Women in Leadership Spring Break Trip

Touring the “Grate Room” at Tillamook Creamery’s Portland location, the Tillamook Outpost.


Women in Leadership trip opens secret Nike labs, “grate” room at Tillamook, and connects students with business leaders

The 2019 Women in Leadership Spring Break Trip, co-hosted by the Women in Leadership (WiL) student organization and the OSU Center for the Advancement of Women in Leadership, took 22 OSU student leaders representing six different colleges (and numerous student clubs) on an overnight visit to Portland. The trip included meeting and networking with women leaders at companies big and small, and attending the National Diversity Council’s Women in Leadership Symposium, an event sponsored by Lane Powell, featuring Portland women business leaders.

WiL student chapter president Lily Beck had a leadership role in planning the trip. “Since it was over spring break, not everyone was centrally located on campus. Some people were at home in Portland or around Corvallis, and we even had an online student fly in from Idaho. I had a lot of help to make sure all the logistics were lined up,” Beck said.


Tillamook, Nike and Green Zebra

Among the visits, the group toured Tillamook Creamery’s Portland location, the Tillamook Outpost, and sat for a workplace culture discussion with Sheila Murty, Tillamook’s executive vice president of people and culture, and Sibel Candemir, their vice president of categories.

Sarah Busmire, the Ecampus student from the College of Agriculture who flew in for the event, felt that the diversity discussions were the most valuable to her. “I learned a lot, and the question-and-answer session was awesome,” Busmire said. “I realized that many women face the same challenges in various times of life-from college students all the way to CEOs. It is important as a society that we begin to recognize those challenges and create workplaces where they don’t occur.”

Up next the group headed to Nike, paused to sign non-disclosure agreements and then embarked on an exclusive visit to Nike’s top secret, innovation-focused Valiant Labs. The discussion was led by Nike’s Shaherose Charania, senior director at Valiant Labs, and Liz Freuler, their director of brand and consumer marketing. Many suggested it was a highlight – but did not say much more!

The group then visited Green Zebra, a women-owned grocery chain that features local and organic food in communities that lack larger food retailers. Evelyn Murphy, Green Zebra’s chief people and operations officer, met the students and discussed their philosophy for the small local grocer as a community focal point.

“Green Zebra was really impressive in the fact that they wanted to make sure people in Portland had access to food in a healthy sustainable way,” said Beck. “They mentioned that they wanted people to be able to walk or bike in 20 minutes or less to be able to get to a grocery store. This desire to serve people was also evident in the environment they created among their workers as open and engaging people who were extremely inviting to our group.”


Networking and symposium

An evening networking mixer construed into a “flash mentoring” session allowed trip attendees to circulate through various tables for prompted discussions. Each station would seat two Portland professionals, and about six students taking on the topics.

“We structured the conversations so that students could learn about the challenges women face in the workplace, how to navigate those challenges and how to lead and create change,” said Audrey Iffert-Saleem, center director.

“I learned a so much about the incredible work being done by women in industry to empower other women and make a difference in the organizations they work in,” said College of Engineering student Umayal Annamalai. “I also had the chance to meet so many amazing women from OSU with a variety of backgrounds and aspirations.”

The following morning the group attended the National Diversity Council’s Women in Leadership Symposium at The Nines hotel in downtown Portland, joined by panelists from Bank of the Pacific, Tonkon Torp, Lane Powell, Portland Trail Blazers as well as College of Business Dean Mitzi Montoya. Attendees discussed topics such as building up the women around you, defeating gender-based harassment, the imposter syndrome and using technology for work-life integration.

Following the event, the group engaged in additional discussion over lunch with Portland business women, including members of the panel.

“We were all able to benefit from the connections we made, and the people we talked to. It was an amazing experience for me to be able to plan this kind of trip, and I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Beck said.

COB alum helps open Harris center

Jaymes Winters speaks at the grand opening of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center.
Jaymes Winters speaks at the grand opening of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center.

College of Business graduate Jaymes Winters, class of 1985, was the kickoff speaker April 15 at the grand opening celebration of the new home of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center.

Winters, the late Harris’ nephew, is the CEO of Blue Leopard Capital, a private equity fund based in Portland. He told the overflow crowd of nearly 300 that he hoped the new facility could be “a center for everybody to get a better understanding of each other, what diversity is all about, and not just a place people visit on Kwanzaa and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.”

Winters batted leadoff for a lineup of speakers that included Geoff Brooks, a 1972 Oregon State alumnus and a member of the OSU board of visitors; fellow board member Larry Griggs; Corvallis NAACP president Barry Jerkins; and OSU president Ed Ray.

