Women’s History Month panel offers real talk about careers


Tierra Palumbo

All leaders in their respective careers and fields, six women led a panel for Women’s History Month where they spoke with students about their experiences on their career and educational paths on March 9.

Cosumnes River College continued their month-long celebration of Women’s History Month with “Real World Conversations,” a panel of six women that are leaders in their field on March 9.

Carol Bernardo, coordinator of the cooperative experience and internship program, said she created the event in order to bring in leaders from different fields to have real conversations with students about their job experiences and educational backgrounds.

“This being Women’s History Month we decided it was time to celebrate women,” Bernardo said. “It’s an opportunity for all of our students to get that perspective.”

The six women on the panel were picked from a wide range of career paths. Those careers included banking, veterinarian, healthcare consultant, law enforcement, firefighter and doctor of food microbiology.

Each woman took their turn introducing themselves with their job title and a detailed description of what their job actually entails.

Though the event was meant for the women to inform students about different career paths, a lot of the questions were directed toward how each woman felt about holding a position mainly dominated by men.

“They expected nothing less than my very best and I had to pull my weight and do my job and there was no question of that,” said Fire Chief Tracey Hansen of the Cosumnes Community Services District Fire Department. “If I was able to demonstrate that I was capable of doing the job regardless, then they were ready to support me.”

No two women on the panel had the same experience but they mentioned common values for success in careers including having self confidence in the work field, motivating and mentoring each other no matter the gender and to take on new challenges because if you don’t someone else will.

“Don’t be afraid to try new things and just be confident in your capabilities, which I think your core capabilities will apply to any job that you’re doing,” said Andrea Henderson, vice president and relationship manager at Wells Fargo Global Clean Tech Group. “You can always get training to be a specialist.”

Dr. Maria Marco, a professor of microbiology at the University of California, Davis, said she agreed with Henderson.

“Be driven and hard working and know you have to work for what you’re going to do, it doesn’t come handed to you,” Marco said. “And also have time for yourself along the way.”

The event highlighted the importance of women in the work field and all they can accomplish, but Bernardo said there is still more to be done.

“I would like to see more women step up to the plate and go for it and to aspire as high as they can in their careers and in their fields,” Bernardo said.

For more upcoming Women’s History Month events check out the calendar on CRC’s website.