The Cal Poly Pomona Women in Leadership Program is an executive education program at California State Polytechnic University that engages with professional women to enhance their executive skills in the workforce. Through this woman-led interactive program, a class of women unite to learn team-building strategies, negotiation methods, problem-solving expertise, and more. Part of this program’s mission is to empower women in industries where they are underrepresented and to foster their sense of autonomy. Two members of Pre-Health Shadowing, Nina Bouzamondo-Bernstein and Natalie Zimmerman, recently received the honor of being invited to join the Advisory Board for this prestigious program. Today, I will be highlighting the efforts of these two women and how they will apply them to this opportunity.
Nina Bouzamondo-Bernstein has a strong background in implementing leadership skills. Starting Pre-Health Shadowing at the age of 18, Bouzamondo-Bernstein learned many professional skills from an early age, such as constructing a training curriculum and taking on new responsibilities that were previously foreign to her. Now as the CEO of Pre-Health Shadowing, Bouzamondo-Bernstein hopes to apply these experiences to mentor and guide those within the Cal Poly Pomona Women in Leadership Program. When asked how she hopes to contribute to the Women in Leadership program, Bouzamondo-Bernstein said the following, “As the youngest member of the advisory board, I am hoping to bring the perspective of younger women who are newer to the workforce or leadership roles. I am hoping my development will positively impact the Women in Leadership program so that I can contribute to the growth of the program, as well as the ongoing development of the curriculum to become the most beneficial to all women in leadership.” Bouzamondo-Bernstein also touched upon having a priority towards women empowerment. In her experience, the COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst towards her activism due to it putting an extreme light upon the disparities within different groups, especially in education. She said, “Growing up visiting family, I noticed extreme compliance with societal gender roles. I struggled with the possibility that this is how it should be, how I should be. During COVID-19, I was touched by the determination of my peers to further their development, despite the disadvantage placed on them by society.”
Natalie Zimmerman serves as the Executive Board Assistant and Lead Manager of Pre-Health Shadowing and also hopes to utilize her unique experiences as a member of the Women in Leadership Program’s advisory board. When asked how she hopes to implement her background specifically into this opportunity, Zimmerman said the following, “I currently work in IT, which is primarily a male-driven industry. I hope to share the experiences that I have had in this industry, the challenges I have faced, and what I have done to overcome these challenges. I also want to note the company I currently work for does a great job of supporting their women in IT and throughout the entire organization. But unfortunately, not all women get to work in a supportive environment or have supportive leadership.” One of Zimmerman’s main goals for this program is to give women interested in working at male-dominated careers the tools and support they need to succeed in whatever industry they choose. Zimmerman also spoke about women being consistently rooted to compete against each other in the workforce instead of using each other for support and empowerment. She said, “I want to be a part of a community that recognizes we should not be tearing each other down and should be promoting each other. I have had the opportunity to have many supportive women leaders and mentors in my life. Through this opportunity, I want to help mentor our future women leaders of the world.”
If other members of Pre-Health Shadowing want to get involved with social justice as well, Bouzamondo-Bernstein advised them to find a mentor who shares a common interest, as it can “exemplify their own definition of success, shift their perspective of the work they are doing, and help them look at the long-term goals.” Zimmerman recommended members to “remember that change starts with one person” and to think of The Starfish Story if they need motivation. She voiced that, “When starting, you will not be able to help everyone. You may only be able to help one person, but your help matters to that person. You will undoubtedly find others who share your passion, but you won’t identify them if you don’t try. There is nothing wrong with failure. Your failures will only help you to recognize how to get better.”
Congratulations to Nina and Natalie for being chosen for this opportunity!
We look forward to the types of positive change their presences will have. If you’d like to learn more about the Cal Poly Pomona Women in Leadership Program, visit this website!
Author: Charlie Sconiers