Student Voices

With Strong Women as Your Role Models, It’s Hard to Not be Empowered

By Jill Bookman, OMBA '22

Do you ever stop and wonder where you would be if you had never met someone? I often find myself contemplating this question and know, without a doubt, I would not be where I am today without two important role models and mentors.  

Jill Bookman, OMBA '22

When I was growing up, every business leader I met was male. That was until I met two women leaders – Roxanne Lenny (whom I'm pictured with above) and Mary Kay Haben – who became incredibly influential in my life. Roxanne was the first woman I knew that left a corporate job to form her own business. Mary Kay, or Mo as she’s known to her friends, ran part of a global company -- eventually going on to become the North American President at Wrigley.  

Women coaching women 

Mary Kay Haben and Roxanne Lenny

I know I am incredibly lucky to have met both of these remarkable women. And, my experience underscores the role strong role mentors can play. For her part, Mo gave me the ability to see myself in a senior leadership role and spurred my interest in a CPG career. Having a female role model to help me navigate the world of CPG has been invaluable.

 

Roxanne is a generalist who has been my primary mentor. From Roxanne I have learned both the fundamentals of business as well as more about the intricacies of the business world. I consult with Roxanne on how I should be thinking about complex projects, office dynamics, and anything else I may need guidance. I can ask questions and expose ignorance without feeling judged. The ability to ask someone who understands the position I am in and can draw on her past experiences to give me relevant feedback only makes me a better businesswoman. 

Michigan Ross and paying it forward

When I began to consider business school, I had a chance to talk a bit more with Mo. She got her MBA from Michigan Ross and is a die-hard Michigan supporter. Among other things, she stressed to me the importance of having an MBA from an elite school, especially if you want to achieve a leadership position. When she talked about Michigan, she spoke so passionately that I was soon looking into how to apply to Ross. 

It’s clear I would not be here, getting my MBA, if it were not for these two dynamos. Having strong women in my life not only inspired me to pursue my business education, but seeing what they achieved during their careers made me realize what I could do and where I could go.  

And, as I consider my career, both at Ross and beyond, these relationships have highlighted the importance of not only having a mentor, but of being one as well. You never know the impact you will have on someone’s career or their life -- helping them shape and achieve their dreams. I know my MBA experience will prepare me well to play this important role, even as I continue to learn from the women who have inspired me.