Network of Executive Women (NEW) – New England By Lily Raso

                                                                   Network of Executive Women (NEW) – New England
By: Lily Raso

As a student at Assumption College, the opportunities that you have to get your foot in the door are nearly endless. They offer resources galore, so all you have to do is use them! With the help of the CDIC (Career Development and Internship Center), you can get the skills you need to find a career that is right for you. As a senior, I am currently in the job search process, so any connections that I can make are valuable to me. This year, I was given the opportunity to join the Network Of Executive Women (NEW)-New England. I have really enjoyed my experience with the program so far and encourage other young females to look into joining our community! Here is some background and positive insight that I have on NEW.

Overview of NEW

NEW is a non-profit organization that attracts, retains, and promotes women’s leadership in the retail industry. NEW’s mission is to “Advance women, grow business, and transform our industry’s workplace through the power of our community”. The community focuses on empowering women by providing them with education, mentorship, networking, and coaching.

Becoming A Member & Getting Involved

At the beginning of the academic year, Kaitlin Bevins reached out to a handful of female students, me being one of them, with an application to join the NEW community. To be completely honest, I had no idea what the organization was but the description sounded very interesting to me. One of the biggest lessons that I have learned from Assumption is to take every opportunity provided to you even if it seems intimidating because it can lead to valuable experiences… so I figured applying wouldn’t hurt! After I applied, I got an email a few weeks later letting me know that I was accepted into the NEW community. They also informed me that there was an event coming up in October that I should attend. Again, I didn’t know much about what would be happening there, but I knew it could help me jumpstart my career.

Advantages & Opportunities

Joining NEW has changed me in more ways than I can count. It has given me an endless amount of opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I had missed out on the opportunity. It has challenged me to tune into finding out what my goals, passions, and values are at this stage in my life. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone by putting myself out there when it comes to networking, and that intimidated me.

Because of this experience, my interpersonal skills have enhanced greatly. When I attended the career and internship fair last week, I felt more confident than I ever had before. I believe this confidence came from the tips that I had learned at the previous networking event we had back in October. The tips I followed through with were: researching the companies before attending, creating an elevator speech for myself, polishing up my resume, having questions prepared (both about the company and their personal journey), sending follow-up emails, etc.

Events/Experiences with NEW

So far, I have attended two events with NEW. The first event was back in October at a function hall in Foxborough, MA. There, we listened to Michelle Larson (the president of Shaw’s supermarkets) and Christopher Baldwin (the president and chief executive officer of BJ’s Wholesale Club) share their viewpoints on the grocery industry today. Attending this panel was something I had never experienced before, but I learned so much about an industry that I wasn’t too familiar with. It was so interesting when I related the topics that they were discussing back to what I have learned in my business classes at Assumption.

The second event was a field trip to Fall River, Massachusetts where we toured the Gold Medal Bakery and the Stop & Shop distribution center in Freetown. The staff at Gold Medal showed us every step of the process that goes into making a loaf of bread. The process was so intense for such a simple product that it made me appreciate all of the work that goes into making products fresh and available for us on a shelf. I also gained so much insight into the different types of careers that go into making a factory run efficiently. The staff at Stop & Shop Distribution Center gave us a tour of their grocery and refrigerated facilities. We learned so much about the technology used to run the center and I admire the work ethic that each of their employees have. Both of these opportunities introduced me to a side of the business that I wasn’t too familiar with, and I would have never learned about them if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone.

Mentor/Mentee Relationship

In order to be assigned a mentor, we were asked to fill out a “getting to know you form”. This allowed us to share what we hoped to gain through the NEW experience. We were also given those same forms filled out from each of the three mentors that we could be assigned to. The mentor that I was assigned to is Kim Richardson-Roche (in the middle) and she has been nothing short of incredible! She reached out to me immediately after I was assigned to her, and we have kept in touch bi-weekly ever since. Kim has helped me organize my goals into an action plan, and has pushed me to stay on track in order to reach them before I graduate. She has also invited me to come into her office two different times at the Stop and Shop headquarters in Quincy. The first time was in December to listen to Gail Lowney Alofsin (on the left), a keynote speaker, who shared with us her life stories, passions, and some of her best tips to being a successful leader. The second time was just last week for a job shadow day. There, I got the opportunity to meet seven of her co-workers by participating in informational interviews that highlighted the day-to-day logistics that the marketing department handles. These two opportunities gave me the courage to dig deeper into my career search by giving me the confidence that I will find a career that will be a good fit for me.

Advice/Recommendations for Prospective NEW Students

The best advice I can give to students who are contemplating joining NEW or reaching out to someone they may not know is to just do it! I think as a busy college student, it is easy to pass up great opportunities because you think that you will be too busy to be an active participant. NEW is not one of those opportunities. The application for NEW is very simple to fill out and it will lead you to a potential career upon graduation. NEW is also a program where you get out what you put in. I highly recommend taking all of the suggestions that your mentor will give you and making your best effort to attend all of the events that they host for you. If you don’t, you may miss out on meeting people that you wouldn’t have otherwise and you could find yourself feeling lost. NEW is just one of several opportunities that Assumption offers for students to learn and network through.

Other Opportunities That May Come Your Way

Throughout my experience at Assumption, I have attended almost all of the career and internship fairs, alumni networking nights, etc. As I mentioned, the CDIC is a great resource to use. They offer the Handshake platform, resume building/editing, mock interviews/tips, instant alumni connection through their LinkedIn, business casual fashion shows, and more. Reaching out to professors and/or other faculty members is also a great way to network. If you know anyone in your field through family and/or friends, talk to them too. The more you get your name out there, the more prepared you will be for the real world.

* If anyone has further questions about NEW, feel free to email me at lily.raso@assumption.edu and I can further share my experience or find you the right contact information to move forward with *

By Kelly Stairs M.A. '10
Kelly Stairs M.A. '10 Assistant Director Kelly Stairs M.A.