COLUMBIA COLLEGE WOMEN FALL 2010
TRICKS (AND TREATS) HOW TO BEST UTILIZE YOUR MENTOR—AND WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM YOUR MENTEE
THE EVENTS OF THE LAST SEMESTER REVIEWED—WHY YOU DONT WANT TO MISS ANY CCW EVENTS!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT THE EATING LOCALLY, THINKING GLOBALLY MOVEMENT AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
Claire Shanley (CC ‘92) Photo by Rebecca Castillo (CC ‘94, J ‘06)
Greetings! The fall brings a burst of productive energywheher you’re a student or not, there’s something about the change of seasons here in NYC that seems to get us all moving. For CCW, this Fall frolic has involved hosting our fall spotlight event, getting the CCW Mentoring applications out to students and alumnae, and gearing up our preparations for a full calendar of activities over the course of the months ahead. In September, our spotlight Eating Locally, Thinking Globally event brought together local food & wine, combined with the insights of Columbians who work in food, wine, and global food policy at the Mae Mae Café in downtown’s Hudson Square neighborhood. For more on this event, see page 6. We have a couple significant CCW milestones to celebrate CCW board chair, Claire Shanley (CC ‘92), this fall. Our first is the awarding of the inaugural CCW Scholarship. Just a year ago, we launched a with Ellen Gustafson (CC ‘02) and Liz current-use CCW scholarship, one that supports a CC student who demonstrates leadership and po- Neumark (BC ‘77) at the tential. A group of founders stepped up to support this vision with the CCW Executive Board. I honor Eating Locally, Thinking Globally event. these donors and their embrace of a philanthropic element in CCW’s work. Their support was critical to transforming this concept into a reality, and we are grateful for their generosity. I’ll be announcing our student recipient at 10/26’s Mentoring Launch event, and we’ll include further coverage in future newsletters. CCW Board Member Jacquie Seidel CC’00 is chairing the Scholarship Committee this year, and we’re looking forward to nurturing the Scholarship in its second year. A second milestone is the launch of our the seventeenth year of CCW’s Mentoring Program- wow! When you consider that the College embraced co-education just in 1983, this accomplishment is a testament to Columbia Women’s commitment to supporting each other, and insuring that students have the benefits of a supportive, engaged alumni community to learn from and grow with. We are grateful for the generosity of our alumnae mentors, who dedicate themselves to six months of volunteer work, and the outstanding Mentoring Team Leaders, who collaborate with the committee to keep the program running smoothly. Special thanks to our Mentoring Committee, whose members put incredible time and effort to this program. It takes a lot of work to create ideal student-alumna matches, coordinate trainings & events, and keep the momentum going for the duration of the program. Committee Chair Lindsay Rodman CC’05 is serving a second year in this important role, and we are fortunate to have her expertise and commitment. This newsletter is the product of our Membership Committee, with contributions from many members and special leadership from Committee Chair Siheun Song CC’07 and student Board Member Laura Torre Gomez CC’11. Through its strategy and events work, the Membership Committee brings Columbia alumnae together and creates fun ways to connect in-person and digitally, including our Facebook and LinkedIn groupsare you a member? We have an upcoming pre-Holiday event, a winter Negotiation workshop, and more on the horizon—we look forward to seeing you! Without this team of extraordinary alumna and student volunteers, CCW could not exist. We are strengthened by our diversity and our teamwork, and as Board Chair, I am honored to work alongside such outstanding, talented women. To get involved with a CCW Committee, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
Mentoring Spring Brunch Review Lindsay Rodman (CC ‘05) Photos by Rebecca Castillo (CC ‘94, J ‘06)
Columbia College Women’s Mentoring Program celebrated the end of the 2009-10 year in high style! The program’s sixteenth year concluded in late April with brunch at the posh Bryant Park Hotel. Over mimosas and mini-muffins, CC alumnae and students chatted about their busy years and what lay in store for the students after graduation. Lindsay Rodman (CC ‘05), Chair of CCW’s Mentoring Committee, spoke about the growth of the program, and collected and read aloud quotes from students and their mentors—some humorous, some sentimental—about what they’d learned from each other along the way. Claire Shanley (CC ’92), Board Chair of Columbia College Women, spoke about the inauguration of the CCW Mentoriship chair, Lindsay Rodman, announces the winners Scholarship, which supports a current CC student leader. Claire also spoke of a drawing while CCAAD staffer Kimberly Peterson looks about ways to volunteer with CCW and support the College’s women students on. and alumnae! There were a number of prize drawings for gift certificates from Aveda/Scott J. Salon, Tip Top Shoes, and Bad Shoes and the Women Who Love Them. Rebecca Castillo (CC ‘94, J ‘06) also graciously volunteered to take mentor/student portraits, which were a huge hit! Finally, each participant took home a fab gift bag filled with goodies from sponsors including Completely Bare Spa, AXA Advisors, Le Metier de Beauté, Broadway Nail Spa, Citi, Bag Borrow or Steal, and Hollywood Fashion Tape. The Mentoring Committee would like to thank last year’s committee members and team leaders for their hard work and commitment. We would also like to thank every participant in the program for giving their time and effort to help build a truly great program. Cheers to another fantastic year! Mentees and mentors go over the highlights of the year while sipping on orange juice and enjoying buttery croissants. Team leader Lillian Hsu (center) and her mentorship group.
