Alumni Association, Smith School Celebrate Women
Photo by Lisa Helfert
“There’s room for all the girls.”
That was the message Monica McNutt M.Jour. ’13 delivered to nearly 300 alumnae on Friday as the Alumni Association hosted its inaugural Women’s Leadership Development Conference at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. The ESPN reporter and basketball analyst delivered the event’s keynote address, urging women to support one another as they make professional strides.
The daylong conference followed Thursday night’s 12th annual Women Inspire event, hosted by the Robert H. Smith School of Business, which featured Janice deGarmo MBA ’07, the director of the Office of Management Strategy and Solutions at the U.S. Department of State.
McNutt was among the 20+ women who spoke at the Alumni Association event, on topics ranging from wealth creation and management to building a personal brand to health and wellness.
“The main goal is building community amongst Terp women," said Erica Lane, the Alumni Association’s manager of volunteer programs, who co-organized its event.
DeGarmo offered a number of career tips to attendees, including to learn the “four Ps” of career planning: purpose, people, power and possibility. To employ them, she advised audience members to ask themselves: Do you believe in the mission? Do you enjoy the people you work with? What’s more important: position title or salary? How much possibility does this career transition or position enable? “How you choose to prioritize those is different for everyone,” she said.
McNutt shared her story of growing up in Prince George’s County as a girl who loved basketball, then continuing as a student-athlete at Georgetown University, up through her current role at ESPN. She also told attendees about the first time she felt the difficulties of being a Black woman in the workplace: At one station, she yearned for the sports anchor position, but when the blonde, white woman who held the role departed for another job, she was replaced by another blonde, white woman who, McNutt said, “had zero interest in sports.”
Though McNutt felt frustrated and jealous in the moment, she eventually understood that both she and the other woman were being mistreated by management: McNutt, as a Black woman passed over for a job she was qualified for, and her colleague as an employee shoved into a role that didn’t suit her. McNutt realized that, by seeing one another as comrades and not competitors, women can widen the circle for everyone who comes in their wake.
“I needed to find it in myself to truly root for other women, because their success is not coming at my expense,” she said.
Pablo Suarez from the Robert H. Smith School of Business contributed to this article.
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