By Derlina Dias
On Monday March 28th, the Feliciano School of Business and the Women Center for Entrepreneurship hosted the event “Playing Hardball in Heels: Learn the Art of Negotiation”, which featured a panel of successful women who are each considered leaders in their individual fields. Mimi Feliciano, Fran Hauser, Michelle Ansbacher, and Rosaria Suriano took part on the panel. This was an event rightly placed towards the end of Women’s History Month to not only encourage women to go out into the world and shine as entrepreneurs, but it also brought light to issues of genders in business.
Mimi Feliciano is the Founder and CEO of FEM Real State. Mimi founded the entrepreneurship program at Montclair state University. She is also part of the advisory boards of the Feliciano School of Business and the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship. She spoke about women in business and how to be confident about who you are and what you know. During the Q & A session, she told one students: “The opposite of fear is faith.”
Fran Hauser is a capital investor and an advocate for women and children. She stressed the importance of always being yourself and allowing yourself to try different things without the fear of not succeeding. “Failure is part of success,” said Hauser.
Rosaria Suriano, a lawyer with 24 year of experience in state and federal courts, spoke about the importance of being who you are and not be ashamed of it. She spoke of how, when she started working, she was afraid of what colors she was wearing. Suriano said: “Don’t be afraid to add color to your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to be feminine. You are a woman. You shouldn’t be ashamed.”
Michelle Ansbacher, who recently retired from Prudential Financial as the vice-president of the Easter Territory in Agency Distribution where she was responsible for overseeing more than 14 companies, was the event’s mediator and she also added her advice and input. She said: “understanding how to motivate and lead people is what really is going to propel you to the top”. Michelle encouraged the audience to go out into the workforce with confidence.
Students asked questions about how to deal with issues of gender and confidence as well as self worth. One of the student attendees, Amara Higgins, a graduate of the entrepreneurship program, felt that event was a great addition to Women’s History month and that the program is one of the best programs the school has. Amara said: “I like the fact that they talked about the differences in negotiation between men and women. We look at it as a bad thing but look at it how it can be effective in many different situations. It’s actually a good thing”.
Overall the event inspired many to go beyond expectations. All four women gave great advice and demonstrated that it can be done, you can “play hardball in heels”. The panel looked to empower women to always stay true to themselves as women—all panelists stressed that it isn’t necessary to be “masculine” to be successful. The audience was encouraged to follow their passions and, in doing so, be creative, stay open to collaboration and not let others discourage them from pursuing success.