Making Things Happen CCW Helps to Fight Women’s Cancers Shelly Eversley (CC ‘91)
On May 1, Team Columbia College Women raised over $2500 to support the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s 13th Annual Revlon Run/Walk to help fight women’s cancers. The need to do what we can to help fight and prevent women’s cancers is more important than ever: 1 in 3 women will develop cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer accounts for 27% of all cancers diagnosed in women in the U.S. and 22,000 new cases of ovarian cancer are expected this year. Some of us, like Mary Rutledge (CC ‘07), ran the 5K with the ease of an avid runner. Siheun Song (CC ‘07) and I started with an enthusiastic run and soon after slowed to a promising trot. CCW Board Chair, Claire Shanley, led most of our team (including Mary Baird, Maria Bermudez, Venus Bermudez, Angela Ellis, Heather Halliday, Nadia Majid, Gina Pellegrini, Lindsay Rodman and Jacqueline Seidel) on a brisk stroll from Times Square through Central Park. Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Dr. Oz and the musician Trey Songz opened the morning’s event with their thanks and encouragement for over 40,000 women and men who came together that day to help fund cancer research Shelly holds the Columbia College Women sign as the event begins. into the cause and cure of women’s cancers. The money we raised also supports cancer women’s cancer prevention, education and support services and programs. Because we have all felt the effects of cancer, CCW and our friends decided to help make a difference.
Top: The CCW team poses for a photo before sprinting off. Left: Run/Walk opening ceremonies in Times Square launched the event amid a shower of confetti.
August Welcome to CCW Event Beth Malin (CC ‘11) Photo by Laura Torre (CC ‘11)
The August Welcome Event was a new addition to the CCW calendar this year and quickly proved to be a huge success! The CCW board created the event to gain more awareness with young alums and make sure they are well informed of the post-graduation resources available to them. This has been a concern of the CCW board as many young women alums are unaware that once they graduate, they automatically become members of CCW. The event focused on bringing together young alums to meet both each other and older members of the CCW board and organization at large. The evening started off with a challenge: as the welcome event was set to take place on the rooftop of Red Sky Bar (29th between Park and Madison) and it began to rain during setup for the event. Fortunately, those of us who were setting up were able to quickly grab all of the nametags and signs and bring them down to the lower level of the bar before the rain got to them. At first we were unsure that the new location would be comfortable for everyone, but once the event started, it was perfect for an intimate night of mingling with top-notch sangria and appetizers! With a great turnout, there were a mix of younger and older women alums, as well as some male graduates who wanted to show their support and enjoy the evening. As I walked around the event and was able to catch up with old friends and make CCW board members Beth Malin (CC ‘11) and Shelley Eversley (CC ‘91) chatting up Mar Wolf (CC ‘93). new ones, it was clear that everyone was enjoying themselves—and successfully networking. Those of us who were just beginning the post-graduation job and graduate school search found it extremely helpful to hear about how other successful women began their careers and figured out their work-life balance. Recent alums were happy to give advice while networking with older alums regarding the steps following the initial entry into the “real world.” Older alums enjoyed hearing about the successes and exciting plans for the future that recent Columbia College grads were proud to share and reminiscing about the timeless Columbia experiences that keep us all connected. With this year’s great success, the CCW board plans to make the August Welcome Event an annual tradition. The CCW board’s hope was that by hosting a fun and informal event soon after graduation, Columbia College Women alums would never have to feel far from the Columbia community. The goal is for women graduates to stay connected both to each other and the Columbia community so that the fun and benefits of being part of such a great community don’t end after graduation. Although our time at Columbia may be short, it should be a lifetime experience. CCW is passionate about making this true for women graduates!
