Up against the strongly male-dominated world of business, Miami University’s female business students have banded together to form one of the newest and largest student organizations on campus.
Miami University Women in Business (MUWIB) was founded in spring 2010 after MUWIB President Alexandra Webber attended a conference at Harvard University and saw a similar program there.
The organization has seen its membership skyrocket and now boasts more than 170 members, making it one of the largest business organizations on campus.
“The business world is male-dominated,” said Tory Paez, secretary for MUWIB. “Women are much more underrepresented at CEO and upper-level management and make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes.”
According to the mission statement on the MUWIB website, one of the primary goals of the organization is to provide opportunities for women to further their experience in the business world.
Kathleen Kennedy, a member of MUWIB’s faculty board of advisers, said the Farmer School of Business staff was very helpful in stating the organization.
“Dean (Roger) Jenkins, Michelle Thomas (director of business student organizations and development) and Farmer School of Business faculty have been incredibly supportive,” Kennedy said.
Another aspect of the MUWIB mission plan revolves around forming relationships and connecting with local and national businesses and corporations.
“A significant aspect of our organization is philanthropy work with the goal to help other women in their business endeavors,” Paez said.
Paez said this means helping women specifically in the Oxford area with the financial support to get their businesses off the ground. According to MUWIB’s plan, this entails partnering with Bad Girl Ventures, a Cincinnati-based microfinance organization that selects, educates and guides young women entrepreneurs and bestows low-interest loans to promote a manageable payback rate.
“The name is confusing, but it really means women being bold and taking chances,” Paez said. “The knowledge and business education they get (from Bad Girl Ventures) is going to improve their businesses beyond the money aspect.”
MUWIB is creating its own student satellite of Bad Girl Ventures called BGV: Oxford College Edition to help female business owners in the Oxford community. Candace Klein, the founder of the original Bad Girl Ventures, will speak to the Miami community at 7 p.m. Oct. 13 in Farmer School of Business room 1000.
“Miami would be the first of hopefully many campuses establishing a satellite program for local residents,” Kennedy said. “MUWIB members would be directly responsible for the program while partnering with community leaders and interested faculty.”
Junior Sarah Lechleiter, a member of MUWIB, said she joined because of the connections it allowed her to create.
“I was looking for an organization where I could get involved in a variety of different activities and network with other women in business,” Lechleiter said.
Lechleiter said the group leaves a very powerful impact on the Miami and Oxford community.
“The group will continue to grow and build on current initiatives of hands-on business experience and supporting women on campus and within the community,” Kennedy said. “MUWIB is a group of amazing, passionate, dedicated women.”