Program highlights advancing equality in corporate America

Undergraduate and graduate students from Penn State Harrisburg were able to network with women and men from a number of companies at the recent Network of Executive Women’s (NEW) Greater Philadelphia regional committee meeting hosted by the Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration

Companies represented included Utz Quality Foods, Auntie Anne’s, Hershey Company, CVS Pharmacy, Weis Markets, Campbell Soup Company, Frito-Lay North America, Massimo Zanetti Beverage, Coca-Cola Company, Blueberry, Giant Food Stores, Catalina, Nestle Waters, Steaz Beverage, Ahold Delhaize, Graham Packaging Comp., Acosta, Food Trade News, Mondelez International, IRi, David Perry Associates, Nielson, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and Clemens Food Group. 

Nancy Krawczyk, vice president of leadership for NEW, emphasized the importance that NEW is an organization for women and men. “This is not only a women’s network,” said Krawczyk. “It is critical that men are part of the solution for developing growth, innovation and gender equality in the workplace.” 

The program addressed the ever-changing and competitive business environment and provided the opportunity for students and executives to learn from industry leaders on how women and men can stay relevant in a fast-moving job market. 

Haley Flynn, senior account executive at Utz Quality Foods, shared her experiences in a 15-year career at Utz, as she steadily climbed the corporate ladder at the snack food leader. She currently heads strategic growth initiatives for Walmart and Target. She recounted how she was asked to spearhead Utz’s collaboration with NEW more than five years ago. She took the assignment seriously and one of the first things she told her supervisor was that Utz needed to have more women in top management. 

“We need more executive women,” she told him, adding the first step for changing the culture at Utz was to foster more leadership among women at the company. 

Emmanuel Kolady, divisional vice president of CVS Pharmacy, offered his perspective as a man in a leadership position and how women can remain relevant in the culture of CVS. Kolady oversees 1,100 stores and more than field managers in six states, including Pennsylvania. He said that the company is committed to creating an environment that provides gender equality in management. 

Heather Neary is an alumna of Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Business Administration, who now serves as president of Auntie Anne’s. She joined the company in 2005 and has held various positions at the pretzel business, working her way up to becoming president. As she noted, she had the role model of company founder Anne Beiler, who started Auntie Anne’s in 1988. 

Neary grew up in Lancaster County, and ended up heading the company that had its roots in her hometown. In 1990, she earned her MBA at Penn State Harrisburg and in 2009 she received the Penn State University Alumni Achievement Award. At Auntie Anne’s, she has held responsibilities that range from marketing and communications to research and development. 

Kristen Riggs, vice president and general manager, brand commercialization, at the Hershey Company, shared her experiences in leading marketing teams for seasons, commercial innovation, packtypes, occasions, consumer promotions and marketing operations. Riggs has also been involved in mentoring programs with Penn State Harrisburg to help women navigate opportunities in leadership development.

“It can be especially helpful for women as they develop their careers in business,” says Dr. Darrell Bartholomew, assistant professor of marketing. “That’s why we are pleased that the Network of Executive Women’s Mentoring Program has been implemented here at Penn State Harrisburg.” 

NEW is the industry’s largest leadership organization with more than 10,000 members representing executive-level and emerging leaders. Penn State Harrisburg is part of the Greater Philadelphia Region of NEW.