Posted on March 5, 2020 by Wendy Frost

Student participants at event The UTSA College of Business celebrated International Women’s Day by hosting two events featuring women business leaders.

At a morning breakfast Yvonne “Bonnie” Garcia , founder and CEO of MarketVision, shared “My Journey to Entrepreneurship.” Garcia started her business 21 years ago following a successful career directing corporate Hispanic marketing and field marketing for Coca-Cola USA and Stroh Brewery.

“If you have a passion in life, hold true to it, and you’ll continue to excel,” she said.

Bonnie Garcia meeting with students Garcia shared five “consejos” (words of advice) from her book Dale Ganas to the room of business students. She encouraged students to let their heart guide their passions; let their dreams soar; to not give up; be a team player; and be fearless.

“Grab unto your dreams. If you don’t have a dream, how can you have your dreams come true?” said Garcia.

Reflecting on the future of marketing, Garcia shared that understanding multicultural consumers and staying ahead in terms of technology will be critically important to be successful marketers in the future.

Later that afternoon Elissa Sangster , CEO of Forté Foundations, and Maria Lensing , vice president of healthcare solutions at AT&T Business, presented on the state of women in business along with their personal lessons in leadership.

Elissa Sangster speaking to audience Sangster shared that while women represent 50 percent of the population and 50 percent of all degree holders, only 38 percent of all MBA graduates are women and only 6.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

Forté Foundation is a non-profit focused on launching women into fulfilling careers through access to business education, professional development and networking.

Providing valuable insights, Sangster shared with students how they can reach their potential through their person, their profession and their people.

“You are the author of your life story,” she said. “Leverage every experience and invest in yourself. Do not underestimate your worth.”

Maria Lensing with Dan Karam and Dean Gerry Sanders Looking to accelerate a world where we all are equal, Lensing shared lessons she’s learned as a woman business leader.

An electrical engineer by training, she credits her education as the key to opening doors to opportunities that led to her success. “Competence is the great equalizer,” she said. “Leaders understand that they must be lifelong learners, so invest in developing rigor around constant learning.”

She encouraged the women in the audience to aim for courage, not perfection. “We need to stop expecting perfection out of women. Stop trying to be perfect and start being brave.”

Lensing closed by challenging women to be supportive of each other. “Go find one woman that you will lift up and promote and advocate for—and one by one, each of us, will change the landscape of corporate America together.”

The college’s International Women’s Day events were sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Center for Student Professional Development.

— Wendy Frost