Eating Locally, Thinking Globally with Columbia College Women Claire Shanley (CC ‘92) Photos by Rebecca Castillo (CC ‘94, J ‘06)
New York City has become an epicenter of local food and wine culture.
CCW’s September spotlight event, Eating Locally, Thinking Globally, brought the New York alumni community together to explore this issue in concept and practice, including a team of Columbia University alumnae to provide insights about the bigger picture of the locavore movement. Back in April 2010, a group of Columbia alumnae began a conversation the prospect of an event about local food. After a series of meals and conversations among the five-member planning team, whose alumnae members included the classes of ’91 through ’09, the event began to take shape. With lots of legwork and the generous support of a number of sponsors, including our event site, Mae Mae Café in downtown Manhattan [owned by Great Performances Catering], we were able to realize our vision. One challenge we faced was balancing content about food issues with delicious and locally- sourced food. We chose a format that interspersed our three speakers with servings of hors d’oeuvres, each paired with a local wine. Guests arrived to a warm welcome and a glass of Roxbury Russet Sparkling Cider, a dry cider from Massachusetts. Sommelier Julia Butareva (CC’07) guided our drink selections based on the menu that Great Performances/Mae Mae Café created. This aperitif cider was paired with bar snacks of plantain chips, fried parmesan farfalle, and salted mixed nuts, which guests enjoyed during our initial two talks. From left, Morgan Whitcomb (SEAS’09), Event Cohost Shira Burton (CC’09 & part of CCW’s Membership Committee), Sumaiya Ahmed (CC’09), Priya Murthy (CC’09), and Laura Anderson (CC’09) raise a glass.
EVENTS Following my opening remarks about CCW and the start of our Fall season of events, I passed the mic to Julia, who introduced the three local wines that were paired with our hors d’oeuvres and spoke about the principles of pairing wines with food. Julia is a certified Sommelier: a summer job at a downtown wine shop during her time as a Columbia student inspired her to pursue this career. In her talk, Julia articulated the way that wine is especially compelling as a local product, as each wine’s characteristics reflect the climate, soil composition, and unique choices of the vintner- no two wines are the same. Julia wrapped up by doing the event’s first drawing: four tickets to UrbanOyster’s “Brewed in A waitress serves guests zuchinni fritters with smoked tomato jam, one of the many Brooklyn” tour. Cheers! delicious samplings of the day.
Ellen Gustafson CC’02 then spoke about her work as FEED Projects Cofounder/ Executive Director. Many of us are familiar with FEED’s bags, which are fundraisers: they have raised over four million dollars for the UN World Food Project and have provided over 102,000,000 meals for children across 89 countries. At our event, Ellen spoke about FEED’s work on hunger in the US and internationally, as well as their new 30 Project. This new endeavor examines the way that the global hunger and obesity crises both hinge on industrialized food systems. The 30 Project aims to re-regionalize food systems to make local food and seasonal eating more accessible, making healthier eating more possible. Ellen and I did a drawing for a gift certificate for 4 weeks of food delivery from Basis, who provides “Farm to Table” home produce delivery. This was the cue for serving our first wine and hors d’oeuvre, Katchkie Farm Zucchini Fritters with Smoked Tomato Jam, paired with Wolffer Estates Chardonnay. As servers circulated through the room and wine glasses were filled, Great Performances Catering’s CEO and Founder, Liz Neumark BC’77 spoke, providing the story behind the food. Great Performances is New York’s largest off-site catering company, and much of Great Performances’ food comes from the Katchkie Farm, the company’s 60 acre organic farm in Columbia County. Liz and her family also run The Sylvia Center to educate children about farming. The three hors d’oeuvres—zucchini fritters, a modern take on ﬁsh and chips, and roasted beets with blue cheese. Needless to say, everybody went for seconds (and even thirds!)
