Panelist tells women to be fierce

By Alexa Low

“I don’t apologize for what other people think of me. If they suck me into their opinion or bias, then they’ve won,” Latonya Brock said.

Brock was one of seven women who spoke at the Women’s Empowerment & Networking Event put on by the Office of Student Development at Quincy University. She emphasized that women need to be true to themselves, be authentic, and show up.

“You have to stay true to yourself. Men dominate a lot of places and no matter what field you’re going to have people that put you down as a woman and degrade you but you have to stay true to yourself and be who you are. Eventually you will get your power,” Juliana Basler, attendee, said.

All seven panelists have found themselves in prestigious careers and they shared with the students how they got themselves where they are today.

Sitting on the panel were:

  1. Latonya Brock- Executive Director of Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce
  2. Kettisha Hodges- Behavior Health Therapist who acts as a Visiting Instructor of Psychology at QU
  3. Julie Bell- Vice President for University Advancement
  4. Kim Boccardi- Director of Marketing at Titan International and was featured in the Herald-Whigs 20 Under 40
  5. Dr. Anna Shajirat- Assistant Professor of English at QU
  6. Dr. Linda Moore- Lecturer in Communication at QU who worked over twenty years for ESPN and she is the City Treasurer. She was featured on Women in Cable Telecommunications
  7. Dr. Christine Tracy- Vice President for Student Development

For the first forty minutes of the event, the panel was asked a list of questions that were emailed to them beforehand, giving them time to think about their desired answers.

Bocccardi told the audience that she always tells her female employees to be fierce.

“Be Fierce. The number one thing I expect of my female employees. Don’t let somebody tell you that you have to be a certain way,” Boccardi said.

Boccardi, among others, stated that there are certain things she has to tell her female employees that she does not tell her male employees. She said this is because women think about what they say too much. She tells them to never apologize on an email. To not think that when they are being assertive or confident that they are being too mean. Men don’t apologize on emails so she doesn’t want her female employees apologizing either.

Tracy agreed with Boccardi and told the crowd that when she sends a female student an email with the words “I need to talk to you” they automatically assume that they did something wrong. While as the male students just assume she has something she would like to discuss.

Moore offered a couple tips and tricks to thrive in a male dominated industry such as “what they think doesn’t define me or the job that I do” and “there’s a way around every road block.”

One of the main topics presented by Shajirat was that women need to build a community with other women.

“I think it’s important that young women have other women to look up to who have been through everything we’re about to go through and just hear their experiences and their stories. It’s sort of empowering to know that someone has gone before you and can offer you advice,” Madeline Finney, vice president of Rosie’s Resistance, said.

When the discussion was over, many students went up to the women to ask further questions while others sat and discussed the event.

Attendees were given a complimentary book, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World, by Penelope Bagieu that profiles the lives of female role models through drawings.

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