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Women in engineering discuss the impact of Ivey’s Executive MBA on their careers

Aug 9, 2023

Women in Engineering EMBA alumni panel

Left to right: Melissa Pryszlak, Michelle Latosinksky, Raneem El Banna, and Raquel Gold.

Women are underrepresented in engineering just as they are in business, but the gap is closing, especially as inspiring role models begin to lead the way. 

Four such role models – Ivey women with successful careers in engineering who are also completing or have completed an Executive MBA (EMBA) – shared why they chose to do the program and advice for making it work, including the importance of allies and supporters. It was all part of a recent webinar called Women in Engineering: An Alumni Panel – one of an ongoing series sharing perspectives from EMBA alumni from a variety of industries and equity-deserving groups.

Panellists included Melissa Pryszlak, EMBA ’20, Vice President, DC Operations at Pet Valu, Michelle Latosinksky, EMBA ’23, Manager of Marketing at Teck Resources Limited, and two EMBA candidates – Raquel Gold, Strategic Advisor, Project Delivery, Boxfish Infrastructure, and Raneem El Banna, a senior consultant at Optis Consulting. Gold has completed the EMBA program and will graduate this fall and El Banna is an EMBA ’24 candidate.

The discussion focused on highlights from their Ivey EMBA experience and how the program helped them to gain both confidence and new skills and knowledge that will help them to pivot from technical roles to commercial or business-focused positions.

The panellists also shared tips for juggling the program along with competing priorities, whether it be adjusting schedules, setting expectations with your employer and family, reviewing course material with members of your learning team, and/or surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and will cheer you on.

The power of support networks

Pointing out that women are a minority in both MBA programs and the engineering profession, Gold said it’s especially important for women to lean into the discomfort of being a minority and not let it discourage them.

“Being a minority can be intimidating when taking that step to join the program or to apply for an engineering job posting and when we feel intimidated we don’t perform at our best – we don’t excel in what we do. But we have to tip that scale a little bit, and to tip the scale, sometimes you need to push harder on the opposite side to balance it out,” she said. “Have your alliances with your colleagues at work, with your boss, with your friends, or with your cohort – rely on people to be your cheerleaders. It’s actually important to say that you want to do this because there will be times when you will need their encouragement."

"Lean into that discomfort. Lean into that uncharted territory.” 
– Raquel Gold

Watch the webinar recording above.