Last Tuesday, Feb. 18, Columbia University Athletics Alumnae, current Columbia female student-athletes and guests gathered at The Campbell Sports Center for the 2014 Women’s Consortium. Hosted by Columbia Athletics and The Women’s Leadership Council, the event was themed Building Your Career Arsenal.

Columbia Alumni Association’s Donna MacPhee ’89CC, Vice President for Alumni Relations, gave the keynote address. She spoke candidly about networking with confidence, making professional connections and utilizing the resources available to Columbia student-athletes. Backed by a Columbia Alumni network of 306,000 people spanning the globe, MacPhee urged her audience to “be confident, but be humble.”

Following MacPhee’s presentation was an alumni panel, moderated by Katie Day Benvenuto ’03CC, ‘12BUS, Columbia Athletics Deputy Director of Athletics Development. Made up of Columbia Athletics Alumnae Danielle Browne ’10BC, Kaitlyn Busler ’10CC, Manju Dawkins ’01CC, Leslie Gittess ’88CC, and Erinn Smart ’02BC, the panel addressed the fears of young female professionals and gave advice on how to overcome those fears. The panelists, diverse in both experience and industry, shared personal stories about topics including developing confidence in the workplace, succeeding in male-dominated industries, building relationships, and balancing family as a full-time professional.

In reference to the alumnae speakers, Iris Chijioke ’16CC related that “they know exactly what we [as student-athletes] have gone through,” sharing that it was easy and comfortable to connect with the alumnae.

“The consortium was very diverse, in terms of its inclusion of women from different walks of life and stages in life,” said Marvellous Iheukwumere ’14CC. “Having a diverse panel made it easier for me to identify with some of the women and inspired me to keep pursuing my dreams of advancing my professional and athletic careers.”