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Empowerment Beyond the Classroom: A Marist Professor’s ADVICE that you need to hear today.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Marist chapter.

If 2017 showed us anything – it was the need for female leadership.

For 22 years, Dr. Helen Rothberg has played a pivotal role in Marist College’s School of Management. The indelible mark she leaves on the lives of her students stems not only from her professional experience, but her life experience as a bartender in New York City.

Dr. Rothberg’s third book, The Perfect Mix: Everything I Know About Leadership I Learned as a Bartender, gets it right when it comes to building and refining a strong leader. For women, it is the book every college female needs to shape her professional and personal life.

Her Campus Marist was lucky enough to speak with Dr. Rothberg and learn about her journey and lessons that drove to share her story – and why every woman needs to hear it. 

HC Marist: What was your professional journey like?

HR: I have always been an interested person. I tried a bunch of different positions that didn’t work for me. I worked in marketing and I didn’t like it. I even tried medicine, but I just didn’t enjoy it. Then, I fell into teaching [almost by mistake] and I felt like I found my home. I was also a consultant at the time, and I still do that [on a smaller scale]. One of my favorite things to do, (aside from writing and teaching) is executive training. You work with so many people across so many sectors who are all trying to learn the new competitive [business] language.

It is very compelling.

HC Marist: As a woman, what did you face in that process? How did you break the glass ceiling in your own career?

HR: When I was entering business, there were very few [female] role models. We were all figuring it out on our own – and few women were breaking through at the time. The biggest struggle for myself and for my colleagues was learning how to untangle our individual capabilities [in a male dominated workforce] in a way that would be respected. Early in my career, I would only use my initials because I wasn’t sure if people would let me pitch work if they knew I was a woman. There were times when executives would ask me when Dr. Rothberg would be there – not realizing it was me with whom they had been communicating.

HR: But from all those times, I’ve learned never to take any of it personally. Whether I was in academia or in the boardroom, I would follow my own ADVICE (listed in my book) to take action. Do more and say less. I would always try to deliver a little bit more than what was expected. I would never promise something I couldn’t deliver, but I would always try and do more than what was expected. I was very determined to do whatever I did with civility. In situations where I was expected to fulfill certain roles (like note taking in a board meeting) I would never get angry. Instead, I offered solutions that were fair to all.

HC Marist: In the classroom, what is that ADVICE you share with female students to empower them and drive them to become their best professional selves?​

HR:  I used the acronym ADVICE: Action, Determination, Vision, Integrity, Communication and Empathy, and is explained further in the book. So there are many things, but these are most important:

  1. Have Integrity with what you do.
  2. Understand your message – and how you will get your message across.
  3. Do the best you possibly can – by being the best person you can be.
  4. In any setting, learning how to lead yourself will make you a good leader in any situation. Learning what drives you and how to respect others the way you want to be treated.

HC Marist: What are some of the biggest takeaways from your book that relate to college women?

HR: Take a risk. The final piece of the ADVICE model is shape shifting. It deals with change. If you don’t like what you’re doing, change it. We spend all this time learning something (a trade or career), that we become good at, maybe to the point where we are afraid to try something new. It’s important to continue to change, to have change, and not be afraid to continue to become.

To read more, you can find Dr. Rothberg’s book here: https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Mix-Everything-Leadership-Bartender/dp/1501127829. To connect with Helen, go to www.Helen.Rothberg.com. Follow her on Twitter @HelenRothberg and connect with her on LinkedIn.


Anna Marotta is a Junior at Marist College where she is studying Marketing. She is extremely right-brained and loves to write, create, and travel. You can find Anna with her ten best friends at Lola's Cafe or stalking dogs on Marist Beach. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram! @annarosemarotta