MBAs connect fellow students with leading women executives

May 30, 2012

Alice Longhurst (left) and Alannah Cervenko are MBA students at Simon Fraser University.

Two graduate business students at Simon Fraser University are putting their business acumen to work for the benefit of young women hoping to make positive strides as future leaders, managers and entrepreneurs.

Alannah Cervenko and Alice Longhurst, graduate students in the MBA program at Simon Fraser University, created the Graduate Business Women’s Council for the Beedie School of Business in 2011. To date, their primary focus has been raising awareness amongst the membership about upcoming networking and development opportunities focused on women in business, and collaborating with organizations to ensure that their fellow members can participate in these activities.

This term, Cervenko has assembled an all-star panel of female executive speakers for what is being dubbed a “fireside chat” with SFU’s full-time female MBA students. This event, which is taking place at Segal Graduate School on June 6, will be followed by a Q&A session and networking. Entitled “Everything You Wanted to Know About Business… But Were Too Afraid to Ask,” the meeting aims to provide access to female executives who will share insight and strategies on how to succeed as emerging leaders. The student organizers are looking forward to “inspiring dialogue, candid discussion and insights into workplace best practices that we, as MBA students, may draw upon as we ascend the corporate ladder upon graduation”.

The executives that will be participating in the June 6 discussion are:

  • Christina Anthony, Vice President, Director, Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisory, Odlum Brown.
  • Tracey L. McVicar, Partner, CAI Capital Management Co.
  • Susan Yurkovich, Executive Vice-President, Site C Clean Energy Project, BC Hydro

About GBWC:
Co-founded in 2011 by two full-time MBA students, Alannah Cervenko and Alice Longhurst, The Graduate Business Women’s Council is comprised of passionate MBA students from the Beedie School of Business who believe that knowledge-sharing and networking with executive women, along with providing insights and guidance to younger generations, can lead to enhanced careers and greater diversity in leadership in BC. GBWC is also planning a “Effective Negotiation Strategies for Women” event, which will be held this summer at Segal Graduate School.

About GBWC’s Co-Founders: In 2011, Longhurst received the Nancy McKinstry graduate student scholarship for leadership, given to a Beedie School of Business graduate student who has been a leader in promoting opportunities for women in business. Cervenko’s resume at the Beedie School includes her team project work supporting the Dugout, a local organization that provides daily meals and support services to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside community. The organization, which positions itself as the “community living room” for people in that neighbourhood, has roots going back to the 1960s. To raise funds and awareness for the Dugout, she took the organization’s story to the Vancouver Canucks — where she garnered support from the likes of hockey stars Roberto Luongo, Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa.

Longhurst meanwhile was part of a group working with the Minerva Foundation for BC Women, which promotes community and workplace opportunities for women. Her team developed a successful “Leading by Tweeting” campaign – where they secured online champions such as Patricia Graham (Vice President, Digital, Pacific Newspaper Group) and the renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood

For more information:

Alannah Cervenko, SFU MBA Candidate

Alice Longhurst, SFU MBA Candidate

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