Female leaders share experiences during Trine’s ‘Women @ Work’

Women at WorkFour women leading in nonprofit, industry and healthcare settings shared their experiences and advice during a special Trine University program on Thursday, Feb. 15.

Connie McCahill, president and CEO of Cameron Memorial Community Hospital; Crystal Sattler, senior manager, API compliance, Pfizer, and a 2002 Trine graduate; Anne Brown, planning and project controls manager, Christman Constructors; and Jennifer Danic, president and CEO, Steuben County Community Foundation, answered questions as a panel during “Women @ Work: Successes in Navigating the Corporate Landscape.”

The session was part of Trine’s Honors Seminar course, HNR 401 Women at Work. Students in the course provided 20 questions, and Trine University professors Amanda Malefyt, Ph.D., and Kelly Trusty, Ph.D., facilitated the conversation.

About 50 students, faculty and staff attended.

Among the highlights:

  • Brown described her career path as a jungle gym, beginning in culinary arts and landing in leadership at a nationally recognized concrete construction company. She cautioned students not to be surprised when their career path looks nothing like they envisioned, but to embrace the opportunities and add their own flavor through all of it.
  • McCahill helped students understand that, ultimately, career success comes with finding meaning in one’s work by building relationships and impacting the lives of others.
  • Danic reassured students that during stressful moments in one’s career, it is important to step back and take a 30,000-foot view to put what seem like really big issues into perspective. In response to how to earn colleagues’ respect, Danic said, “Be the smartest person in the room.” All the panelists agreed excellent preparation is the key to confidence.
  • Sattler advised the audience that great relationships with colleagues and subordinates help position leaders to make tough decisions. Being able to say “no” in fairness to all employees and for the greater good of an organization is easier when a leader has built relationships based on trust and respect.

The conversation was “textbook” in terms of the values and practices the panelists shared, according to Trusty.

“We talk about these ideas as ‘best practice how-tos’ in our management and professional practice courses,” she said. “What wonderful reinforcement for students to hear how well they work for real leaders in our communities!”

Photo: From left: Connie McCahill, president and CEO of Cameron Memorial Community Hospital; Crystal Sattler, senior manager, API compliance, Pfizer; Anne Brown, planning and project controls manager, Christman Constructors; and Jennifer Danic, president and CEO, Steuben County Community Foundation.