CWIB Newsletter – Spring 2010

Editor: Sanna Bengali '10

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A Message from CWIB's President

Mary Martin '10
Dear Friends of CWIB,

The past year has been a very good one for CWIB. We have hosted more than 50 events and have introduced new initiatives and events to our annual program that have added to the value CWIB can provide its members. Some of the highlights include our Annual Conference in February, a Mothers in Business Student/Alumnae reunion, and a private shopping event at Ann Taylor. All the support and opportunity CWIB provides women at Columbia Business School would be impossible without the generous support of our many partners, and we thank you for joining with us in promoting future women business leaders.

The semester is rapidly winding down, and as the 2nd year members of our Board prepare to depart, we are transitioning to a new leadership team. I am very excited to introduce you to the 2010-2011 CWIB President: Alexandra (Allie) Reilly. I am confident that over the coming year, Allie and the other members of the Board will continue to advance the vision and effectiveness of the club.

We hope that you have had the opportunity to personally interact with CWIB over the past year. We are always looking for more opportunities to engage with members of our extended community, including alumnae and partners. In particular, there is significant interest among our members in finding mentors that can provide insight for reaching their personal and professional goals. If you would be willing to mentor a current student, we would love to hear from you, and you can email us at Similarly, if you would be interested in serving on a panel about your industry over the coming year, please contact us at that email address, and we will be in touch. My own experience with the many talented women who are members of CWIB has proven to be extremely rewarding, and I am certain you will find the same return on your involvement.

We would welcome your thoughts on this newsletter and our programming and are always happy to hear from our alumnae and partners about any matters.

It has been a significant privilege for me to serve as the President of CWIB over the past year and to meet and work with so many of you through this role. On behalf of the entire club, thank you for your committed support and enthusiasm.

All the best,

Mary Martin
Columbia Business School, MBA 2010
President, Columbia Women in Business


CWIB Cider Tasting
by Molly Kennedy '11

On February 27th, Louisa Spencer of Farnum Hill Cider traveled down from New Hampshire to give a presentation and cider tasting for CWIB. Members learned about the cider-making process and the history of cider. Farnum Hill provided 6 cider varieties for attendees to compare and contrast while snacking on artisanal cheeses, meats and olives from Barnyard in the East Village.

Farnum Hill's philosophy is to stick to the true meaning of the word "cider" - an alcoholic beverage fermented from apples, just as "wine" is an alcoholic beverage fermented from grapes. When Prohibition hit the States, apple-growers' sharp need for a new teetotal image cut the normal old word "cider" from its normal old meaning, and pasted it to the sweet brown ephemeral juice of autumn, normally called "apple juice." Farnum Hill Ciders, at 6.5-7.5% alcohol, tend toward the dry, sharp, fruity and bountifully aromatic.

Farnum Hill products are available at a variety of location in NYC, including Whole Foods (Union Square), Astor Wines and Spirits, and served at restaurants such as Gramercy Tavern and Craft.


CWIB Conference 2010: Redefining Business, Reinventing Yourself
by Jocelyn Young '10, Maya Rozenblat '10

CWIB Conference Co-Chairs Jocelyn Young (left) and Maya Rozenblat (right) with the Keynote speaker, Mary Beth West (center).


On Friday, February 19th, the 17th Annual Columbia Women in Business Conference took place at Lerner Hall with an audience of more than 600 students, alumni, and professional men and women, who had a tremendous opportunity of hearing advice from one of the most respected, charismatic and powerful women in business. Mary Beth West, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Kraft Foods, the nation's largest food manufacturer, shared her own amazing story and career path with the inspired audience.

Ms. West stressed the importance of giving back and providing opportunities for the less fortunate. As an adopted child she felt the difference her parents made in her life and adopted both of her children. She and her husband have also contributed and supported a young African-American girl's education, who will be attending college in the new academic year. The inspired audience was in tears from this heart-warming and amazing story.

Ms. West also shared her experience of being a minority woman in a male-dominated business world. She encouraged the audience to seek out mentors who least resemble us, which she stressed as one of the factors which contributed to her success. Her most important mentor was a successful male executive, who was not afraid to be honest with her and explained the barriers facing her. To answer an audience member's question about balancing a successful career and family, Ms. West said that it is important to prioritize and be flexible, constantly reassessing the priorities depending on the situation.

In addition to Ms. West keynote address, the recipient of the 14th Annual Distinguished Alumna Award, Beth Schoenfeldt was honored for her record of leadership, professional accomplishment, and demonstrated passion and dedication to the community. Ms. Schoenfeldt cofounded Collective-E, a unique member-based entrepreneurs' agency, which has helped thousands of women entrepreneurs nationwide, at all stages of business.

