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Dean Kahn Featured on Panel of "Trailblazing Women"

March 03, 2010
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Dean Barbara Kahn was among four successful Miami-area businesswomen featured as panelists in a discussion this month on the experiences women face in the business world. Sponsored by the women's organization, 85 Broads, the session was entitled "Trailblazing Women: Building on Each Others' Success" and took place at the University's Toppel Career Center.

Priority to arriving as dean of the School of Business, Kahn held positions in marketing and public relations before becoming a professor and then vice dean of the undergraduate program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  Kahn stressed the importance of making a positive impression in interviews.

"The most important thing is be prepared," said Kahn.  "You need to know as much as you possibly can before the interview."  Kahn also advised student to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves and never be afraid to try new things, even if in an entirely new field.

Another panelist, Kathleen Cymbaluk, an FBI agent based in Miami, spoke about her experience as a female in a male-dominated field.  The daughter of a former FBI agent, Cymbaluk knew from an early age that she wanted to follow in her father's footsteps.  She said that the two most important attributes necessary for women are hard work and dedication and noted that effort can compensate for a lack of natural ability. Cymbaluk said that another essential component to being successful career-wise is determining what is important to you and finding a career that matches these interests.

"You have to define what success is for you," Cymbaluk said.  "For me it was a job I could be proud of and offered some kind of variety.  I feel like I'm very lucky to have success because I've met these goals."

Other panelists included Nushin G. Sayfie, a Florida Circuit Court Judge and Marla Brock, now an entrepreneur. Sayfie advised students to have a plan and to seize unforeseen opportunities as the best way to achieve career success. She encouraged students to take advantage of the communities they live in, especially through networking.

"I don't care what anyone says, you could be a genius or graduate from the best school in the world, but our society is very much based on good connections," Sayfie said.

Armed with a law degree Brock started out with a law firm in New York and then moved to Silicon Valley in California where she wound up as a recruiter for Google before moving to Miami to practice law again.  On the side, she started creating Web sites for students interested in travel and study abroad, work she has now turned into a full time venture.  Although her new company, Planet Zee, is only several months old, it already has more 3,000 property listings and is growing rapidly as an online travel resource.

"I saw the opportunity and I wasn't afraid to risk a little bit to grow more as a person," she said.

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