EVENTS Liz wasn’t talking about her many accomplishments, like being named one of the 100 most influential women in NYC by Crain’s, but she spoke eloquently about her motivations in running her business and its principles. From the company program which provides “scholarships” to enable employees to do their own artwork, to truly knowing where her ingredients come from, Liz firmly believes that this is a critical moment to participate in, question, and transform the relationship between people and the food they eat. While Liz continued with her talk, servers circulated with the next hors d’oeuvre, a tasty variation on fish and chips: the Montauk Cod with Blooming Hills Farm Fingerling Potato Chips and Katchkie Farm Green Herb Mayonnaise was paired with Palmer Pinot Blanc. The fish and chips were served in individual serving cups of biodegradable plastic, donated by Fabri-Kal Greenware. Ellen Gustafson (CC’02) discusses FEED Projects with event guests. Liz did two fun drawings- first, a set of the giant “Oxford Companion to Food” and the “Oxford Companion to Wine” books, provided by Oxford University Press- and second, a gift set of Hudson Whiskeys and AB Smeby bitters. When the final hors d’oeuvre, Roasted Beet cups with Chatham’s Ewe Blue Mousse and Toasted Sunflower Seeds, came out, its unique appearance caught the eye of many guests (see photo page 7). Paired with Jamestown Winery’s Cinq (a blend of five grapes), this was a rich and savory treat. After her talk, Liz led a behind-the-scenes tour of Great Performances’ full scale production facility and offices, while others relaxed in the café space and enjoyed the food. Our final speaker was Slow Food USA’s Program Manager, Jerusha Klemperer (SOA’00). Jerusha introduced a new perspective on local eating, a more personal one: it can be good for the planet, it can be good for your body, but most importantly to her, the food tastes amazing. Jerusha talked about Slow Food’s many programs, focusing on their late September “Dig In” initiative, a national day of action to connect to our food and farmers. Thousands of people across the country broke ground together at local gardens, farms and community events, and then broke bread together to celebrate. Jerusha also talked about the daily actions we can take, from composting at local Greenmarkets to having a “Meat Free Monday” (or any day of the week). When Jerusha wrapped her talk, servers passed an Apple Tarte Tatin with Crème Fraiche, a sweet and flavorful fall desSommelier Julia Buta- sert. We were also treated to a chocolate tasting reva (CC’07) introduced by Gnosis Chocolates, hosted by Lauren Gockley, the wines she selected the company’s chocolatiere,and company founder and explained the principles of pairing wine and food.
EVENTS Vanessa Barg. After tasting this intensely flavored chocolate, guests were thrilled to learn that their gift bags included a Gnosis bar. All of our guests left with a reusable gift bag from Eco-bags, filled with treats from Aveda, Basis Foods, Cavemen Cookies, Green Garmento, Liddabit Sweets, Papabubble, Raw Revolution bars, Red Flower, Tarte Cosmetics, Urban Oyster, and many more. Over the course of the event, we handed over a total of nine raffle package gifts which, in addition to the ones above, included surprises from Dr Hauschka, Tarte cosmetics, G-Star, and Mark Bittman. Many thanks to the innovative and amazingly resourceful Eating Locally, Thinking Globally planning team: Shira Burton CC’09, Shelly Eversley CC’91, Siheun Song CC’07, and Kat Vorotova CC’07. With this amazing team, we were able to bring together an outstanding group of speakers, food, and sponsors for Eating Locally, Thinking Globally.
Event speaker Liz Neumark, CEO and Founder of Great Performances Catering, led a behind-the-scenes tour of her company.
