Panel discusses women leaders

” Thursday night women and men gathered at the University of Akron Martin Center for the third annual Women Trailblazers event. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a trailblazer as someone who blazes a trail to guide others, or a pioneer. The five women that served on this year’s panel were trailblazers in their own way.”

Thursday night women and men gathered at the University of Akron Martin Center for the third annual Women Trailblazers event.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a trailblazer as someone who blazes a trail to guide others, or a pioneer. The five women that served on this year’s panel were trailblazers in their own way.

This year’s panel included Theresa Carter from OMNOVA solutions, Marigold Linton from the University of Kansas and Lisa Vidacs from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. The panel also included two women from the University of Akron, Dr. Helen Qammar Director for Institute for Teaching & Learning and associate professor of chemical and Bimolecular engineering and Dr. Cynthia Capers, interm dean of the college of education.

The panel consisted of women of different ages and backgrounds, often speaking of how their pasts shaped their futures.

I was determined not to go to school in Pennsylvania, Capers said.

Carter told of how her intended career path turned into a completely different one. In college, she was a broadcast journalism major; she spoke of her trip from the University of Alabama to Northeast Ohio with her one broadcast tape. When her tape was taken by a local TV station she looked to a temporary work agency. She found work at General Tire and began climbing her way through the company.

Qammer spoke of her grandparents who immigrated from Ireland and about being the seventh of nine children in her family.

I can not say I have had obstacles myself but, I have seen obstacles, she said laughing.

While most of the talk remained light-hearted and fun, certain topics called for more serious tones, including the question of whether they see a difference in the treatment of men and women.

One pointed to the idea that women are often asked if they can have it all, career and family, where most had never heard of a male being asked that question.

Carter continued that point by stating that females are often seen as being either too hard or too soft.

We have to find that balance, she said.

One point raised was how much having a mentor affected their careers. Each pointed to different people they had mentor them at points in their life, they all stated the importance of having someone to look up to.

Having a mentor makes such a big difference, Vidacs said.

Linton backed up that point by stating that there are no requirements for a mentor.

You can get mentoring from an gender, ethnicity or age, she said.

One of the biggest advantages to having a mentor, they help introduce you to people you do not know.

The women were asked about their goals for the future and their responses were as diverse as they are.

I expect to do many things, Linton said referring her future plans without naming specifics.

It is not about the goal, it’s about moving forward, Qammer said.

After the formal talk ended, the audience received the opportunity to ask the panelist a few questions of their own.

The women answered questions ranging from if they believed there was a chance for a female president in the upcoming years. Carter pointed to the last presidential election’s catch phrase of yes we can while Capers pointed out criticism or jokes made about women. Her solution, own that women suffer from premenstrual syndrome but do not let others get away with using PMS as an excuses.

They also explained their secrets to balancing their work and personal lives.

If you have that great partner the balance comes naturally, Linton said referring to her husband.

While both Capers and Vidacs spoke of planning for events and projects ahead of time and even doing the assignments early.

The panelist offered some good advice to those that attended, however, Qammer stated the tone for the night best.

Who says you cannot.