A balanced business: Manning Women in Business Club

The newly opened Pulichino Tong Business Center located on UMass Lowell’s North Campus. (Courtesy of Lee Kennedy)

Kelly Skelton
Connector Contributor

With a goal of encouraging more women to enter the world of business, a new club has formed that seeks to unite ambitious businesswomen and foster their success.

In spring 2016, Kellsie Howard said she felt inspired after hearing several female speakers present at an Institute for Management Accountants event. Howard says she knew immediately that she wanted to bring an element of female empowerment into UMass Lowell.

Noticing a roughly 70-30 ratio of males to female, Howard took initiative. She contacted the Manning School of Business’ (MSB) Dean Sandra Richtermeyer and explained her idea, an organization that promoted more women to pursue business degrees.

Richtermeyer said she was thrilled with the idea and provided guidance for establishment. Howard conducted research of like-minded organizations at University of Connecticut, Boston University, Boston College and Harvard University.

After Howard had gathered advice and insight, Richtermeyer added another contribution and recommended Elissa Magnant, a professor of business ethics at the MSB to assume the role of faculty advisor for this emerging group, the Manning Women in Business.

In regard group’s message and future, faculty advisor Elissa Magnant said, “I was drawn to this position because of my love for the environment and growth here at UMass Lowell. I wanted to see more women incorporated into the business school in an exciting and positive way.”
The opportunity of faculty advisor came as a new venture for Magnant. “We conducted interviews of interested students last semester to best fit people’s skill sets, we have created a diverse board.”

Past experiences will fuel Magnant’s influence on the Manning Women in Business dynamics. “I look to incorporate ethics across the entire university, that meaning all majors, with my focus on mediation and collaboration” she said.

The Manning Women in Business look to contribute to the university and its members’ successes through their work.

“We are striving to increase the number of women at the school by giving back to the community and establishing relationships with firms,” said Howard on the organization’s mission.

Furthermore, the mission statement notes that the diversification of race, age and majors will play a key role in the networking capabilities of those involved.

The group is managed by 12 students including six e-board members, three junior e-board members and three committee members.

Howard addressed concerns of male member discouragement with a welcoming approach. “This organization is open to students of any gender and any major. We strongly encourage our members to be philanthropy-minded and interested in networking opportunities” said Howard.

Students have been receptive of the organization’s purpose as attendance has averaged 40 students in their first few meetings. The team hopes to achieve more growth as awareness spreads throughout the campus.

The Manning Women in Business will be welcoming in speakers from Putnam Investments, Kronos and DifferenceMaker this semester. The newly established organization has meetings on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 5-6 p.m.

In addition, Howard and her team are planning events throughout local communities. Their first community outreach project will be attending the fifth Annual Walk and Wag for Veterans event with Operation Delta Dog on Nov. 11.

Students interested in joining are urged to contact Founder/President Howard by email: Kellsie_howard@student.uml.edu.

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