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NIU Today | Celebrating student leaders: Elizabeth Cruz, Women in Business Professions

To celebrate International Women’s History Month, we asked some of the student leaders in the Women in Business Professions (WIBP) student organization to share their thoughts on women helping women, bringing others along and their WIBP experiences.

Elizabeth Cruz

Major in accountancy, double minor in psychology and data analytics. Certificate in business analytics using SAS software. Member of the Asian American Association. Previously director of recruitment for WIBP. Currently, vice president of finance for WIBP; member, WIBP e-board.

A bit of background about myself: My parents are from the Philippines, where we still have family. Before the pandemic, we traveled there several times. Unfortunately, at the start of the pandemic in 2020, our most recent trip had to be cancelled.

In terms of female role models, mine is my mom, without question. She does so much for my family. She always puts others first, and that’s something I admire about her and something that I want to be like in the future. She’s such a hard worker. She works nights, which is already tough as it is, but she makes the time to cook our family dinners and deals with a whole bunch of other stuff.

Women in Business Professions (WIBP) has taught me to be more confident in myself; as has what I’ve observed with my mom. I admit I’m still a work in progress (we all are). But I’ve noticed that even in my classes, I’ve become a little more comfortable speaking up. WIBP has taught me to be more of an advocate for myself.

The first thing I think about when I hear the phrase “bring others along” is the “Lilo and Stitch” quote, “Ohana means family. And family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” For me, it means just that — no one gets left behind. If you and, say, one of your friends are striving for success, and your friends start to struggle, you wouldn’t allow that to happen. You’d do your best to help them out.

Here’s an example. I have two internships coming up: A tax internship this summer with Matthison, Moyski, Austin, & Co., and an audit internship with BDO. A few of my friends have asked what the internship interview processes are like. I want them to do well and get those internships, so I shared my experience and little bits of advice; anything that I could offer to put their minds at ease.

For me, that’s what bringing others along means. Women supporting women is important. Wherever we go, whatever we end up doing in our careers, we’ll most likely be in a field heavily dominated by men. So when you don’t see examples of who you are in something that you’re trying to achieve, it can be challenging to find that motivation and the drive to do things as good as, or even better than, men (which women can ). At the same time, women supporting women can be as simple as being there for one of your friends — providing a shoulder for them to lean on; encouraging them when they’re feeling down.

My perception about women and my own self-perception have grown so much because of my involvement with WIBP. Take the area of ​​networking. When I was a freshman, it was very difficult for me to learn how networking works and even how to begin. Now, networking has become so much easier. I owe this to the many WIBP events and professional meetings I’ve been part of. I’ve grown a lot more comfortable engaging with others and meeting others outside of classrooms. I’ve realized that women are a lot stronger and a lot smarter than appearances might otherwise suggest. Even if women are soft spoken, this doesn’t mean women “don’t know much.” The opposite is likely the truth in that they most likely know a great deal about whatever is going on.

The most surprising thing for me as a result of being part of WIBP has been a simple, yet freeing revelation — really seeing how much potential that I, and women in general, have. There’s so much we can do when we put our minds to it and when we don’t get caught up in how other people might try to characterize us.

Like most women, I can be tough on myself when it comes to measures for success. With WIBP, I’ll feel successful if all general members continue to feel included and empowered in this organization — and at the same time have fun and connect with new people. Even if they attend just a few events, if they come out of those experiences having learned something new and if they enjoyed their time, that’s a mark of success in my view.

My personal success can mean several things. I tend to look at it mostly through an academic sense. But I am trying to be more intentional about focusing on my success outside of school and grades. My big-picture view of success can be summed up this way: If I am happy with what I am doing in my future career and I enjoy the people around me, then I can really call myself successful at that time. But even right now, in the moment, I’m grateful to recognize and enjoy mini successes like when I have a good time out with my friends and I’m not necessarily worrying about anything. I’d call that a success, too.

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