By Lindsey DeTrano
Confidence will carry you further than luck or chance.
That was the message conveyed to SUNY New Paltz students by a panel of successful businesswomen on March 11.
Each school (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts, Education and Science and Engineering) hosted business leaders in their respective fields. Six women presented themselves on behalf of the college of Liberal Arts: Janet Davis, Karen Dorsky, Nora Fay, Tracy Soren, Amber Greene and Regina Calcaterra.
These women delivered speeches aimed to guide students’ decisions during their career and motivate them as they head into the professional world. They told of the triumphs and defeats that shaped their careers by simply trying everything that came their way and putting their best foot forward.
The panel encouraged students to recognize their value, build their network, take credit for their work, stay humble and treat themselves with respect. They also said an important step when pursuing a full time job is to find a second passion outside of the work to stay happy and fulfilled.
A guest speaker at the event, Regina Calcaterra, published a memoir, “Etched in The Sand,” in 2013 and is currently an attorney working for the State of New York.
“I took a nontraditional path to get to college,” she said. “ I was a foster child who grew up on Long Island and two teachers in high school told me the only way out was to get an education.”
With that advice she came to SUNY New Paltz at 19 years old and began to pursue a career in political science. Her book tells of her experiences and how she overcame challenges. It rose to number two on The New York Times Best Sellers List.
“Find something you’re passionate about, and become an expert,” she explained to the audience. “… learning how to communicate can effect change.”
Invited to speak at the event was public relations alumna, Amber Greene, a public advocate for the City of New York. Greene specializes in issue advocacy and program design. Over the years she has produced strategic communications campaigns for the City of New York.
Public relations student Angel Huang went to this event because she was eager to hear about real life experiences and what it took for these women to become successful.
“All of these speakers were very motivational and spoke passionately of what they do,” Huang said.
Another topic discussed was sexism in the workplace. Tracy Soren, coordinator of alumni relations and university advancement for the State University of New York, told young women that if you’re feeling dominated by men in the work environment, understand your worth and do not be afraid to speak up for yourself, but remember to choose your battles wisely.
The entire panel agreed it is important to stay motivated and not let others bring you down. Nora Fay, LEED AP, is the president and founder of Contractsalespro.com. She said that if you have a good foundation of self respect, other people’s comments will roll off your back.
A final lesson that made an impression on the audience is the concept of learning how to say no. As Calcaterra explains, “doing everything for everyone will not improve you as a person, it will only frustrate you.”