Conference attendees heard from a number of female leaders who helped explore this year's theme - "Redefining Business, Reinventing Yourself." The panelists examined the continued evolution in the business environment with a focus on women in business. Conference participants had the opportunity to attend their choice of 15 panels, which addressed an array of themes, from second career successes, to starting your own business in these economically challenging times, to responding to the financial crisis, to how to succeed in "glamour" industries of Media and Fashion.

"I was so impressed with the panelists and particularly enjoyed the discussions I attended. What a great group of speakers and women. Already looking forward to next year!" The CWIB Board received numerous congratulatory e-mails and many attendees commented on the success of the event. "I just wanted to say congratulations to the committee on an amazing conference!" said Mary Martin '10, the CWIB President. "I have gotten such positive feedback from everyone I've talked with, and it was a direct result of incredible leadership."

The Conference was followed by a beautiful networking cocktail reception. In addition to hors d'oeuvres, a martini bar and the re-designed signature CWIB cocktail, attendees had the chance to sample wine from Swirl Wines, a business owned by a CBS alumna.

"I do not believe either of us envisioned just how wonderful this year's Conference would be. We were floored by the amount of support and positive feedback we received," said Maya Rozenblat '10, conference co-chair. Jocelyn Young '10, conference co-chair, added, "We are truly grateful to our amazing Conference Committee, corporate donors and sponsors, and all the attendees who helped make this event such a success."


Professional Development: Summer Internship Tips
by Allie Reilly '11

If you are a first year student, no matter what industry you will be working in this summer, you want to put your best foot forward (and with any luck, receive a full-time offer). Many companies even describe their summer internships as a 10-week job interview! Although this sounds intimidating, it is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight your best qualities as an employee and a high potential leader within the organization. But how do you hit the ground running at your new job while at the same time building the bridge toward a full-time offer? When we asked successful second years for their tips on how to make the most of your summer, a few themes came through: take initiative, keep in touch and network, network, network!

"I would recommend that first years reach out to everyone with whom they have networked this year (and written thank-you notes), to let them know what their internship status is and ask for informational interviews or any tips on how to find the internship they desire. Following up every month and a half or so with people with whom you've established a connection is key in keeping yourself at the forefront of their thoughts in case an opportunity arises. If one person says no, ask that person if he or she can recommend someone else to whom you should be in contact. Not only is this a good way to get your name out there, but it helps you to expand your network."
            -Garen Thomas, Imax and Imagine Television

"Show up early and leave late. Introduce yourself to people and get to know as many people as possible. Make sure to set up both informal and formal channels for feedback throughout the internship. Jump at opportunities - my first day, the team was going to an event to run a tasting and said they assumed I didn't want to attend. I said I would love to help out and made a great impression and got extra face time with my boss on my very first day."
            -Katherine White, Brand Management, Moet Hennessy USA

"In my recruiting experience for consulting and corporate strategy, I found that one-on-one networking is so much more important than attending every single recruiting event for an organization I was interested in. Make the effort to have one solid conversation, get a business card, and follow up to ask for a coffee chat or informational interview. The firm's representative will remember you and it will certainly not hurt you as you progress in the recruiting process for that firm."
            -Becky Holden, Internal Consulting, NYC Department of Small Business Services

"Take advantage of getting to know all the coworkers on your team. Depending on the culture of your team, there may not be formal opportunities to network with your coworkers so it is imperative to make the time and occasion to network with coworkers. This is also important for people on other teams that you may interact with. Especially if there is an opportunity to go back to the same company full time, having contacts outside your team will give you an opportunity to explore options you might not otherwise have."
            -Sanna Bengali, Verizon Wireless


Mothers in Business Finish the Year on a High Note
by Tsvetelina Spassova '10

Tsvetelina Spassova '10
As a leader of the MIB initiative, I look forward to the spring semester because that is when we hold one of the most exciting events of the year - the annual Student & Alumnae Reunion, where women bring their kids for a Mommy & Me music lesson. Sure enough, I was not disappointed. On a sunny March Saturday, 10+ women and their children (ranging from babies to toddlers) got together at Calder lounge, sung songs and played music instruments under the instruction of an amazing teacher. We were overwhelmed by the positive feedback we received on this music session, and more than 5 alumnae who were unable to make it expressed the desire to attend similar events in the future.

We also continued organizing monthly get-togethers, were CBS moms meet once a month, informally, to chat and share their experience of managing demanding school work and family life. To celebrate the end of a successful semester, we are holding a picnic in Central Park later this month, where we hope to meet the new additions to the CBS mothers-in-business family - 2009/2010 newborns!

We also continued organizing monthly get-togethers, were CBS moms meet once a month, informally, to chat and share their experience of managing demanding school work and family life. To celebrate the end of a successful semester, we are holding a picnic in Central Park later this month, where we hope to meet the new additions to the CBS mothers-in-business family - 2009/2010 newborns!

Finally, we are introducing a new event, targeting students who thinking about motherhood and would like to chat in an informal setting with women who have encountered the challenge of balancing a growing family and an ambitious career.


