Park Perspectives: Johnson women and our allies
My first introduction to Johnson was through a female alumna whom I worked with prior to business school. She knew my passion for working in teams and my desire to build a business acumen, so she encouraged me to apply to attend the annual Johnson Women in Business (JWiB) event. She emphasized the positives of the event as a chance to explore Cornell’s campus and get to know the female community at Johnson.
First impressions: Johnson Women in Business
Upon my admission to the event, I received a warm and welcoming email from three first-year Johnson women who would be hosting me at their apartment for the JWiB Conference weekend. Arriving at their apartment in Ithaca, they greeted me with smiles, an eagerness to get to know me, and a delicious, warm plate of chocolate chip cookies. As a naturally skeptical person, I could not initially understand their hospitality. Why were these three women, whom I had never met before, interested in staying awake well past midnight to tell me about their MBA experiences and answer my (many) questions about Johnson?
My first weekend in Ithaca as a participant of JWiB was one I will never forget. Through interactions with other alumna and current Johnson students, I quickly realized how driven, resilient, intelligent, and empowering the women at Johnson are. This collaborative community was something I could see myself joining and fully embracing.
Like many MBA candidates, I visited other campuses and participated in similar events. However, I could not ignore the energy and excitement I left Johnson feeling (something no other program elicited in me). I received an invitation to interview for admission at Johnson and once again was welcomed by the same three first-year hostesses, who excitedly cheered for me and encouraged my success!
The importance of male allies
While I initially thought it was the female-specific community at Johnson that I wanted to be a part of, it was not until I returned to Ithaca to interview for admission a few months later that I realized how inclusive and complementary male allies at Johnson are. The male students I interacted with exuded the desire to learn, understand, and assist the female MBA experience, and the Johnson faculty and administration clearly supported and encouraged these sentiments.
Upon receiving admission to Johnson, my acceptance of the offer was nearly instantaneous. The opportunity to be part of the Johnson community, as well as my desire to emulate the Johnson alumna who originally encouraged me to visit, drove my decision to matriculate.
Immersing myself: Ithaca and Zoom
This fall, I had the opportunity to immerse myself into the Johnson community both virtually and in person. I joined the Women’s Management Council as well as the Sage Sisters Program, designed to connect first- and second-year women via matching, specific to similar interests and backgrounds. Through recruiting events, I had the opportunity to connect with dozens of Johnson alumna, in groups and individually, and have been struck by the determination, support, and kindness each has shown. The willingness to connect, and mutual support that I have experienced from Johnson alumni (men and women alike) has undoubtedly defined my first semester.
The unparalleled connection and welcoming reception encouraged my desire to give back, and one aspect of my goal is leading Johnson’s Women’s Management Council as President in 2021. I hope to continue WMC’s mission of providing opportunities and resources that empower Johnson women and their allies through connection, inclusion, and advancement, and hope to inspire other prospective and first-year Johnson women to feel as welcome and encouraged as I have.