Over the summer, I got the pleasure to work with and get to know Brianna Allard of Bentley’s own
Marketing Communication Office. Brianna is a competent, confident woman who knows her stuff, but is also patient and compassionate when it comes to helping others. Brianna did both her undergraduate and MBA work here at Bentley, and she is currently a First-Year Seminar Professor. Since Brianna works in a mostly female office, we thought it would be great to ask her about her experiences with being a woman in the workplace, as well as her advice for “back-to-school!”
Major/Graduation Year:Undergrad-Marketing Major and Business Communications (Now IDCC) Minor ’00, MBA-Split focus on Marketing and Management ’08
Hometown: Medford, MA
HC: What do you believe are the best ways for Bentley women to successfully work together to accomplish something? What works/doesn’t work?
BA:I think that women have this amazing ability to come together and really make things happen. I’ve seen it happen on many occasions and I’m always impressed. But, at times, we can also be our own worst enemies. I’ve seen how competitive women can be and it bothers me because I think we have so much to learn from one another. But, when we’re able to put those things aside, it’s like “watch out” because when we’re able to work well together, I feel like we can accomplish anything. I work with a LOT of women. At the end of the day, we’re supportive and we know that we’re all there for each other and working towards the same goals. At times, when the tensions get high, we need to step back and realize this is our work – let go of the emotions and focus on the needed outcomes. You need to be able to take emotions out of the equation at times and it’s challenging – I can admit that! I’m an emotional person.
I also think women need to take more responsibility for their roles as mentors to coworkers, especially younger coworkers. We all benefit from seeing how someone in a leadership role handles challenges. Often, women can be labeled tough or you know, the OTHER word when trying to deal with a difficult situation – learning the right balance is hard. So I often look for a woman in my department (preferably not a direct manager) or a related department that I feel I can learn from and ask her how she might feel about being my mentor. In a previous company, this even led to a job change that ended up being a great move for me.
HC: What is the best advice for “back-to-school” that you believe would help women at Bentley the most?
BA: Heading back to school, whatever year you are, brings excitement and also thoughts about what the year will bring and what you need to plan for. I think that while I of course always advise students to make sure that they have room in their week for fun and socializing, because that’s a big part of college, I also think students should think broadly about their involvements. If you’re able to think a bit about where you see yourself after graduation, there is a way you can create some symmetry in those goals and your current involvements – your classes, club involvements, internships, etc. Start thinking about how it all fits into your bigger plan and develop that resume.
I was lucky, I KNEW what I wanted to do – well at least I had a good idea about my interest in marketing. So, while at Bentley I found a job in Conference Services helping with events, as well as joined and eventually chaired the Bentley Marketing Association. I thought strategically about my course selection so it would expose me to the various facets of marketing, helping me to decide what I liked best. But honestly, you don’t HAVE to know it all today, tomorrow or as soon as you graduate. The beauty in being young and armed with a comprehensive business degree is that you can take it just about anywhere – and if you decide you don’t like the original direction, you can still try something different. A lot of skills you learn are very transferrable. But, I do think there needs to be some planning or at least starting to think about it all.
Talk to people: peers, alums, professors, businesses you like, etc. Make connections. Try things. Whatever you do – just don’t be a wallflower.
Brianna welcomes students that are interested in chatting and can be reached via email at [email protected].