Nina Goldman Interview
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Nina Goldman (2004, A&S, Cognitive Sciences) and chat with her about her involvement in Hopkins’ Women in Business (WIB). Nina is currently an Association Executive at the American Council of Engineering Companies, a civil engineering trade association.
JHAA: How did you hear about the club?
NG: I received an email from a fellow Hopkins graduate telling me about it. Which is a bit ironic because while I earned my undergraduate degree from Hopkins, I earned my MBA from the University of Maryland. So although I knew a lot of alumni from UMD, I knew the strength of Hopkins alumni, and figured that any Hopkins group for women in business would have lots of Carey grads.
The first meeting I attended was actually one of the first WIB events ever, and it set the bar pretty high. It was a networking event, but with a twist: it was combined with a guest speaking appearance from Anne Costlow, the founder of Sofi’s Crepes. Her story of founding her company was inspiring beyond words. Basically she told us about who she was, how she started her business, and how happy her career makes her. It was tremendous.
JHAA: Why did you get involved in WIB?
NG: The MBA program I was in was 70 percent male. So when I attended my first WIB event, I felt completely at home for a change. At last, I was surrounded by powerful women in business who, despite being outnumbered by men in their professions, were successful by any standard.
That’s when I realized that WIB wasn’t just your typical business group. It was more than that. It was a place where I could feel that I belong to a group where people understand the challenges I’m facing. There aren’t a lot of good resources for us as women in business. That makes WIB unique. It’s one of the single best resources I have that can help me navigate the business world as a woman.
Of course, I hope to get something out of networking with other women. But again, WIB is so much more than just another networking group.
So why did I get involved in WIB? I’m involved with WIB because it’s a place where we can educate ourselves, get motivated, and help each other to be successful women in business. WIB isn’t an anonymous group—it really is a community.
JHAA: What’s your current level of involvement in WIB?
NG: That’s a great question! There was such a great response to the Sofi’s Crepes event that I decided immediately that I wanted to get involved. Before long, I was asked to become part of the planning committee. All of us on the committee usually do our planning on conference calls. I’m thrilled to contribute my time and effort.
JHAA: What’s the single best thing about WIB?
NG: WIB fills our need to be in a group that has common goal. It’s really hard to describe, but maybe “a networking group with a really strong sense of camaraderie” is a good way to start. It’s not just about making contacts and getting stuff done. It’s about that, but it’s also about more. It’s about questions like “How do I balance my desire for a family with the fact that I’m an ambitious woman who wants to get ahead?” It’s the fact that WIB members are concerned about those larger questions that makes the community so special to me.
Then there’s this: I’ve been to lots of different events with lots of different groups. Usually, they just focus one thing at a time—say a speaker or a networking session or a discussion. But WIB combines rolls these elements into one. So our sessions are not just networking, not just discussions, and not just featured speakers. It’s getting together to explore the tough topics while still getting to network, learn, and share idea—frequently all at once!
JHAA: Based on your experience, why do you think Hopkins women should join WIB?
NG: First, there’s being part of an understanding business community. I can’t overemphasize that. Second, as I mentioned before, the people. Third, the networking opportunities. Finally, the motivation I get from the group and the events.
JHAA: What word would you use to describe the overall atmosphere of WIB?
NG: Buoyant. You definitely get the sense that everyone’s very happy to be an active part of the community. This is helped by the sense that we women are naturally very chatty. So people jump right in without much need for introduction. Of course, it helps that the women in the group are so welcoming.
At every event I’ve been at, I’ve had the sense that there wasn’t enough time to get to know people and talk! Instead of leaving WIB events feeling emotionally drained, I get energized. After every event, I feel that I’ve made great connections and moved my career ahead.