Insights from the Field: The Women of MBA@UNC


Women in leadership positions often face an uphill climb in today’s business environment. Pursuing an MBA for many women can be an incredible opportunity to enhance their professional skill set and the MBA@UNC program gives students the opportunity to study at an elite business school from wherever they happen to be, even if it’s globe-trotting around the world. To gain insight into how successful women fit an MBA program into their daily lives, and hear some of their advice for navigating leadership challenges, we gathered several MBA@UNC students and alumnae together in our online classroom where they shared their personal experiences of moving their careers forward.

Calling in from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Susan Cates moderated the webinar. Susan is the executive director of MBA@UNC in addition to serving as the president of executive development at the UNC Keenan-Flagler Business School. Prior to joining UNC, Susan was a partner with Best Associates, a private equity firm in Dallas. She spent her early career in investment banking in New York with Merrill Lynch, and she is also the co-founder of Sync Equity Partner. Susan is an alumna of UNC Keenan-Flagler’s MBA program, and was a Julian Robertson / Tiger Fellow and a Dean’s List Scholar.

Joining from Washington, D.C., was current MBA@UNC student Erica LeBlanc. Erica works in the IP and science business as the operations development manager at Thomson Reuters, a major multinational mass media and information firm.

From Atlanta, Georgia, Lindsay Chason called in. An alumna of the program, her class started out as what she likes to call “the freshmen of a new high school with MBA@UNC.” She currently works at The Home Depot as a retail merchant and if you’ve ever bought a door from The Home Depot, she “bought it, merchandised it, and set the strategy for it.”

Michelle Middleton called in from New Jersey, where as a current MBA@UNC student she is working at the Chubb Corporation, a large insurance company.  Michelle manages a team of about 170 people who underwrite risk and provide insurance solutions for Chubb’s customers and independent agents.

After completing a last-minute meeting and joining the webinar from her car was Christy Brown. A recent graduate, she is currently employed at Glaxosmithkline, a pharmaceutical company where she’s worked for almost 18 years. She has held a number of different jobs within the company, and started out as a “science-based person” with a doctorate of pharmacy degree before moving into the marketing space within GSK several years ago.

To read the recap of the webinar, click the links to the blog posts below.

Women in Leadership Webinar: Part II

Women in Leadership Webinar: Part III