CWIB and Girls Inc. of New York City Cap off Another Year
by Aryanne Ferranti '10

To celebrate the culmination of a successful third year of partnership with Girls Inc. of New York, CWIB is excited to offer its second annual Personal Safety Training Workshop on Wednesday, April 14. The interactive seminar will be hosted by Karen Chasen of Prepare Inc, named "Best in NY" by New York Magazine.

The workshop will provide participants with a mix of emotional, verbal and physical tools to aid in the examination of interactions with other people and identification of what method(s) will work best given a particular situation. Karen will not only teach us how to defend ourselves, but moreover how to overcome the common "freeze response," and to manage fear and anxiety during intimidating or uncomfortable situations.

CWIB is looking forward to hosting several more community service related events with Girls Inc. next year, so stay tuned!

If you are interested in volunteering with Girls Inc. beyond the activities that are offered in partnership with CWIB, please visit learn more and/or to apply to become a volunteer!


Alumna Spotlight: Carolyn Hack, MBA '05
by Diya Gullapalli '11

Carolyn Hack '05
Carolyn Hack is a Columbia Business School alumna who is using her MBA in an unconventional way. As chief financial officer of Uncommon Schools, Ms. Hack is responsible for the financial management of urban charter schools.

Uncommon is a well-regarded education non-profit that seeks to close the achievement gap and prepare urban students for college graduation. It manages sixteen schools in New York and New Jersey and has two associate member schools in Boston. Eventually, Uncommon plans to include 33 schools, serving nearly 12,000 K through 12th grade students.

Uncommon Schools are well-known for high teacher accountability, rigorous curriculum structure and thorough standards-based instruction. This type of charter school model is gaining wide acceptance in major urban areas including New York City.

Bringing in talented management is crucial to such charter schools' success. Carolyn exemplifies the approach. She holds a B.A. in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and an M.A. from Stanford University School of Education. Prior to business school, Carolyn taught high school math and coached basketball and soccer for five years in Northern California. She graduated in 2005 from CBS, where she was elected to the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society and was awarded the faculty-bestowed prize for Nonprofit and Public Management.

Carolyn says she became excited about charter schools while at Stanford, though more from a business standpoint. She eventually decided that an MBA would be a useful way to transition to a management role in education. She joined Uncommon as Director of Finance in 2006. Before this, she worked as the Associate Executive Director of Development and Administration at Anchor, Inc. While at Anchor, Ms. Hack was responsible for the financial management of the organization, strategic planning, the development of a new evaluation model, the oversight of a capital renovation project, and fundraising, according to her Uncommon Schools online profile.

While her CBS finance classes do help her in her daily job, Carolyn says it is more a framework to make decisions. "I can't emphasize enough that as you take on leadership (or "C-level" jobs), the soft skills are what make you successful," she says. "I spend a significant amount of my time on the organization's 'people issues'" and "would recommend management and negotiation classes above everything else."

She advises current students to think broadly about their potential career opportunities because school is "the easiest time to transition to a new path. If you don't do it now, you probably won't anytime soon" she says. She also encourages CWIB members to not "stress the 5 year plan. Things change. Just take a job you think you'll love with people you think are smart and fun at a place you think you will learn a ton. "


Student Spotlight: Elisabeth Routrou, MBA '11

Elisabeth Rotrou '11
First year is almost over for Columbia Business School Class of 2011, and I can't believe how fast the months went by since last August...

Prior to Business School, I was in consulting and product management for IT infrastructure. Soon realizing that servers and routers were not my favorite topic in a conversation, I started looking to operate a change from IT infrastructure to another level of technology that would bring me closer to interacting with end users. This is what brought me to Columbia Business School.

My goals in following an MBA program were to meet great people, try new things out, and gather lots of concepts in leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing that I would be able to apply in a product management position, working for a fun and innovative tech company. So like most people on campus, I have been spending days and nights between classes and homework, recruiting preparation and interviewing, a multitude of clubs initiatives and activities, and social events with other CBS students.

The experience has been intense and rewarding. The people I met here are all stars in their area of expertise and great friendships were developed along the way. Following on the field study I started during the spring semester with a start up called Nimble, I will spend the summer interning as their Marketing Manager and will also be part of their Product Management team, in Santa Monica, CA. I was also just elected the VP Careers and Conference for Le French Club; which means that my team and I will have a lot on our plate to make the 2010 Edition of the French MBA Conference a great success.

I really look forward to another year!


About CWIB

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
Bank of America
Barclays Capital
Booz & Co
The Boston Consulting Group
Capital IQ
The Capital Group Companies
Credit Suisse
Deloitte Consulting
Deutsche Bank
GE Commercial Finance
Goldman Sachs
Monitor Group
Morgan Stanley
Sanford Bernstein
Standard & Poor's
TD Bank


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
Visit us on the Web at
2010 Columbia Women in Business