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Chapter of the Month: What Community Engagement Looks Like at University of Louisville NAWMBA

Posted By Nadia Alhashimi, Thursday, July 13, 2017

Elena Shulgina, the president of our University of Louisville chapter, understands the requirements and benefits of community engagement. She is the daughter of a Russian scientist who migrated to the United States and built a business in Louisville dedicated to creating processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. Elena’s goal as Business Development Manager in her family-owned business is to bring their family business of environment restoration to a global scale.


She is taking on leadership at the University of Louisville chapter which was only begun two years ago, but has gained a significant presence not only across the University campus, but also throughout the community. Most educational relationships within the community tend to be “transactional,” but the University of Louisville NAWMBA chapter is figuring out that it is possible to move beyond “transactional” mode into a deeper, more meaningful engagement.


In response, many of their meetings, including their new series of monthly “roundtable discussions,” are being brought off of campus and into the community. Last month, for example, their discussion series was brought to Sunday brunch at a Louisville hotspot, The Hub. The June roundtable speaker, Theresa Reno-Weber, is the President and CEO of Metro United Way and brought practical insight into the importance of being a committed part of the Louisville community. It was so practical that she brought her own vision board! Other topics have included how to manage a work/life balance and female business leaders’ personal experiences in mentoring and leadership. They have become so popular that often even faculty and speakers’ employees attend.


The U of L chapter also values its’ partnerships with other civic, business, non-profit, and NGO organizations with which members engage but also volunteer. On campus they have developed leadership forums where their college of business board of women hold a Q&A session, engaging students, faculty, and sometimes Louisville community members! Off campus, they are partners with organizations such as the art museum where NAWMBA members volunteer in planning events and host speakers from the museum in topics such as museum management.


For the University of Louisville chapter, community engagement is pushing their boundaries beyond the ivory tower and building partnerships rather than transactions. There are many ways that communities can support education on a deep and meaningful level, but it’s not always apparent to leaders in the community how they can get involved. But when organizations like NAWMBA create spaces that are engaging for the entire community, they become advocates for each other.


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Tags:  business  leadership  Louisville  mba  NAWMBA  womeninbusiness  womenmba 

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