The grand opening was intentionally scheduled for April 15 because it’s Jackie Robinson Day, the date in 1947 that Robinson broke major league baseball’s color barrier; Harris, the first director of the university’s Educational Opportunities Program, was an accomplished baseball player and coach, Griggs said.

The center that bears his name, a gleaming brick and wood structure, is at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Memorial Place.

Winters said he wants the center to be a place people visit regularly and truly learn about each other.
Winters said he wants the center to be a place people visit regularly and truly learn about each other.



Q and A with Recent College of Business Graduate Maria Jimenez

Maria Jimenez, chair of the Dean's Student Leadership Circle at the Oregon State College of Business, returned to school after more than a decade to raise her family.
Maria Jimenez just graduated after returning to school after more than a decade to raise her family.

Maria Jimenez just graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in Business Management, officially joining the ranks of our impressive alumni network. Jimenez is quite impressive herself, having worked incredibly hard to complete her degree while also engaging in extracurricular activities like the Dean’s Student Leadership Circle and supporting her family by working long hours on the weekends.

We’re so proud of and impressed by Maria that we featured her on our blog last November. Now that she’s graduated, we wanted to catch up with Maria on her post-graduation plans. Read her answers below and join us in congratulating Maria on a job incredibly well done!

Now that you’ve completed your undergrad, what are your post-graduation plans?

I’ll be working with Intel Corp. as an intern for 6 months, and am hoping to land a full-time job at the end of my internship.

Did you complete any internships while attending OSU? 

I did not complete an internship because of time constraints.  I’m a mother of four and worked 20 hours a week during the weekends, all while enrolled full-time in classes at OSU. There was really no time in between for me to do an internship,  but I did get a lot of experience while working at my current job.  I was able to connect my work experience with the classes I was taking. Theories and concepts made more sense, and the subjects we were studying became more interesting. I started my internship with Intel Corp. in mid-June and my first assignment is to become a program analyst, then later to become a program manager.  I’m very happy to be given this opportunity, and am very grateful and excited to work at Intel.  I’ve built all this momentum during my undergrad, and now it’s time for me to shine and bring value to the organization while taking care of my family and enjoying life.

What advice would you give current and future College of Business students about how to be successful in their program and in seeking a job?

I would tell students not to waste their precious time and to use it wisely towards their professional development, as well as networking with other students and professionals. It’s vital to see an adviser on a consistent basis to help guide students appropriately. Getting involved with the university overall and participating in extracurricular activities is highly beneficial. Not only that, but being involved in student organizations will enhance their abilities and will be great experience to add to their résumés.  Also, taking advantage of all the resources that are available to students that will help them get a job and connect with employers, such as attending career fairs, utilizing resources at the Career Success Center, and talking to and developing a relationship with advisers and professors.

How did the the services at the Career Success Center help you prepare to enter the job market? 

I used Beaver Job Net regularly and took advantage of all the workshops they offered.  I attended the résumé and cover letter workshop, mock interviews and info sessions, and they all greatly helped me prepare for job interviews. The workshops are very beneficial because they go deep into the details of all the important things that employers look for in a résumé, as well as how an interview is conducted.  I learned how to compose myself during an interview, how to professionally dress, and even how to shake hands.  The first career fair that I attended, I only observed how others were presenting themselves to employers, because I did not know what to do.  However, after attending the workshops, I was able to learn more details on how to approach potential employers.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

I would like to have the power to make a difference and transform people in any way, shape or form, like using a magic wand and… poof… transformation is done!

How would you have used your superpower of transformation while getting your degree? 

If I had the ability to use it while getting my degree, I would transform people’s brain capacities to make them similar to today’s computing technology in a blink of an eye. I could give them or myself the ability to learn more than what we are currently capable of; such as being able to speak, read and write in multiple languages, the ability to learn and master various disciplines at once, etc. Ultimately, it could expand the brain’s power to an unthinkable level.

What is your favorite thing about Corvallis? 

I don’t have one particular favorite thing. I just like everything; the atmosphere, downtown, the parks, the riverside, and of course: Oregon State!

What’s your favorite thing about OSU’s campus? 

I like the brick buildings all over campus. I just love it!  And the library is like home to me. I know almost every corner of it.

If you knew you were leaving Corvallis for good, where would you go for your last meal here? What would you order? 

I would dine at Southside Station at Arnold. I’m not sure what I would order, but something grilled. But for sure I would get a caramel latte at Java II and walk outside the library for one last time.