As part of its ongoing efforts to highlight the unique and diverse perspectives of all business leaders, Fisher College of Business recently provided its students, alumni and friends with a number of opportunities to engage with some of the most prominent women business leaders from a variety of industries across the country.

“As a college community, we recognize the impact and insights that business leaders of all kinds can provide to our students,” said Steffanie Wilk, associate dean for diversity and inclusion. “We are both proud and fortunate to be able to bring to campus women who have built successful careers and created and transformed businesses. Engaging with these leaders adds an important element to the educational experiences of our students.”

Undergraduate and graduate students heard from Ohio State alumnae Paula Bennett (BSBA ’71) and Jane Grote Abell (BS ’88) in a series of discussions on campus. Bennett, president and CEO of J. Jill, shared her journey from Ohio State through the retail industry and eventually to her leadership position at J. Jill, a leader in women’s fashion. She spoke to students about the importance of knowing a brand’s customers and how critical data and analytics is to building and growing a company.

Paula Bennett
Paula Bennett (BSBA '71), CEO of J. Jill

Grote Abell, chairwoman of the board of Donatos Pizza, met with graduate students inside Mason Hall, where she talked about the leadership qualities necessary in the company’s acquisition by McDonald’s and its subsequent buyback. Grote Abell also spoke of the importance that values such as culture and mission have had at Donatos.

Jane Grote Abell
Jane Grote Abell (BS '88), chairwoman of Donato's Pizza

Fisher’s Graduate Women in Business, a student organization that builds awareness of women in leadership positions, recently welcomed Cheryl Krueger for a small-group discussion. Krueger, the founder of Cheryl’s Cookies, spoke of the challenges and strategies she encountered creating and operating her own business. She also discussed the importance of corporate social responsibility, an issue that drove her decision-making following the sale of Cheryl’s Cookies to 1-800-Flowers in 2005.

Cheryl Krueger
Cheryl Krueger, founder of Cheryl's Cookies

“Hearing Cheryl talk about the hiring advice that she was given from Steve Jobs—would I want this person to raise my son or daughter—was such an interesting thought,” said Holly Honroth, president of Fisher’s Graduate Women in Business. “As a soon-to-be marketing professional, I enjoyed learning about the business and branding decisions she and her team made. Having the ability to listen and learn from amazing business leaders like Cheryl is just one of the reasons Fisher is such a wonderful program.”

In the classroom, female undergraduate students interested in careers in supply chain are taking advantage of a new initiative aimed at increasing the number of female students in the field. The Pathways for Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain launched this year with a cohort of eight first-year students. The program, funded by The Motorists Insurance Group and Wendy’s Quality Supply Chain Cooperative, provides students with opportunities to connect with supply chain organizations through exclusive events.

Fisher College of Business Pathways for Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Program
Sponsors and participants of the Pathways for Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain program

Fisher events that highlight the perspectives of women in business also extend beyond the classroom to include students, alumni and business leaders from throughout central Ohio. Nearly 50 of them packed the Rotunda for a recent Breakfast Briefing hosted by the college.

The panel discussion featured alumnae Christina Alutto (MBA ’14), Vandana Agrawal (MBA ’10) and Margaret Meyer (MBA ’10) and was moderated by Jamie Mathews-Mead, senior director of Fisher’s Graduate Career Management. The women shared their personal experiences and advice for others in navigating the business world.