The MBA Hub

Women in Business Faculty Panel Recap

I recently had the opportunity to moderate the first-ever Women in Business Career Panel, featuring a panel of distinguished female faculty with experience in a wide range of fields and roles within PSU.

The panelists, who took questions from the audience, shared their experience and insights on common issues facing women in their industries. Topics of discussion included challenges and opportunities for women, managing emotions in the workplace, establishing boundaries in your work and personal life and “having it all.”

Panelist Tichelle Sorensen, an attorney at Swider Medeiros Haver, has also worked in the music industry. She is PSU MIM alumna and adjunct instructor of Law and Ethics in the MBA and MIM programs. She also works with the Social Innovation Incubator program, helping social entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.

She has experienced firsthand the changing roles of women in the legal field, a traditionally male-dominated industry that has started to shift only in the last 10-12 years.

When someone asked about how to go about finding one's passion, she responded, "You should ask yourself: How do you want to feel about the work that you are doing? My answer never would have been that I wanted to have a stomachache, and yet I stayed at jobs where that's how I felt every day. Having a six month emergency fund will give you the freedom to leave a job that isn't working out."

Mellie Pullman, Professor of Supply and Logistics at PSU, is an expert in sustainable supply chain management, and she recently authored a book on the subject. She is highly connected and involved in the sustainable food chain scene in Portland.

Mellie has a degree in engineering and has experience working in the construction and manufacturing industries, and understands what it’s like to be the only woman on site or on a team. She told students in the audience that the best way to break down barriers is by helping and mentoring other women, rather than seeing them as competition.

She offered this advice to students who will be entering the business world: “Find companies you want to work for and pitch ideas for internships to them. Try something new and don’t be afraid to take risks. You will always learn something, even from companies that you don’t want to work for. Identify someone in the organization that you trust and who will give you good, honest career advice, and connect with them.”

Pamela Dusschee, Executive Director of Graduate Business Programs at PSU, had a successful career in the mortgage banking industry before coming to higher education.

She oversees the Career Management events, manages corporate outreach for the MBA capstone consulting projects and advises students on strategic career planning. While Pamela encountered challenges as a woman in the banking industry, she also saw how feminine qualities are valuable in the workplace. She saw staff rebel against bosses who didn't show empathy and caring for their employees. "It's all about balance and the culture of the organization," she said.

"Know your strengths and be yourself," advised Pamela. "It's OK to be a girly-girl! Embrace who you are — you can be strong and sensitive!" 

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By Mallory Miller: Mallory has experience in marketing, management and sales. She plans to apply her experience, interests, and skills to a career in product marketing and business development. She will graduate from the Portland State full time MBA program in June 2013. You can connect with Mallory on LinkedIn.


Tags: Alumni, Career Panel, Faculty, MBA, Tichelle Sorensen, Women in Business

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Portland State's MBA program has earned numerous accolades, including a 2011-12 Beyond Grey Pinstripes Report rating of #1 in the world — for small schools — for its emphasis on environmental stewardship.