Here are a few cookbook suggestions for your own explorations of local food! Fields of Greens by Annie Sommerville Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison The Food Matters Cookbook and How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman For information about NYC’s Greenmarkets, check out www.grownyc.org grownyc.org Basis Foods offers delivery of locallygrown produce- take a look at www.basisfoods.com
Out in the World...An Interview with Mary Baird Siheun Song (CC ‘03)
Mary Baird received the Auxiliares de Conversacion Fellowship from the Government of Spain, and will spend the next 1-2 years teaching English in a bilingual school in Madrid, Spain. Having studied Flamenco dance since she was eight years old, Mary has performed professionally in various restaurants and “tablaos” throughout the tri-state area. In 2006, she was awarded the youngARTS Merit Award for Flamenco Dance and she hopes to pursue her studies while living abroad. Check out her website for photos of her past performances as well as a complete bio, or check out these youtube clips of her most recent impromptu performances in Madrid! Siheun Song: What are you reading now? Mary Baird: I’m reading Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth, I took a class at Columbia called “Re-reading the 1960s” and this was one of the books that I heard about in the class. I have a strange fascination with the 1960s because it’s a time period that’s so recent yet recondite to me. I’ve always been convinced that I was born in the wrong decade and maybe I was supposed to be a flower child of the 60s! SS: Haha. Well, flower child, how did you become a flamenco dancer? MB: I started taking dance class on the Upper West Side at Ballet Hispanico when I was 3. It was something that I really enjoyed and that really allowed me to expend my extra energy. It also made me feel so happy. When I was 8, I started with Flamenco because it was the second class they allowed me to take after a few years of Ballet. I absolutely loved it, continued studying, and started auditioning for Summer Programs in Spain. I even did an Apprenticeship with a company in NYC when I was 14. I studied for two summers in Seville, Spain, and have been back and forth to Spain just about every year since 2003.
SS: I’m sure you know a lot more than you give yourself credit! What’s the most important thing you’ve learned since graduating? MB: I think I’ve realized just how important it is to have a BA. I hear about people without their BA and how hard it is for them to find a job. While I was at Learn more about Mary and her dancing at Columbia it just felt http://mariaﬂamenco.net/ like more school... Now, I feel so proud of what I accomplished in my time at Columbia and having my degree means so much to me because it’s something that no one can ever take away from me. SS: What do you most look forward to in your first year out of school? MB: I’m so looking forward to being away from my family and from NYC for a while (that may sound bad!!) but I spent all four years of college living at home with my family in my city and I’m really looking forward to living on my own and just being more independent!
SS: It seems like you’ve found a way to strike the work/life balance between your personal passions & professional aspirations. Or does it only seem like that from an outsider’s perspective? How do you imagine your most ideal life to look? SS: What are your post-college plans? How did you find MB: Dancing all my life has really helped me to organize my time yourself there? amazingly, and I’m actually really proud to say that I never needed MB: I’m in Madrid, Spain, right now working as an English Teacher. I to pull an all-nighter EVER in all 4 years of school. I got my sleep, I have always known that I belong in Spain and that in order to pursue got my work done, I performed on the weekends, I hung out with my my love of Flamenco, I need to be here for a good amount of time. friends, and I spent time with my family. I love to be busy, so I really So, I applied for this job through the Spanish Government a little pack my days to keep myself moving but I also make sure that I get before the end of Spring semester 2010, and in July I found out that everything done. I would never sacrifice one thing for another, but I I got it. also am not going to cut something important out of my life because I’m pressed for time... I’m going to find a way to make it work! My SS: Looking back on your recent education, anything miss- ideal life would be to own my own dance school that would have a ing from the Core Curriculum? sister school in Spain so that I could constantly travel back and forth MB: I wish that there was a class on American History as a require- between NYC & Spain. ment. I feel like I learned so much at Columbia but I never took a History class and I feel a little embarrassed about how little I know. 10
Out in the World...An Interview with Professor Seidel Siheun Song (CC ‘03)
During his tenure of 30+ years at Columbia, Professor Michael Seidel served as Chair of the English Department, as well as of Literature Humanities, and as the Jesse and George Siegel Professor of the Humanities, profoundly shaping the minds of students & faculty alike. Professor Seidel is a prominent scholar on James Joyce, and his published works also include the biographies of Joe DiMaggio & Ted Williams. Recently, he retired to join his wife, Eileen Mullady, who founded The Pacific Ridge School, a brand new independent middle and high school in California. But, you can still take an e-seminar on Ulysses right here: http://cero.columbia. edu/1003
clear the cobwebs in my brain by beginning a course of study in a discipline long ago abandoned by me.
