UMD’s Smith School of Business Makes Pledge to Women

UMD’s Smith School of Business Makes Pledge to Women


The Robert H. Smith School of Business takes personally the challenges faced by women in business.–Courtesy of UMD

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Feb. 16, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Women remain underrepresented in MBA programs across the United States, but the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is pledging to close the gap within five years. The school will announce its 50/50 by 2020 Pledge on March 5, 2015, during the school’s fourth annual Women Leading Women symposium and International Women’s Day celebration. The 2020 target will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guarantees U.S. women the right to vote.

“Many business schools talk about their commitment to women,” Smith Dean Alex Triantis said. “Now it is time to deliver results. Working together with public, private and social sector organizations, we will do what it takes to attract and advance more women in business careers.”

As an early step toward 50/50 by 2020, the Smith School became an educational partner of the Forté Foundation in 2014. The consortium of corporations, business schools and nonprofit organizations works to empower women in the workplace. At Smith, this will mean access to new scholarships, events and career opportunities for women. Other 50/50 by 2020 initiatives will focus on three priorities identified by a panel of faculty, staff, students and alumni called the Women’s Initiative Board. These focus areas include:

Recruiting and admissions. The Smith School is working to make business school more attractive for women through scholarships, fellowships, women-only information sessions, and more flexible program offerings.

Student programming. The Smith School supports its women MBA candidates with professional development, networking and information events. Besides Women Leading Women, these include a salary negotiation seminar, women’s speaker series, women-only corporate networking events and women MBA symposia. New or recent initiatives include Lean In Circles, fireside chats, mini-podcasts and Forté Foundation events, including an MBA career fair for women.  Smith’s Association of Women MBAs (SAWMBA) also provides opportunities for networking and professional growth.

Alumni support. The Smith School will ramp up its Women’s Alumni Network, creating new mentorship and career coaching opportunities.

Other efforts are described at, where the school will post updates on the 50/50 by 2020 pledge. “We are asking women what they need from business school, and we are responding,” said Smith Vice Dean Joyce E.A. Russell, who leads the Women’s Initiative Board.

Women earn a majority of college degrees at all levels in North America, but the trend does not extend to business schools. The 2014 Business School Data Guide from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), reports 30 percent to 40 percent female enrollment for most North American MBA programs. At the Smith School, women in the full-time, part-time, online and executive MBA programs represented 31 percent of enrollment in fall 2013 and 32 percent in fall 2014.

Women Leading Women
What: Free event for women, featuring keynote speaker Andrea Brody, Smith School alumna and Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for BravoSolution
When: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, March 5, 2015
Where: Frank Auditorium, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park

CEOs Sign OIWC Pledge to Advance Women’s Leadership in the Outdoor Industry

SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Jerry Stritzke, CEO and president of REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), was joined by 13 industry CEOs who signed a pledge to accelerate women’s leadership in their companies. In addition to the pledge, developed by the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), Stritzke announced a major initiative to spark innovation and mentor women entrepreneurs, supported by a $1.5 million grant.

CEOs who have already signed the pledge lead organizations including Active Interest Media, Advanced Sports–Fuji Bikes, American Alpine Club, Backcountry, Burton Snowboards, CamelBak, The North Face, NPD Group, Outdoor Research, Patagonia, REI, SmartWool, W.L. Gore & Associates, and Wolverine Worldwide.

“Change starts at the top, and coming together like we have is a testament to the strength of our shared values. I encourage other leaders in our industry to join in this commitment,” said Stritzke. “This work will change the nature of innovation and leadership in our industry, which is a big part of the U.S. economy, supporting 6.1 million jobs.”

“We’re thrilled that these companies are making this a visible priority,” said Deanne Buck, Executive Director of the OIWC. “We’ll be stronger and more innovative as an industry if we build an environment where great ideas born from a diversity of experiences thrive.”

The REI Foundation is awarding the OIWC a Mary Anderson Legacy Grant of $1.5 million to fund this effort. Mary and Lloyd Anderson co-founded REI in 1938. As one of REI’s first leaders, Mary helped frame what today is the country’s largest outdoor consumer co-op and a community of more than 5 million active members. The grant is a catalyst to unleash the talent of women and spur ideas and will be used in three ways:

1) Building programs and services for the industry—OIWC will provide the industry with valuable research, tools, best practices, and resources to better serve women leaders.

2) Offering match funding—REI will match up to $500,000 for new companies who join OIWC’s powerful member network or elevate their level of membership.

3) Creating new opportunities for entrepreneurial women—Leaders of the outdoor industry are launching a new initiative to jumpstart creativity and entrepreneurism among women. Participants will have an opportunity to pitch ideas in live advisory sessions with senior industry executives twice annually. Ideas put forward can be for new products or services – or even how to change the industry. This initiative goes hand in hand with a robust mentoring program that will be run in parallel.

