MTSU junior Caitlin Couch was thrilled to join a select group of her classmates recently to hear firsthand from women business professionals about their career and life journeys as well as the challenges and opportunities that await Couch and the next generation of leaders.
Couch, a marketing major from Hendersonville, Tennessee, was among the 50-plus female students invited to the second Rutherford ATHENA Leadership Forum held Friday, March 31, at the MT Center off Middle Tennessee Boulevard.
Couch, who is also working toward a double minor in business administration and public relations, said she’s participated in leadership training events throughout her life and viewed the forum as another opportunity to build upon that foundation.
“Those have been very influential in my life and shaping who I am and building my confidence for leadership,” she said. “I love going to these kind of events and am grateful to be able to meet other women in the community that are really making a difference … it’s a great honor.”
Jones College of Business Dean David Urban, who is teaching a Dale Carnegie course this semester in which Couch is enrolled, invited top students such as Couch as did department chairs within the college.
Launched last year, the forum connects undergraduate and graduate students with established leaders within the Rutherford Cable women’s leadership group.
“The partnership between Jones College and Rutherford Cable goes back several years now and it positions our best students with some of the most accomplished business leaders in this region,” said Urban, who noted the forum’s funding support from the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation.
“We think it’s an important connecting event for our students. Really, our students can never get enough interaction with real-world business professionals who can help our students based on their experience.”
The forum included a roundtable workshop with Rutherford Cable members on topics such navigating social media and researching potential employers.
Couch, who previously interned at Butler Music Group and will be interning this summer at Lifeway with the B&H Publishing Group, was excited to hear from local Cable members such as Kelcie Daniels of Woodbury Financial Services “and see where I can be in a couple of years.”
“I’m open to a lot of things (professionally),” Couch said, “but I really want to do something that I’m passionate about … I want to love what I do.”
Featured forum presentations included “Leadership Lessons from My Dysfunctional Career and Upbringing” by Margaret Morford, CEO of The HR Edge Inc., and “Attitude is Everything! Professionalism, First Impressions, and How to Sell Yourself” by coach and consultant Dew Tinnen.
Local Realtor Cheri Frame, forum committee chair for Rutherford Cable and an MTSU alumna, said the committee decided to expand the forum this year to include juniors in addition along with seniors and graduate students. Among the forum’s key objectives is to keep talented emerging leaders in Rutherford County after college.
“I think it’s important that we provide opportunities and really show these female future leaders where their opportunities lie right her in Rutherford County because we’re a thriving community and we’d love to keep this talent here,” Frame said.
For more information about Rutherford Cable, visit http://rutherfordcable.org.
For more information about the Jones College of Business at MTSU, visit www.mtsu.edu/business.
— Jimmy Hart (firstname.lastname@example.org)