SS: I’ve always been a math-averse student; I’m keenly aware of the lurking spiders...Thankfully, the Core Curriculum does make you aware of the importance of being conversant in a variety of fields. What would you say might be missing from Core? MS: I always added Milton’s Paradise Lost to Lit Hum instead of a modern text. But if I were to add modern texts, modern drama is woefully underrepresented. In CC perhaps I would add sections of Giambattista Vico’s New Science. These choices are fine-tuning, though, and not a major overhaul. I think the reading lists for the Siheun Song: What are you reading now? Core are first-rate. As for general emphasis in liberal education, Professor Michael Seidel: Clive James’ Cultural Amnesia. His book the idea of science literacy appeals to me. Columbia College has is organized around wonderful analyses of twentieth-century writ- recently engaged that matter and should keep doing so. ers I should have read but never did. Most are brilliant humanists who detest totalitarian ideologies of any stripe. Many are east SS: One noticeable change in recent years is that there European women and men writers steeped in their own cultural are more women than ever on campus. Do you have any memories. It’s an amazing compendium of writers, filled with wit comments on the dynamics of change as more women and passion (the book and the writers). As for contemporary fic- enter higher academics? tion, I stick to the Booker Prize nominees. The Brits usually get it MS: I hope that women scholars are not as insular or wedded to right. And I re-read 18th and 19th century fiction constantly. the archaic in academia. Maybe they will help in taking a new look, for example, at the institution of tenure (which takes up so much SS: Which historical figures influenced you the most time and assures so much inequity). growing up? MS: FDR morning, noon, and night. And the war-time Churchill SS: That reminds me of a comment I heard last year by (most decidedly, not the peace-time Churchill). Why? Both FDR and a NYU professor... Who knows if “The Great Recession” Churchill acted and spoke with such conviction and flourish. would’ve played out differently with more women CEOs! Do you have any advice for recent graduates? SS: We’ve both been away from campus for a few years MS: Be ethical as well as professional. Good things come from now. What do you miss most about Columbia? thinking carefully about why and how you act. Others truly appreciMS: Surely, its students. ate ethical and professional behavior, no matter what you do for a There are brains galore on living. campus -- but the students as a group are an inspiring SS: Do you have any theories for the future - wacky or memory and I miss them. serious? MS: I know I should predict gene therapy, interstellar exploration, SS: I would have to agree! renewable energy. But really the only tangible future I want to preWhat would be the most dict is a grandchild of some sort. My wife demands one soon from important thing you’ve any of our four marriageable sons. learned since leaving? MS: Strangely enough, math. SS: Professor, one more question in closing... I hear great Having taken my last math things about life in the West Coast. What’s it like over class in 1963, I decided to there? MS: Let me just speak metaphorically and let you expand the metaProfessor Seidel poses for phor any way you wish (spatially, mentally). Life in California is the camera. horizontal; in New York vertical. 11
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
How to Make the Most of your Mentor Sarah Weiss (CC ‘10)
1. on’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: While at times, we all like to muster the strength to push through our own challenges alone, the foundation to a successful mentorship is not being afraid to ask for help. Your mentor is an extraordinary woman. She has navigated through the challenges of nabbing her first job, succeeded in the workplace, and learned how to maintain a healthy work-life balance. She is there to help you and watch you thrive. Include her in your search for your next great move – ask her to look over resumes and cover letters, help prep for interviews or refer you to experts in the field. 2. Put Time Into Your Mentor Relationship: A good mentoring relationship also takes time to build. Be sure to carve out time in your schedule to meet with your mentor. Phone conversations are great substitutes if schedules get busy, but do try to make time to sit down and see your mentor in person. Those face-to-face meetings are valuable times to check-in emotionally and really connect with your mentor. Your mentor is also quite busy, so be respectful of her time as well. Always respond to her e-mails within 24 hours and make sure to follow through with scheduled meetings. Be courteous and professional when she has put you in contact with a colleague or a friend. 3. Come Prepared to Mentor Meetings: While a mentor is there as a guide throughout this process, as a mentee you are also responsible to come prepared to meet with your mentor. If you are speaking with your mentor about possible jobs to apply for, come Mentee Sarah Weiss (CC’10) with her Mentor, Julia Werb (CC’06), to the meeting with research of possible firms or specific questions at the Mentoring Spring Brunch in April 2010. you might have about a certain type of work. Ask yourself those difficult questions about what type of career you might see yourself in or what type of work environment you would do well in. Having put prior thought into those questions will yield a more fruitful conversation with your mentor. 