Pictured: Rowena Ortiz (l), professor and chairperson of management, and Kathleen Simione (r), associate professor of accounting at Quinnipiac University, have been appointed co-directors of the new Center for Women and Business at Quinnipiac.
The Center for Women & Business will aspire to enhance women’s business acumen, their presence in leadership and decision-making roles, and their overall experiences as professionals.
Hamden residents Rowena Ortiz-Walters, professor and chairperson of management, and Kathleen Simione, associate professor of accounting, will serve as co-directors of the center. The center grew out of the university’s Business Women in Search of Excellence initiative, which was co-founded by Ortiz-Walters and Simione in 2007.
Women make up 56 percent of college students, according to the Digest of Education Statistics. Further, the U.S. Department of Labor reports that women comprise 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce and are projected to account for 51 percent of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. Despite the statistics, professional women earn less than men, hold fewer top-level leadership positions, have limited access to networks of powerful decision-makers and their ventures are less successful than that of men’s.
The center’s goals include executive education, professional development, networking, professional support, mentoring and research while also establishing partnerships with the external business community.
“To remain competitive, a top business school like Quinnipiac’s needs to have a center that examines female leadership issues in the workplace,” Ortiz-Walters said.
Throughout the academic year, the center will run educational programs and professional development seminars and host networking events showcasing successful businesswomen from varying fields, backgrounds and career stages. The center will also serve as a conduit to connect women in the surrounding for-profit and non-profit business sectors to each other and to the university community, particularly undergraduate and graduate female business students.
Ortiz-Walters, who joined Quinnipiac in 2004, received a PhD in management and bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of New Haven. In the area of professional service, she has served as president of the PhD Project, an association supporting minority graduate students in achieving their doctorates. She serves as a member of the Executive Committee for the Gender and Diversity in Organizations division of the Academy of Management.
She also served as the assistant director of the Thomas J. & Bette Wolff Family Program in Entrepreneurship and has won several teaching awards at the University of Connecticut. She has served as a reviewer for several journals in the management area and currently serves as an advisory board member for the Harvard Medical School on an NIH-grant study of women’s careers. Ortiz-Walters has published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Organizational Behavior and Journal of Women’s Entrepreneurship and Education.
Simione, who joined Quinnipiac in 1989, earned her MBA from Quinnipiac and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Bentley University. She holds a registered CPA certificate in Connecticut. Prior to entering academe, she worked in both public and private accounting. Her research has examined a variety of accounting and auditing issues, topics in business education, and the role of mentoring in the workplace and in student life.
Her work has been published in the Journal of Accounting and Finance Research, Career Development International, the Journal of the Academy of Business Education, the Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal, the Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies and the Business Studies Journal. She is a 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award winner and a 2014 James Marshall Service award winner. Simione is co-founder of the B-WISESM (Business Women in Search of Excellence) initiative at Quinnipiac.