Commerce_24_03 | Page 16



Rutgers ‘ Center Empowers Women for Careers in Business

By Diane Walsh Editor , COMMERCE

When Mona Mehvash stepped into a new position , she faulted herself for accepting assignments too quickly .

“ It was hard for me to say no ,” said the business planning and development manager , who despite years of experience at a communications giant , was feeling uncomfortable .
She brought the situation ’ s challenges to her mentoring group at the Rutgers Center for Women in Business . Through the GROW ( Gaining and Retain Outstanding Women ) small group discussions offered by the center , Mehvash developed the confidence and communication skills to be more discerning . She learned to “ pause for a moment and ask , just what is this task and is there value to it .”
Before accepting projects , Mehvash now weighs how it will affect her , her team and her family obligations . She is setting parameters too .
“ It ’ s been eye-opening ,” she said . The experience is making her a better manager . “ I have to overcome some hurdles . But slowly and surely , I ’ m moving in the right direction .”
Mehvash ’ s progress exhilarates Lisa Kaplowitz , the founder and executive director of the Center for Women in Business , who is also an associate professor in the finance and economics department at Rutgers Business School .
Kaplowitz wanted to target Mehvash ’ s exact demographic when she established the center in 2019 – a mid-career woman at a managerial level with 10 to 15 years of experience , who wants to scale-up while also juggling family , community , and social demands .
One of the pillars of the women ‘ s center is to build community among the participants .
“ Our mission is three-fold and we ’ re doing it through education , opportunity and thought leadership ,” Kaplowitz said . “ We are removing barriers , building community and empowering women with confidence and skills .”
The center ’ s core values drew Rutgers alumnae , Katie Stratton , to become a founding board member . Stratton is the chief growth officer for Shipt , the retail technology company offering same and next day delivery services .
A staunch advocate for gender equity , Stratton focuses on fund-raising to maintain and expand the center ’ s reach .
Stratton has attained a C-suite position in her early 40s and she attributes much of her success to having developed a support network . “ I want to be able to provide that support and help for others ” she said . The board member is proud of the studies conducted by the center . “ It ’ s important to deliver real actionable research that will go from academic to industry .”
Advocating for women has always been one of Kaplowitz ’ s passions also . As a student athlete at Brown University , Kaplowitz was part of landmark Title IX case before the
The programs offered by the Center for Women in Business targets mid-career women executives .
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