MARCH 2015

Alumnae share advice with students at inaugural Women's Leadership Conference

By Steve Seepersaud


Lisa Abbott, MBA '93Early in her career, Lisa Abbott, MBA '93, was someone who would raise her hand, but only halfway. She felt nervous about speaking up in business meetings for fear of saying something wrong or being told "no." 

She recently asked a group of female students if they had trouble being assertive or confident. Some of them raised their hands, but only halfway. 

Putting fear aside and not taking negative outcomes in the workplace personally were just two pieces of advice Abbott gave to students when she spoke at the Alumni Association's inaugural Women's Leadership Conference, held on campus March 14. More than 30 students attended the event, receiving career advice from successful alumnae in a variety of fields.

Abbott, chief human resources officer and associate vice president for human resources for health affairs at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State University, said women new to the workforce are often modest to a fault and reluctant to seek out new assignments or promotions because they don't want to be rejected.

"We say that people should recognize how great we are and pick us," Abbott said. "Then, it doesn't happen and we get mad. The alternative is that we have to self-promote and that makes many people uncomfortable because it feels like boasting."

Sabrina Housh Moldt '10Sabrina Housh Moldt '10, an elder law attorney at the Binghamton-area firm Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, said women shouldn't waste energy feeling envious of peers who seem to have it all because their father owns a business and they are guaranteed a job after graduation.

"Your experiences along the way can shape you," Moldt said. "Finding a career you love is like finding the love of your life. You date around and let yourself evolve. When I was eight, I thought I wanted to be an astronaut. But I like public speaking and researching, and wanted a job where I could use those skills."

In her welcoming remarks, Catherine Frankenbach, a fifth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School in Binghamton, shared the difficulties she encountered when looking for a teaching job after relocating from Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley to Western New York. Although there were nearly a thousand applicants for every single position, she didn't give up. She approached the owner of a tutoring business and asked for a job, then leveraged that part-time position to gain a full-time teaching job. She had to, once again, find a way to rise above the competition after relocating from Buffalo to Binghamton in 2012.

"I called the principal at Roosevelt and asked if I could be a volunteer," Frankenbach said. "Eventually, a position became open and I was hired. I attribute my success to my ability to create an opportunity."

Doris Braun '83, CEO of DB Leadership Group, LLC; Elizabeth Carter '77, MBA '93, assistant vice president for student development at Binghamton University; Nicole Sirju-Johnson, MPA '99, PhD '11, the University's associate chief diversity officer; and Kishan Zuber '01, MA '07, assistant dean of the Graduate School, also made presentations to the students in attendance.


BE A VOLUNTEER! Do you remember what it was like to feel unsure about what career path to follow? Want to make a difference in the life of a current student? Get involved today as an alumni volunteer.


B-CONNECTED with other graduates! B-connected is a secure virtual community only for Binghamton University alumni. Update your personal profile, search for alumni, and submit and read Class Notes. 


SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE WITH US! The Alumni Relations office is asked to recommend alumni who are expert speakers. If you are well-versed in subjects including national security, politics, technology, career networking, environmental studies or etiquette, please contact Melinda Holicky, associate director for alumni volunteer engagement. Include your name, class year and a brief biography. Supporting material could include a c.v. or link to your website.


Liberty Mutual


Newing bank

The Alumni Association and Uncommon Goods (David Bolotsky '85, founder) offer the opportunity to purchase banks made from mailboxes salvaged from Newing Dining Hall. This can be a great gift or keepsake of your time as a student.



Binghamton University Bookstore

SHOW YOUR PRIDE! The Binghamton University Bookstore is your one-stop shop for apparel, accessories and home decor goods.

Last Updated: 9/26/16