Earlier this week I accompanied Cheryl McCants and Jacquelyn Graham to a meeting at Essex County College (ECC). One of the college’s seven strategic imperatives is to “develop collaborative partnerships with the community,” so, there we were. We met with the chief academic officer, Dr. Aisha Steplight and the president of the college, Dr. Gale Gibson aka Dr. G.
Dr. Gibson is only the second female president of the college. She was so interesting to speak with. In addition to identifying potential projects that Impact Consulting may help the college with, Dr. Gibson shared a great deal about the wonderful things happening at ECC. She spoke at length about the women’s mentorship program that the college is hoping to develop in partnership with the United Way of Essex and West Hudson. Hearing Dr. Gibson speak about how important it is to empower women and give them the tools they need to be successful in business reminded me of how much I still need to learn. Many of the things she talked about were topics that I, a rising sophomore at Northwestern University, would not have really thought about on my own. Dr. Gibson talked about teaching students how to present themselves in business situations, and she and Cheryl talked about teaching and showing students that creating a solid and professional personal brand will aid in their future career choices. All of those topics and more would be part of the college’s women’s mentorship program.
Dr. Gibson explained that around 60-70% of the student population at ECC is female. This means there is a huge opportunity for the mentorship of future female business owners and leaders. I think it is definitely instrumental to your success to understand how you are perceived in the world, whether that perception relates to business, or life in general. Having a mentorship program that focuses on personal branding and its direct relationship to life after school is exactly what a college should offer. All colleges and universities need to offer real-world mentorship opportunities in order to prepare its students for success in the real world.
While ECC’s women’s mentorship program will start out small and focus on individual instruction, I truly believe the program has the potential to grow and create a huge impact for the college students.
It is always inspiring to hear what schools are planning for their student’s education, and it was truly a special opportunity to hear those thoughts directly from the president herself.