“Companies with more women leaders also enjoy strong financial performance,” adds Buck. “One of the biggest challenges facing outdoor companies is competition for high-quality talent. This grant will give us the momentum we need to make the outdoor industry the employer of choice for women.”

ANNpower Launches Search for Girls Who Want to Change the World

ANNpower Launches Search for Girls Who Want to Change the World


Camille, 2014 Grantee, Photo courtesy of

50 Young Women to be Selected for Leadership Training and Mentorship 

NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative announced today that it is launching its fourth annual search in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada for the next generation of women leaders. Now throughMarch 8, 2015, girls who are high school sophomores and juniors can apply at to become an ANNpower Fellow and receive leadership training and mentorship by global women leaders. The Initiative is a partnership between ANN INC., the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and Vital Voices Global Partnership, a leading non-governmental organization.

“I think everyone knows a girl who has the potential to change the world,” said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC. “These are the talented young women we’re looking for to apply to become ANNpower Fellows. We want to invest in their ability to affect global progress by giving them the power to transform their communities and become leaders.”

50 new ANNpower Fellows will be selected from a highly competitive application process to participate in the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., June 14 – 17, 2015. At the Forum, the Fellows will meet and learn from influential and celebrated women leaders in business, politics, and media from across the globe, as well as executives from ANN INC., including the Company’s President and CEO, Kay Krill. The curriculum equips young women with skills they need to realize their full potential as future leaders.

Following the Forum, the Fellows will be challenged to put their training into action by developing projects that address societal issues and applying for ANNpower Grants to implement their ideas. To date, the initiative has trained 150 girls, distributed more than $80,000 in grant funding, and positively impacted more than 16,000 people in 12 countries around the world.

“Year after year, we see all the ANNpower Fellows creating incredible impact in their communities,” said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. “We believe that it’s critical that companies and their leaders follow ANN INC.’s example in nurturing and supporting this innate passion and drive in young women who will undoubtedly go on to become future leaders of our world.”

Selected Fellows will also have the opportunity to participate in global leadership events. This past year, ten ANNpower Fellows traveled to London for the 2014 Trust Women Conference, where leading advocates from across the globe gathered to take action and commit to empowering women.

“Being an ANNpower Fellow has connected me with global women leaders I could have only dreamed of meeting, never mind having them as a sound board for my own ideas. The mentorship I have received through this program has enhanced my confidence and my leadership skills. The best part is connecting with other girls from across the country who have a passion to change the world like me,” said Elanie, a 2014 ANNpower Fellow and Grantee.

During the application period, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores across the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada will support the search for the next generation of leaders in stores. Additionally, the 50 young women selected will received a special discount card redeemable for two years at Ann Taylor and LOFT.

For more information about the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative or to apply to become an ANNpower Fellow, please visit

Beauty Company Mary Kay Announces Second Consecutive Year of Record-Breaking Growth at Annual Leadership Conference in Nashville

Beauty Company Mary Kay Announces Second Consecutive Year of Record-Breaking Growth at Annual Leadership Conference in Nashville

Mary Kay Leadership ConferenceDALLAS, Jan. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — In a town where records are made, Mary Kay is busy breaking them. As the beauty company kicks off their annual U.S. Leadership Conference in Nashville this week, Mary Kay reports another year of double digit growth in global sales over a record-breaking year in 2013 when the company celebrated 50 years in business.

“After our biggest year in company history, Mary Kay markets around the world continue to set sales records,” said David Holl, President and Chief Executive Officer for Mary Kay Inc. “We’re celebrating the company’s success in Nashville this week and that for more than five decades now the Mary Kay opportunity has appealed to women of all backgrounds and ages who want to pursue short-or long-term financial goals.”

The city of Nashville will play host to more than 8,500 leading Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants during the conference held Jan. 18-24 at the Nashville Music City Center. Along with iconic Mary Kay pink Cadillacs, the weeklong conference brings Nashville nearly $3 million in direct visitor spending.

“From the live music scene to the shopping centers, restaurants and hotels, we’ve grown to love Nashville and are thrilled to be back for our annual Leadership Conference this year,” said Laura Beitler, Vice President of Recognition and Events for Mary Kay Inc. “The local community makes our Independent Beauty Consultants feel welcome and right at home. As thousands of independent sales force members from across the nation paint the town pink for a week, we’re happy to infuse millions of dollars into the Nashville economy.”

Each year, Mary Kay holds its U.S. Leadership Conference in a different city in the United States. Designed to provide education, inspiration and further develop the leaders within Mary Kay’s independent sales force, the conference consists of two, back-to-back, four-day conferences. Independent Sales Directors and Independent National Sales Directors offer leadership and motivation to the growing Mary Kay independent sales force that now exceeds 3 million Independent Beauty Consultants worldwide.

About Mary Kay
Irresistible products. Positive community impact. Rewarding opportunity. For more than 50 years, Mary Kay has offered it all. With 3.5 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $4 billion in global annual sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world. Discover what there is to love about Mary Kay by connecting with a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant at