Community Engagement

Women in Business: Mentorship Matters

The Women in Business mentor program creates a dynamic network of experienced women business professionals paired with female undergraduate business students to magnify career success for mentors and mentees

Two women smiling.

Rebecca (Braga) Stoutenger, ACC ’13/MAcc ’14, (left) found being a mentor empowering. She and her mentee, Shea Allor (right), grew from the mentorship experience. (Photo Credit: Sarah Swarz)

icon of a calendarApril 7, 2020

icon of a pencilBy Sarah Swarz

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As more women are climbing the leadership ladder, they are discovering how the power of mentorship magnifies career success and satisfaction for the mentor and mentee. It also
creates a continuum where professionals who benefited as mentees pay it forward as mentors.

That’s the shift a new Women in Business (WIB) mentor program at OU’s School of Business seeks to maximize by creating a dynamic network of experienced women business professionals paired with female undergraduate business students.

That satisfaction is exactly what mentor Meghan (Chamberlain) MacDonald, MKT ’12, experienced as a member of the pilot program. “Many people played an influential role in shaping my career. I embraced getting involved in this mentor program to pay it forward,” says MacDonald, chief of staff, Bosch. “To my surprise, it was much more. Nothing compares to the mentor-mentee relationship.”

The mentors and mentees in the program echo that sentiment, recognizing the benefits span beyond the formal program.

“Empowering” is how Rebecca (Braga) Stoutenger, ACC ’13/MAcc ’14, describes the feeling of sharing her career triumphs and obstacles while guiding her first mentee through an internship search and interviews. “I loved watching my mentee grow,” adds Stoutenger, finance leader, American Axle & Manufacturing. “I’m proud to provide her advice, then watch her use it to be successful. She has grown so much as a professional.”

Her mentee, Shea Allor, project management major, appreciates the valuable counsel Stoutenger shared. “It was a great opportunity to ask questions and gain insight from someone who has real experience,” Allor says. Allor credits the program and Stoutenger for equipping her with the confidence to navigate future career challenges.

Two women posing.
The connection Kristiana Bozinovski (left), MIS major, formed with mentor Meghan MacDonald (right), MKT ‘12, proved pivotal to helping Bozinovski launch her career. (Photo Credit: Sarah Swarz)

Beyond providing her mentee, Kristiana Bozinovski, then a senior in management information systems, with guidance on landing her first career position, MacDonald encouraged Bozinovski through the transition from student to professional. “I saw myself in her,” MacDonald says. “I remember how I felt in the months leading up to graduation — as though the whole world was changing.”

That connection proved pivotal to launching Bozinovski’s career. During her job search, when Bozinovski learned of opportunities that meshed with her qualifications and career goals she sought MacDonald’s advice and inspiration.

“Meghan mentored me through the stages of searching for my next opportunity, and supported me through preparing for interviews, and reviewing and negotiating offers,” Bozinovski says.

Following the successful pilot with eight mentor-mentee pairs,the program is expanded to
provide more emerging and established professionals the chance to hone their skills and grow their network.

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