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SBLA Holds Women's Career Panel

CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy’s Student Business and Logistics Association held a career panel titled “Women in Logistics and Business” Thursday Nov. 9 in the BIW Building.

The panel included four women who have achieved a high level of success in careers which have historically been male dominated. The event was designed to get students, particularly females, to analyze the challenges of working in such a work force and how overcoming these challenges can impact their future and the future of the industry as more women get involved.

 The panelists included: Janine Cary, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a bachelors’ of arts in economics and French and currently serves on the board for the Maine Port Authority; Rebecca Daly, a graduate of MMA with a bachelors’ of science in international business and logistics and currently serves as the corporate proposal manager at Cianbro; Robin Roberts, a graduate of Husson University and currently manages seven account representatives in Maine for UPS; and Lisa Roy, a graduate of Husson College with a bachelors’ of science in computer information systems, a masters degree in business from Husson University and currently serves as the chief technology officer at MMA.

The panel addressed a full Humanities Lab Lecture Hall by sharing their personal journey that got them to where they are today and covered a variety of challenges they faced ranging from being a working mother to managing men their father’s age.

“I was twenty-three years old trying to tell men that were my dad’s age, ‘you should really be using the hand rail, even though you’ve been doing this for twenty years, because you’re going to hurt your back,’” said Roberts reflecting on her job as a supervisor at UPS shortly after graduation from Husson.

The panel members also shared stories that reflected similar difficulties that students and recent graduates are facing now.

“When I got out of school, much like the market is now, we were going through a pretty severe recession,” said Janine Cary. “It was very, very difficult to find a job.”

“Being a woman, I have to tell you, the first thing I had people come in and ask me was how many words a minute I could type, and if I knew how to serve coffee, and all these skillsets that didn’t really seem commiserate with what I had studied,” added Cary.

Following the panel’s discussion, the floor was opened for a question and answer session for the students in attendance.

One attendee asked the female panelists what advice they would give to the male students who would be entering a career field that may not me so male dominant in the future.

Throughout the panel, the unanimous response was strong communication. They believe, through personal experience, that men and women communicate differently and it is important to understand how your supervisors, peers, and subordinates communicate so there is no misunderstanding.

Cary emphasized this point by encouraging students to put down their cell phones and step away from their e-mail and learn to communicate face-to-face.

As the event concluded, several students remained behind to approach the panelists to ask any remaining questions, ask for advice, and exchange contact information.

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