Inaugural ATHENA Leadership Forum connects students with professionals
MURFREESBORO — The Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU is partnering with Rutherford Cable women’s professional leadership organization to help groom the next generation of female leaders.
About 35 of the Jones College’s best female students — graduate and undergraduate — attended the inaugural Rutherford ATHENA Leadership Forum held earlier this month at MTSU and have been invited to attend ATHENA awards events later this month in Murfreesboro.
The leadership forum’s objectives were to identify emerging women leaders among the best students in the Jones College; keep these emerging leaders in Rutherford County; and connect them with established women leaders in Rutherford Cable through networking, roundtable discussions and professional development opportunities.
David Urban, dean of the Jones College, asked his department chairs to recommend students to attend the inaugural event, which was held in the MT Center inside Ingram Building on Middle Tennessee Boulevard and was financially supported by the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation.
Urban said the goal of such a forum was to equip students “with invaluable support, contact, and a community of peers” while also providing the established women leaders the opportunity “to have an immediate and lasting impact on the students’ professional development.”
Forum topics included a panel discussion on “Planning for Success in Your First Job”; a roundtable workshop on the “Basics of Networking”; and featured addresses on the “Hidden Language of Business” by HR Edge CEO Margaret Morford, and “Five Keys to Permanent Employment” by Mila Grigg, CEO of MODA Image and Brand Consulting.
“It’s really important for these graduating females to understand networking and how to get actively engaged and connected in their community after they become a professional,” said local Realtor Cheri Frame, forum committee chair for Rutherford Cable and an MTSU alumna (’98).
Forum participant and MTSU senior Molly Kipp of Jackson, Tennessee, is scheduled to graduate in May with her Master of Business Administration. While she wasn’t sure what to expect at the forum, such leadership training can only be helpful to those students asked to attend, she said.
“I was honored that I was even acknowledged by some of the professors in my department,” Kipp said. “It’s a big thing that this is available to us. … As we graduate and get into the business field, it’s good to have connections.”
Student participants were invited to attend the April 12 Rutherford Cable breakfast meeting that will include ATHENA Young Professional Award Recognition, as well as the April 28 Rutherford ATHENA Award Ceremony, both being held at Stones River Country Club.
“This gives the students the opportunity to build on the connections they made with Rutherford Cable professionals at the forum and to be inspired by the stories of the women leaders in our community who have been nominated for the awards,” said Gina Urban, Rutherford Cable community engagement chair.
For more information about Rutherford Cable and the ATHENA awards, visit rutherfordcable.org.