Schulich is proud to be a Forté Foundation partner school.

One of our newly appointed Forté Fellows, MBA candidate Elizabeth Owens Skidmore, recently attended the foundation’s 2017 MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. Below, she shares her take-aways and memories from the event.

We’re excited to welcome Elizabeth to Schulich!

Elizabeth Owens Skidmore
BFA (Hons) in Theatre, the Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

I was honoured to have been named a Forté Fellow for Schulich and was very excited to recently attend the MBA Women’s Leadership Conference. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet fellow MBA women from all over the world, and a great introduction to the next two years of the MBA. It was also a great chance to be able to visit Seattle for the first time and experience its vibrant downtown and famous sites, such as the Pike Place Market and the original Starbucks.

The conference was at the brand new Amazon Headquarters in downtown Seattle, and featured two full days of keynote addresses on topics such as confidence and notes from the C-Suite, along with break-out sessions that focused on more specific career paths and goals, such as government and non-profits and leading with empathy.

Confidence in the Workforce

Former CNN White House correspondent Claire Shipman’s opening keynote, drawn from her book The Confidence Code, resonated deeply with me. She spoke about how women have unique advantages as leaders and how to work with a type of confidence that may manifest differently than our male counterparts. She shared the interesting fact that when applying for jobs, most women will not apply unless they possess 100% of the qualifications in the job breakdown. In comparison, most men will apply if they meet 50-60% of the qualifications! Her talk was funny, inspiring and eye-opening, and will stay with me as I jump into schoolwork and start interviewing for jobs.

The Amazon facilities were also fantastic to see, and included such novelties as a community banana stand outside the front doors, which delighted Arrested Developments fans such as myself, and where you could always grab a banana for breakfast or a snack!

Why is the Foundation’s Work So Important?

The Forté Foundation has recognized that there is major work to be done to increase the amount of women pursuing business and/or an MBA. By offering support, inspiration, education on schools and industry, and networking opportunities, Forte has seen the number of women pursuing an MBA grow. Having women as both industry mentors and peers is extremely important in the current business landscape, as female MBA graduates use their degrees to pursue a huge spectrum of careers and industries.

Making the MBA Leap

If an MBA interests you at all, go for it. You don’t have to have a traditional business background or be aiming for a career in finance. I never, ever thought I would do an MBA or pursue business. However, after focusing two decades of my life on performing (primarily dance and musical theatre) and being in front of the camera, I started to find that my passions were lying more in management. Producing had always interested me, along with many other career paths available “ behind the scenes.” I realized that even though my practical training was immense, I did not have the business training or skills to transition into the management sector of the entertainment industry. I started looking into graduate programs, and that is when I discovered the Arts & Media specialization at Schulich and knew it was the right program for me.

I am excited to begin the program in the fall and surprise myself with what learning is in store in the next two years!