4. Get to Know Your Mentor, Personally: Like any relationship, connections happen when you spend time getting to know them. Be sure to learn from your mentor about her career path, her challenges, and her tips for success. Spend time during your conversations to learn more about each other. Ask your mentor about her family, her favorite foods, and what makes her tick. Post-college life, and much of a senior year in college probes into difficult questions about life choices – where you want to live, how you want to spend your time, and with whom you want to share these new moments. And these questions can be deeply emotional and personal. Your mentor too has gone through these significant life changes also and can help to sift through these questions and concerns. 5. Let Your Mentor Know How Much You Appreciate Them: It is incredible gift and wealth of opportunity to have a female mentor at this stage in life. Your mentor is there to help you succeed and watch you thrive - and you too can be a valuable source of support for her as well. Let your mentor know how much you appreciate her guidance and support. Write a thank you note, send e-mail, mail her a birthday card on her special day. Mentors and (mentees) are more often than not, busy people. Thank her and let her know much you value her direction and time.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Insights on Mentoring Claire Shanley (CC’92), interviewing Julia Werb (CC’06)
CC’06 participated in CCW Mentoring as a student, and the 2009-2010 cycle was her first year as a mentor. We had a great conversation at the Spring Brunch, and I reached out to Julia for her insights about mentoring and her advice for mentors in this seventeenth year of CCW Mentoring. When asked to describe her job, Julia replies, “to quote 30 Rock, ‘Cross-promotional...deal mechanics...revenue streams...jargon...synergy.’ These are words I honestly use almost every day.” For nearly three years, she has been a part of the Strategy & Operations Consulting Practice at Deloitte Consulting LLP. In her role as a Deloitte Fellow, she focuses on a framework for clients thinking through tough questions related to growth. Good mentors have their own mentors Coming to CCW as a mentor, Julia has been lucky to have what she calls “a small army of mentors” in her life. She cites her first mentor as her mother, a ground-breaker who attended MIT in the 1970’s as one of just a few women in the architecture program. Julia finds that she can reach out to the woman she describes as “a loving, caring and well-balanced person” to talk about anything from work to personal life. In addition to family, Julia is quick to mention that her colleagues from Columbia are central to her network- she says, “I rely heavily upon my peers from to help guide me and to talk through all my concerns from jobs to boys to restaurants.” In a professional context, Deloitte has provided Julia with formal and informal mentors, one of which has served as Julia’s primary mentor, and has become a friend, in the past 4 years since graduation. Breaking the ice... The conversation with your student mentee can begin with what you share in common- your experiences at Columbia. When Julia met her student, Sarah Weiss CC’10, one of their first discussions was about their mutual love of the Core Curriculum. Says Julia, “We talked about Art Hum, Music Hum and Philosophy. The Core is something that we all share and is a great way to break the ice. Once we had shared our ideas about the Core and had a fascinating academic conversation (which I hadn’t had in years!) we moved onto how we grew up, short-term career goals, personal lives and much more. “ Getting to know your student mentee requires being proactive. Julia suggests even short emails saying “Hey, how’s it going?”—they can help to build a foundation. Reaching out to your mentee as much as you can will fortify that groundwork. Keeping in touch In reflecting on contact with a student, Julia emphasizes the value of “meeting in the good times and the bad. Don’t wait until your mentee has a crisis, set up time to talk even when things are going well. This will build a foundation of trust and will also let you get to know your mentee so that you can help provide more solid advice when there is a situation where she needs you.“ With Julia’s intense work, travel, and personal schedule and Sarah’s very full life as a CC Senior, the pair met up in-person as often as possible. They also used phone calls and email to stay in touch, especially when Julia was on the road for work. While meeting in-person is great, Julia encourages a multi-media approach: “If Sarah and I had tried to only meet in person, we would never have connected.” Mentor Experience and Insights When Julia began mentoring in October 2009, she recalls, “I remember coming into the mentoring relationship expecting it to be one-sided. How wrong I was... Sarah provided me with as much support and guidance as I provided to her, which really drove a meaningful mentor relationship as well as friendship.“ Julia also has learned about herself by mentoring. She explained, “my relationship with Sarah reminded me how much I appreciate learning.” Realizing that she missed academic work, this led Julia to a decision to apply to graduate school. Mentoring is a learning experience for both parties, and Julia cautions against thinking that the mentor always needs to have the answer: “your mentee will not expect that you have a solid answer to all her questions. She will likely want a sounding board to bounce ideas off of someone who has a different, perhaps more experienced, perspective.” There is also a wealth of resources available to CCW Mentors in fellow alumnae mentors—Julia enthused, “they are all tremendous and have their own great tips!” Here’s to a great year of mentoring ahead!
