GEM Program Seeks to Help Undergraduate Diamonds in the Rough
September 29, 2009
Linda L. Neider, vice dean of undergraduate business
Interestingly, GEM was established via the same means that it promotes: networking. The idea was hatched at an event where Janice B. Gonzalez, president of Miami-Dade’s Women’s Chamber of Commerce and CEO of JBG Communications, met with Barbara Kahn, dean of the School of Business Administration and Linda L. Neider, vice dean of undergraduate business programs over lunch a few months back. Both deans were delighted that one of the school’s alums wanted to help mentor for some of the school’s most gifted students.
“GEM is the opportunity for students to gain access to professional women in the community who will guide them and assist them in developing and bridging the gap between being a student and a professional,” Gonzalez said. “GEM is an interactive personal growth program that will challenge and test students’ abilities with the intended goal of improving networking and interpersonal skills.”
The first GEM program, called “First Impressions,” was held on September 11. It provided students with information on how to present themselves professionally and network appropriately in a business setting.
“The program was really successful,” said Ellen McPhillip, assistant dean for undergraduate business programs. “Out of the 50 women who were invited to the program, 47 attended.”
Janice Gonzalez addresses students at "First
Students who are admitted will attend an evening with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on October 6, where they will be paired with their mentors. Other upcoming GEM events include a Women’s Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, a resume building workshop, and several other networking lunches and opportunities. Gonzalez says the program not only mentors young women, but also prepares them to be mentors themselves someday.
GEM aims to establish permanent mentor relationships that will be invaluable for students down the road, leading to an internship, a job opportunity or just a strong friendship.
“Approach every new contact with an open mind and an open heart,” said Gonzalez. “You never know where each new relationship may lead.”