Mount Talk Examines Inequality in the Workplace

NEWBURGH – Mount students gathered on Tuesday, October 8 for an interactive talk that aimed to empower women in the workplace.

“Boss Lady” was hosted by the Mount Saint Mary College Career Center, which helps students and alumni to prepare for, start, and further their careers. It featured guest speaker Jennifer Santiago, a talent acquisition manager for Enterprise Rent a Car.

“Fifty-three percent of college graduates are females,” Santiago explained, displaying a graph of the representation of women at each level of employment. The graph showed a steady decrease in female representation at each employment level, ending at 5 percent at the CEO level.

The problem, she argued, has much to do with the level of opportunity women have to make an impression on higher-ups. “Individuals who have the opportunity to interact with people in senior leadership positions are more likely to aspire to be in their positions,” said Santiago
Santiago also referenced research on key differences in the ways men and women think and behave, and led exercises to help everyone in the audience reconcile those differences. The exercises addressed, among other improvement areas, “weak language” and “nonverbal cues” that can hinder one’s ability to lead.

“Who can define the word ‘basically’ for me?” quipped Santiago. “What about the word ‘um?’ Effective communication is really important when it comes to being a good leader and getting the buy-in from your team.” She then paired up each audience member and asked them to talk to each other without using any “filler words.”

Santiago concluded the discussion by asking all audience members to be mindful of misperceptions, and in the future ahead of them, to give everyone an equal opportunity to succeed.

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