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Interviewing Tips JC Kole (TC ‘00)
J.C. is an international training and development specialist with an M.A. and an Ed.M in counseling psychology from Columbia University. J.C. has extensive experience running assessment centers and conducting last-round, behavioral-based interviews. Tips for Interviewers 1. Avoid hiring in your own likeness, you replicate your strengths as well as your weaknesses. We are hiring people because they posses the knowledge, competencies and skills we desire, not because we “liked” them or felt we might get along well. Look to add diversity to your team and organization, not clones. 2. Don’t have candidates “walk you through” their resume. This is a colossal waste of time and it puts the candidate in control of the interview. If there is one thing almost all candidates can do, it is speak to the resume they have created and memorized. Better to ask specific questions about things you are concerned or curious about on their resume. 3. Use Behavioral Based Questions whenever possible. Instead of asking “Do you have experience using Excel and some of its more advanced functions?” ask “Tell me about a recent project you worked on whereby you used Excel. What was the project? Walk me through the steps you took using Excel.” Your focus should be on actual experiences from the past in order to predict how they might perform in the future. What specifically did they do? Why? What was the outcome? 4. Ask, don’t tell. Instead of beginning an interview by telling the candidate about the nature of the position as well as the organization as a whole, ask them. Example – “Tell me a bit about what you know about our organization.” “What is your understanding of the position you have applied for?” Both of these questions are great ways of assessing if they are serious about being there and it also tells you if they are the type of person who does their due-diligence. Are they prepared or just winging it? If they are winging it in an interview they certainly will follow suit on the job. 5. Talk less! The more you talk the less you assess and learn. You should ask a question, probe and then listen. Most interviewers talk too much, a good ratio is 80/20, with you speaking 20% of the time, mostly at the begging to set the stage and towards the end to sell the organization and discuss next steps.
Tips for Interviewees 1. Be prepared. Do research on the company, the department if possible and even the people you will be meeting with. Read about recent developments in the news over the past 6 months. Now about new developments in the company and the respective market. Do your homework and when given the opportunity show that you in fact have come prepared. 2. Have a list of quality questions you wish to ask the interviewer(s). A simple question like “What’s it like to work here, how would you describe the culture?” not only opens up the conversation but also gives you invaluable information for the all-important question – Do I want to work here? A poor question is one that asks about salary, benefits or vacation time. These questions should be directed to someone in HR, not the interviewer. 3. Be professional. Be on time (in fact early at least 15 minutes so you can settle in and focus), be dressed in your bests – it says a lot. Present yourself as organized, have a neat folder with numerous clean copies of your resume, some paper and pen to take notes (ask first) and a sheet with questions you would like to ask them. There are no second chances with first impressions, make a strong, positive one. Avoid using the phrases “like”, “you know”, “kinda”. Be polished. 4. Be prepared to share detailed stories about past experiences. Think about important and significant projects you have worked on with others, have numerous examples. Think about what I call the STAR Format, which focuses on: S/T – What was the situation or task, give a bit of context and set the stage. A – What specific actions did you take, what did you (not the team) do and why? R – What were the results? How did you measure this? 5. Be aware of your body language and mirror the interviewer when appropriate. Things such as eye contact, posture, greetings and handshakes, and fidgeting send strong messages to people, who often unconsciously use this information to make a decision. Sustain eye contact without giving people too strong of a glare. Sit up and lean forward a bit when speaking to the interviewer. Have a somewhat firm handshake but no need to break someone’s hand. Avoid fidgeting, playing with your hair or pen. Be centered, focused and engaged.