Michigan Businesswomen Hold Annual Women Who Win Event


Judy Kelly was the first woman in her community to study a profession in college other than nursing or teaching – she decided to study business. She began her career with International Business Machines, a global technology company specializing in envelope filling. Kelly received seven promotions over 10 years, and after 32 years with IBM, Kelly is now vice president of sales for IBM customers in government and education, responsible for software benefits and customer satisfaction. and IBM services sold to government and educational institutions across the United States

Kelly spoke at the second annual “Women Who Win” event hosted by Michigan Business Women – BBA on Thursday at the Tauber Colloquium. Kelly, along with Sage Klapper, a 26-year-old UM alumnus who is currently one of the youngest brand managers at Tiffany and Co., spoke to an audience of over 200 women, most of whom were students, their experiences as women in business, their journey to success and the lessons they learned along the way.

Kelly said that when her journey began with envelope filling, she met some influential people, including her first mentor. His first piece of advice to the public was to recognize that every starting job is good.

“Every job is important,” Kelly said. “It doesn’t matter what your co-op does. If you fill envelopes, if you are a host, the fact that you have the experience to meet other professionals and see what they are doing makes the job interesting. I used this mentor and experience to launch my career at IBM. I received a job offer.

Klapper graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with a major in psychology and a minor in art history. Klapper completed four unpaid summer internships before securing an internship in the North America brand management team at Tiffany in 2014.

Klapper stayed on Tiffany’s payroll during her final year of college working on an Ann Arbor internal marketing project, but was not offered a job because the department she worked for was not offered. had no space. Klapper was subsequently offered a position in the Global Brand Management department and is currently working on campaign strategy asset development and performance analysis while also being an MBA candidate at Stern School. of Business from New York University.

Klapper’s advice included taking advantage of every opportunity, accepting tedious work throughout any job, and encouraging being true to yourself at work.

“I’m a big believer in being your authentic self in the workplace,” Klapper said. “I think having an element of humanity at work is so important and will ultimately keep you sane in your career.”

Klapper emphasized the importance of expressing your views, even when working in a beginner’s job.

“I think at the beginning when you’re more at an entry level it’s easy to kind of agree with everyone around you,” Klapper said. “You can assume that you have less experience, you haven’t been here that long, you don’t know the whole story, you haven’t been on the project for the entire duration, and you end up nodding. head somehow. run a lot of meetings, even though you might have seen this sales report or seen the news, or seen industry trends and maybe know something that can add a different perspective. So I’m asking all of you if you think there is anything you can add to a conversation, or if you don’t quite agree with someone who is at the same meeting as you, speak up.

While Klapper mentioned having confidence in his opinions and business outlook, Kelly spoke of being confident in his finances. Kelly advised the public to start saving money early, consider 401 (k), and understand interest rates and credit card rules.

“Be fearless financially,” Kelly said. “Know your FICO score. You know how tall you are, you know how much you weigh, you need to know how financially good you are.

Kelly emphasized finding strength in your job and having the ability to be focused and competitive.

“People are going to say mean things and you just need to be tough,” Kelly said. “It’s okay to be tough as a girl. You are in a new market. It’s time to be tough.

Kelly said people should be goal-oriented throughout their careers, constantly networked, and always looking for ways to grow.

“Mental sustainability,” Kelly said. “Believe in yourself. You have to thrive under pressure. Set goals, keep growing… I’ve reached a certain level of performance and thought I was done. Don’t be done. When you get there. , that’s great. Ask, “What’s my next job?” “

While Kelly’s emphasis on constant career growth, she recognizes the importance of balancing work and life, making time for health and recreation.

“Take the time to be yourself,” Kelly said. “So whether you get married or choose to start a family or don’t have a family, have a great hobby. There has to be a certain balance in life. So take the time in your career to find something you love outside of work and make that work-life balance choice.

Kelly warned that with success comes stress that must persevere.

“I’m going to warn you that there comes a time when you’re just exhausted,” Kelly said. “So you feel like you’re on that treadmill and spinning and spinning. But you have to continually reinvent yourself and be resilient.

First-year business student Caley Halloran said hearing women’s stories about balancing school, stress and success was inspiring.

“It was really inspiring to hear everything they have in their life because our lives are constantly stressful and there is always that word, ‘Can I do one more thing?’ and just seeing women who have been able to do so much, who are very busy but still able to find a balance, is truly inspiring.

Kelly has continued to foster resilience throughout her career and through times of failure.

“Surround yourself with good people,” Kelly said. “Straighten up from your setbacks – and there will be setbacks. You could get sick, you could get a divorce, you could be fired. Who knows? You may need to move to another city. But you have to get up; don’t feel sorry for yourself, be resilient.


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