Stephanie Jimenez '09 - Women in Leadership

It is increasingly difficult for women in today’s business world to realize the potential for leadership – in fact, the World Economic Forum said in its latest Global Gender Gap report that it will take 118 years for the economic gap between men and women to close.

According to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, “Leadership belongs to those who take it.” Which is exactly what Lewis alumna Stephanie Jimenez ‘09, a talented and devoted individual, has done. She realized her potential early on and has taken every opportunity available to grow into the strong female business leader she is today.

“It is exhilarating, as a woman, to stand in front of a room full of executive men and have their full attention,” says Stephanie proudly. “It gives me more confidence for the next time. At the same time, that is sometimes the hardest part about being a woman in today’s business world.” 

Inspired to do great things by her caring mother who always worked hard to provide for the family, Stephanie set forth on her professional journey as a confident young woman in the business world. In 2015, Stephanie joined Jill Schmidt Public Relations – A Network PR Firm, as the Vice President. There, she is responsible for overseeing the employees and interns, reaching out to potential clients, creating business outreach proposals, managing a budget, and pitching stories to the media.

“I love to see one small thought in my head evolve into something much bigger,” says Stephanie with a smile. “It is so rewarding to know that all of my hard work provides such a large impact for our clients.”

She carefully grew her skillset on her road to Vice President. Stephanie graduated from Lewis University with a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. Ready to explore all parts of the field, she began working as an Event and Sales Coordinator at the Arboretum Club.  Following that role, she became the Account Representative for Integrated Merchandising Systems where she worked with big name clients, such as PepsiCo, to create their marketing material.

In 2012, Stephanie began working at S&S Public Relations as an Account Executive. She worked diligently and proved herself to be a talented young woman; she was promoted to Senior Account Supervisor.  Three years later, the President of S&S Public Relations Jill Schmidt decided to take another professional route and open up her very own PR Firm, and hired Stephanie to come along with her. So, in 2015, Stephanie agreed to join Jill and has now been working in her current role as VP at Jill Schmidt|PR for a little over one year.

Stephanie is grateful to have had such terrific female role models such as her mother and Jill in her life.

“Jill has been an amazing inspiration throughout my career,” Stephanie says. “She had an idea, got the experience she needed to act on it, and followed through with it. It is encouraging watching her grow and reassuring to know that I have someone, especially another woman, that allows me to ask questions and pick her brain when I need extra guidance.”

Stephanie is appreciative for the real life experiences she got from her professors at Lewis University, particularly from Professor of Marketing Mr. Robert Bergman. “Lewis has teachers who have actually worked in their fields,” says Stephanie. “They give you substantial advice about the real world and what to expect after graduation, the stuff you cannot find in the textbooks.” 

Stephanie feels that Lewis University helped to shape her into the confident leading woman she is in today’s business world, and her advice to students is to take advantage of internships and get as much experience as possible. And, for all the young females out there: “Take every opportunity you get and soak it all up,” says Stephanie. “Be prepared, grow a thick skin, and do it all with a smile.”

September 2016

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