lincy Scaria '10
My first year at Columbia Business School has been an exciting and challenging experience. I have met amazing people and learned so much inside and outside the classroom. The friends I have made at school this year have been my favorite part of the experience and have confirmed my belief that Columbia Business School was absolutely the right choice for me! 

I chose Columbia Business School for many reasons. Most important were its international focus, New York City location, and my sense of its culture and people when I visited. I was happy to find that my classmates were extremely talented, fun loving, and interesting people. In and out of class discussions and the endless list of on campus speakers have been insightful and invigorating learning experiences for me. Additionally, I was surprised to find how challenging the experience is overall, and two years now seems too short to absorb so much material!

One of my goals for business school is to gain more international experience and knowledge. To that end, I will be spending my summer in India, interning in the Communication, Media, and Entertainment group at Infosys Technologies. While I'm not working, I hope to travel to Europe and Asia, catch up on reading and friends, relax, and gear up for a fun and fast paced second year.

I look forward to next year's extracurricular activities, recruiting, and classes. Serving as one of the Co-Presidents for the newly founded Telecom club will be an area of focus for me next year. I hope that this club will provide students with a great link to a very relevant, innovative, and evolving industry. The club has held interesting events this school year and is preparing for a full list of activities in the fall. Moreover, being a VP of Sponsors for the first ever Odyssey symposium in March 2009 was an excellent experience. The event was attended by students from 14 top MBA schools from around the world, and we had great speaker and competitions. I am looking forward to a successful second Odyssey in 2010.

After school my goal is to work globally and leverage my product development background. Prior to business school, I worked as a research and development engineer at Avaya. Specifically, I hope to blend my technical product development knowledge and MBA to manage the rollout of new services for a media firm or telecom service provider, which may even be one and the same. I am interested in a long term career in media and technology and believe that taking the democratization of information to the next level is the way to raise the global standard of living. This, in turn, would effect maximum social impact. Dean Hubbard once said “business is social change,” and I want this to resonate throughout my career.


CWIB Golf Event
by Allison Heilborn '09

Top row: Shoko Yanagisawa '09, Shilpa Marda '09, Michele Tolkin '09, Julie O'Such '09, Genevieve Thornton '09
Bottom Row: Nehal Kenia '09, Isabella Stanca '09
On Friday, April 10, CWIB partnered with the Chelsea Piers Golf Club to hold the first annual student & young alumnae networking event. Forty women from CWIB were joined by 60 alumnae from the Classes of 2004-2008.

The purpose of this event was to help re-establish the critical relationships between young alumae and students. The women networked, hit some golf balls, and learned a little more about the game.  Attendees received personalized, expert instruction from three of Chelsea Piers Golf Club's leading pros, including head pro Dale Gray, who worked and trained under Hank Haney, a top instructor and coach to Tiger Woods.

Chelsea Piers Golf Club did an incredible job tailoring the evening to CWIB's needs, particularly the group's varied skill levels.  Many women who were brand new golfers benefitted from Dale's Golf 101 session which properly demonstrated the basics, including how to hold a club, position the body and swing.  At the same time, more advanced golfers got plenty of practice in the 13 dedicated stalls the Golf Club set aside for CWIB for the evening.

The golf course has been an “unofficial board room” for quite some time.  CWIB was thrilled to have the opportunity to host an event where women could flex another strength – sports! – which can be important and useful to building relationships in the post-grad business world.   Everyone had a great time practicing their swings and networking with old and new friends. 

CWIB would like to thank the Chelsea Piers Golf Club for hosting such a wonderful event, and the New York Golf Center, which generously donated goodie bags for all attendees.  A special thanks to Dana Thayer MBA '98, without whom we absolutely could not have done the event.

For more information about the Chelsea Piers Golf Club, please visit: 

For more information about the New York Golf Center, please visit:


Alumna Spotlight: Jina Kim EMBA '04
by Patricia Vega '10

 Jina Kim EMBA '04

Jina Kim EMBA '04 is one of three partners in Rick's Picks, an artisanal producer of gourmet pickles and pickled vegetables. When Jina decided to follow her passion and find a career in food, Rick's Picks was a great match with her love of preparing healthy, fresh, home-made food. Rick's Picks pickles fresh, locally grown vegetables in small batches. Their cleverly-named jars are sold at green markets, online, wholesale, and through local distributers at stores like Dean & Deluca, Fairway, and Murrays Cheese and nationwide through Whole Foods. Although she had always had a passion for food, Jina had been working at a “pretty good job” that she didn't love for over 12 years. She credits her 2004 termination for finally breaking the inertia and becoming a food entrepreneur. Jina found her partners through a post on the Columbia Business School Alumni Job Board. They were looking for a partner with business know-how and she knew-how. Jina put her MBA to work from day one and their business is booming in spite of the economic slump.

Despite her official title of Director of Sales and Marketing, Jina plans and executes every aspect of the business with her two partners.

As a small business owner, she is constantly applying the concepts from corporate finance, strategy, supply chain management, and marketing that she learned at Columbia Business School. Thanks to the career switch, this urban foodie is also continually learning about food and vegetables and she is regarded for her food industry expertise.

On becoming an entrepreneur, Jina recommends taking the time to find what you are passionate about and finding a way to do it. A few lessons she shared:

  • Marketing: A great product sells itself. Word of mouth is the best advertising.
  • Corp Finance: Slow growth is hard; secure funding up front.
  • Strategy: If you're thinking of taking a professional leap, why not take it now? Tough decisions just get harder to make with time.
  • Operations: Be flexible and resourceful. Sometimes you're the boss and sometimes you're the janitor, but if it's your own business, you do it.
  • Honor Code: Respect your customers. Knowledgeable consumers recognize and value high-quality products.
  • Economics: A recession is a great time to start a business, everything is cheaper and if things go wrong, you can blame the economy.
  • Leadership: Be daring. We stop short of following our dreams because we don't want to fail at the thing we really love.
  • Her Takeaway: There have been tradeoffs but it has been worth it to do something that is meaningful, to wake up with joy, and to still be excited after four years.



    About CWIB

    CWIB Board 2008-2009

    Columbia Women in Business (CWIB) is a professional networking organization with more than 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:

    American Express
    A.T. Kearney
    Bank of America
    Barclays Capital
    BMO Capital Markets
    Booz Allen Hamilton
    The Boston Consulting Group
    The Capital Group Companies
    Credit Suisse
    Deutsche Bank
    Fidelity Investments
    General Electric
    GE Energy Services
    Goldman Sachs
    Jefferies Company
    Katzenbach Partners
    L.E.K. Consulting
    McKinsey & Company
    Merrill Lynch
    Morgan Stanley
    Opera Solutions
    Sanford Bernstein
    Standard & Poor's


    Alumnae Reminder

    Please update your contact information frequently. Please visit the alumni website 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
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    2008 Columbia Women in Business