On Thursday, the Indiana State Career Center and the Zeta Nu chapter of Delta Sigma Theta hosted the Boss Lady Panel, which featured five successful female Indiana State graduates. This event was a part of the Annual Alumnae series, as well as in honor of Women’s History Month.

Denise Bennett graduated from Indiana State University in 2001 with a BS in Music Business with a concentration in Music Administration and is now a senior member of the Warner Media Content Partnerships team as an advertising consultant. While a student at ISU, Ms. Bennett was a member of the Sparkette Dance team, the Music Business Association, Alpha Kappa Alpha, and was crowned Miss Ebony in 2000. She will soon be a professor at Fordham’s Gabelli School of Business and Vice President of Multicultural Brand Strategy at iHeart Media.

 Erica Free originally graduated from Purdue University, but then in her 40’s decided on a career change. She graduated in 2017 from Indiana State University and now works in hospitality. Ms. Free has worked in the industry for over 25 years, including sectors like corporate, franchised, and independent. She recently worked as the regional manager for Dora Hotel Company, and she is currently serving as an adjunct professor in the Marketing department for the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University. Ms. Free is also currently involved in a lot of project that are currently happening in downtown Terre Haute.

Kimberle Harris Laws is a ’99 graduate from Indiana State University with a Bachelor’s in Political Science. She is now a Human Resources business partner for Toyota Material Handling, Inc. While at ISU, she was a member of Zeta Phi Beta and the Black Student Union. Ms. Harris Laws also worked in the Student Center and the Affirmative Action office. She has been working in human resources for over 20 years now in many industries such as education, insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Lucy Billings-Jones graduated in ’98 and ’00 from Indiana State University with a Bachelor’s in Criminology and a Master’s in Public Administration. While at ISU, she was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Miss Ebony in 1995, and worked as a Resident Assistant, Student Assistant, and a Graduate Assistant for Student Judicial Programs. Ms. Billings-Jones currently works as a talent acquisition recruiter for Ernst & Young and has for more than five years. Her areas of expertise include admissions, academic advising, career counseling and human resources.

Shonna Majors graduated from Indiana State University in 1997 with a Bachelor’s in Criminology. While at Indiana State, Ms. Majors was president of the Black Drama Network, an RA, worked in the Foreign Language Department, and worked as a Student Assistant. She started her career two weeks after graduation as a correctional officer and has provided her expertise around the country as she became more prominent and moved up in her career. At one point, she even worked for former president Barack Obama. Ms. Majors now serves as Indianapolis’s first Director of Violence Reduction, as appointed by Mayor Hogsett in 2018. She is a founding member of Big Homies of America and the Office of Violence Prevention. Ms. Majors also has her own consulting firm to help other states work on their violence reduction programs.

The panel started with an introduction of Alex Allen from the career center, who was the spokesperson for event, as well as the five guest speakers. Each speaker gave a brief description of herself, including when she graduated from ISU, what she studied, what she was involved in at ISU, and what she is doing now. Alex then jumped into the prepared questions, including topics like post-graduation, challenges that come with being a female, biggest career accomplishment, and something college students should know.

Thankfully, the Career Center recorded the event and published it on YouTube.  It was so amazing hearing about these wonderful and successful women and receive advice from them. I’d like to think that many people in attendance now feel more confident to go after what they want.

A recording of the event can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyTd-y7SdLU