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Leading Businesswomen Offer “Pearls of Wisdom” to Business and Other UM Students

April 03, 2009
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Panelists (L to R) Dany Garcia, Barbara Kahn and
Maria Fernandez share strategies and insights with female

Some of South Florida’s most accomplished businesswomen gathered at the School of Business March 31 to offer personal insights and strategies for success to female UM students. The event was held during “Women’s History Month,” which commemorates the accomplishments of women. The “Pearls of Wisdom – the Keys to Success,” program featured Dany Garcia, BBA ’92, founder and CEO of JDM Partners LLC; Maria Fernandez, consumer marketing manager, Telemundo/NBC; and Barbara Kahn, dean of the School of Business Administration.

The program, co-hosted by the group “85 Broads: Women in Business,” drew an audience of more than 80 women, mostly undergraduate students, and was moderated by student leaders Nicole Barry Wyman and Giulia Sollami. The event was designed to offer young women from business and non-business disciplines the opportunity to learn from and network with some of the university community’s leading female citizens. The panelists spoke candidly about their experiences in life and business on topics ranging from choosing a first job and asking for a raise to building relationships with colleagues and balancing family and career.

 Panelists and Student Moderators  
Event moderators, host and panelists (L to R) Giulia
Sollami, Linda Neider, vice dean of undergraduate
programs, MariaFernandez, Barbara Kahn, Dany Garcia
and Nicole Barry Wyman

When asked to name the single most important factor contributing to her success, Garcia responded, “Belief in myself and my dreams and pursuing the goals [I wanted] to accomplish whether a small step every day or a huge leap.”

Garcia, a former Merrill Lynch stockbroker turned media producer whose most recent production has been selected for the Tribeca Film Festival, is also the founder of the Miami-based wealth management firm JDM Partners LLC and a member of the UM Board of Trustees.

A School of Business dean’s office employee during her college years, Garcia said, “My greatest mentors were all women and they shaped who I am. Be open to learning and being taught.”

Dean Kahn, one of the world’s most published authors of articles in the leading academic journals in marketing and a former vice dean at The Wharton School, offered her own strategy for success.

“I took advantage of every opportunity that opened up; that was my strategy for success,” said Kahn. “I worked really hard. Also, resilience, you get kicked down and you have to get up and say I’m going to keep going.”

But, Kahn indicated, opportunities are not always found easily.

  Female students at the event 
Women from business and non-business disciplines
were given the opportunity to learn from and network
with some of the university community’s leading female

“You have to create your own opportunities. For example, you have an opportunity to work here on campus as a research assistant. Keep looking for opportunities to learn and gain experience.”

Fernandez, who began her career in entertainment at NBC in Los Angeles, was asked about managing the “glass ceiling” that women may find in the workplace.

“You have to surround yourself with other women, like [those in] ‘85 Broads’ and other organizations, who have achieved the level of success that you would like to achieve.”

“85 Broads” is an organization for women students that was named for Broad Street in New York.

Students were encouraged to have vision, network, and find mentors.  “I am part of the Visiting Committee here at the School with some amazing individuals, former deans and professionals,” Garcia told the audience. “Now is the time to enhance who you are and what you can do. It’s your investment in today that will make you great tomorrow.”

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