Working Women Mentor CSI Students at Networking Event

Pamela Columbia, President and owner of Statewide Fire Corporation, was one of 20 women leaders participating in the Working Women event.

In honor of Women’s History Month, CSI’s Career and Scholarship Center, in conjunction with the Women’s Leadership Council and several independent professional women, recently held a networking event for CSI students at the Park Café. The event, entitled “Working Women,” included over 20 female professionals living on Staten Island. In all, 48 students attended.

Many of the women were CSI alumnae who offered to mentor current CSI students in their chosen fields. Each professional was matched with one to three students who are hoping to pursue careers in fields such as banking, teaching, business, engineering, and medicine.

The event began with a “day in the life,” as each woman explained what one day of working in her respective field would be like. This was then followed by a question-and-answer session.

“We received great insight at our table on how to prepare for an interview, what avenues we could take when choosing a master’s degree, and kept us hopeful about the future,” said Sara Lim, one of the students in attendance.

Some of the students involved were invited to interview for internships while many others received valuable guidance and career advice.

“It is a tough thing to do,” said Joanne Hollan, Associate Director of the Career and Scholarship Center, who helped organize the event with the program’s co-coordinator and moderator Nina Long. “It is a lot like matchmaking, but, with Nina’s hard work and enthusiasm for hosting this kind of event, these women (the professionals) were so interested in helping.”

Another student, Mary Ponte, added, “They gave me clarity on my direction and possible steps I could take. I hope one day I will be successful enough to be a mentor to someone else.”

The Women’s Leadership Council contributed 14 professionals of the 23 in attendance. Pamela Columbia, the Program’s Director, was also in attendance. “I really believe that (the event) was a success. I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to inspire and mentor the lives of these ambitious young ladies.”

The proactive women students at the event earned valuable information that is not always learned in a classroom. The event, which will be just one of many networking events available to CSI students, was successful not only because many students were able to procure interviews but because it afforded the them an opportunity to meet lifelong mentors in their chosen fields.

The Career and Scholarship Center is located in Building 1A and was established to “support and empower students and alumni in their career decision making.”  For information about upcoming networking events visit the Career and Scholarship Center or the CSI Today Event Calendar.

The Women’s Leadership Council is a group of women who are recognized as leaders in their fields. Its mission is to provide a forum for its members to promote the exchange of ideas, provide networking opportunities, and support its members’ professional and personal growth.

Women professionals participating in the day’s event include Florence M. Certo, DDS and owner of a general dental practice on Staten Island; Pamela Columbia, President and owner of Statewide Fire Corporation; Janet Warren Dugo, marketing and publishing communications professional; Jennifer Falcone DC, Doctor of Chiropractic with a private practice in Staten Island; Joanne Gerenser, Executive Director of the Eden II Programs; Juliet Lewis, Public Affairs Manager at Con Edison; Jennifer Lynch, Associate Director of Alumni Relations at CSI; Janet Mandile, an Associate Broker at Our Island Real Estate; Marlene Marko-Boyd, founding member and partner in MLM Public Relations; Chrissy Mazola, President and CEO of North American DF, Inc.; Frances Hogan Meyers, Director of Community Relations for the Staten Island Mental Health Society and the Co-Coordinator of the agency’s School Reading Volunteer Program; Roseann Mezzacappa, Principal of PS 58 on Staten Island; Holly Wiesner Olivieri, Staten Island’s North Shore real estate expert, currently working at Joanne Costa Realty; Irene Paoli, Associate Broker with Vitale Sunshine Realtors; Lisa Rondon, Associate Director of Administration at Magnusson Architecture and Planning PC; Gina Schlagel, Integrated Marketing Manager for Staten Island University; Jan Somma-Hammel, photographer with the Staten Island Advance (and Assistant Photo Editor); Serena M. Stonick, an attorney with the law firm of Lahr, Dillon, Manzulli, Kelley, & Pennett, PC; Laura Jean Watters, Program Officer at The Staten Island Foundation; Amanda Wexler, Licensed Social Worker who is currently the Director of the YMCA Counseling Service’s Little Steps Program; Tasheemah Wilkerson, HR Specialist for The City University of New York, College of Staten Island; and Fern Aaron Zagor, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS).

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