This post was written by Rachel Webster (ABJ ’08), member of the Women of UGA Council.
Early on a recent Monday morning, a cohort of UGA alumnae prepared their breakfasts, poured their coffee into their favorite mugs, and got together for an inspiring panel discussion. Virtually, of course, each participant joining from their personal computer. It was the Women of UGA Leadership Council’s first Mentorship Monday hosted remotely in this time of social distancing.
The Mentorship Monday series is a unique opportunity for women in the metro-Atlanta area to discuss professional development topics and grow their professional network. Each cohort of approximately 50 participants meets six times, normally in-person, for a breakfast and discussion on leadership and career topics featuring other illustrious UGA alumnae. For this session, the Women of UGA Leadership Council’s Mentorship Committee decided to continue the discussion while keeping all the participants safe by moving the whole event online.
The latest event featured a panel of women who have built their careers at 11Alive and TEGNA in Atlanta. Jennifer Bellamy (ABJ ’08), Christie Diez (ABJ ’12), and Amanda White (MBA ’16) were featured in a panel discussion moderated by Robbin Steed (ABJ ’85) and hosted by Women of UGA Council Member Laura Jalbert (BSW ’99, MSW ’00).
With this dynamic group, topics ranged from the importance of mentorship in building and advancing a career, how COVID-19 has affected the work and professional schedules of the panelists, and stories and tips from inside the television and media worlds. Mentorship Monday participants were able to submit their questions to the panel real-time via the ZOOM meeting interface.
Women of UGA Council Member Crystal Filiberto (AB ’07) attended the virtual session and noted that while the usual in-person fellowship was lacking, she appreciated how personal the session still felt. “In a time that we are being asked to cancel events, keep distance between us and our loved ones, and shelter in place, I think people are yearning to find some sense of normalcy and comfort. Connection looks different these days.”
As often happens in Mentorship Monday sessions, Crystal also distilled a valuable takeaway from the speakers: “Don’t wait for a title. You can be a leader from any position.” To her, that meant tapping into compassion and kindness as every person works through the effects of the virus on our communities. “Be a leader from any position, including from my makeshift desk during a pandemic,” she summarized.
The Women of UGA Leadership Committee is committed to creating other opportunities for alums to connect, virtually until in-person meetings are viable and safe. Find out more at the Women of UGA webpage or on their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.