Showcasing the expertise of powerful and influential women across myriad fields, including politics, biomedicine, business, engineering, green energy, law and technology, the CSUN David Nazarian College of Business and Economics partnered with the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) for its second-annual “Extraordinary Women in Leadership” event.
The March 19 virtual event celebrated the achievements of the women present and encouraged them to take young women under their wings to help prepare future leaders and increase the number of opportunities for women in leadership.
In her remarks at the event, CSUN President Erika D. Beck encouraged business leaders to cultivate talent and leadership at all levels, so that more women and people of color can ascend to CEO jobs. She cited research that underscored that “diverse teams make better decisions and are more likely to excel in their strategic and innovative thinking.”
“Promoting and recognizing women and people of color in the workplace is important not just because realizing equity is a moral imperative, but also because diverse teams are more successful than homogenous ones,” Beck said.
The Nazarian College partners with VICA to host the annual event as a tangible step toward access, equity and support. It also helps highlight the Nazarian College’s decades-long legacy of growing, developing and empowering women business leaders.
“It is our priority to support and inspire our female students by creating opportunities for them to meet with, hear and learn from California’s women business leaders,” said Chandra Subramaniam, dean of the Nazarian College. “VICA plays an instrumental role in the San Fernando Valley, and we are grateful for their partnership.”
There were two panels during the event, one made up of business leaders and one of elected officials, who discussed their experiences in their respective fields.
The elected officials panel featured California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, state Assemblymembers Laura Friedman and Luz Rivas, and Los Angeles City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez.
The business panel included Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science; Deanna Ng, vice president of risk management for Southern California Gas Company; Kate Phelan, senior vice president, managing director of Trust Advisory for U.S. Bank; and Yvette Rapose, chief communications officer for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
In addition to Beck, other speakers included Angela Reddock-Wright of the Reddock Law Group. Stephanie Hsieh of Biocom LA, the association representing the life science industry of California, delivered the keynote address.
Beck noted that she’s the fourth consecutive woman to occupy the President’s Office at CSUN, a rare track record in higher education, and she declared her commitment to the female students at CSUN, who make up more than half of the student body.
She said that the women in attendance should know that they have significant impact on the next generation, whether they’re aware of it or not. Women in leadership roles serve as role models. She emphasized the importance of mentorship and guidance — when young women take steps to become leaders, they’re more likely to succeed if they’re encouraged, Beck said.
“You never know how you might impact someone and their career,” she said. “I hope that we will all commit to helping our young women, especially our young women of color, to see themselves as leaders, to take a seat at the table and to take themselves seriously — because as soon as they start talking, others will know to take them seriously, too.”