EMBA student finds leadership inspiration among Haas women

By Susan Petty

Megan Zweig, EMBA 19, enrolled at Haas because she wanted to see more women leaders in the business world.

“I was in San Francisco at the women's march in January 2017, and I recognized that if I wanted to see more women in leadership at the highest levels, I had to be willing to be one of them,” she says. “And if I wanted others to see me as a leader, I needed to first see myself as one. For that, I needed to get out of my comfort zone in my career and develop skills that could help me lead across a variety of disciplines.”

It takes support from others to accomplish anything of importance, which is where the community of women at Haas came in for Megan. In the Berkeley MBA for Executives program, she's meeting other women aspiring to their full leadership potential. 

“I've found the network of women at Haas to be particularly powerful for expanding my aspirations and boosting my confidence,” she says. “These are accomplished, caring, amazing women who are rooting for me and will be there on my good days as well as the bad days–just like I'll be there for them.”

At Haas, I've learned that not having a traditional background for a role is no reason not to pursue it."

At a recent healthcare conference hosted in San Francisco by Megan's company, Rock Health, two of her classmates, Malini Singh and Linda Liu, attended to support her as she presented to hundreds of attendees about her team's market research. Malini and Linda posted updates on the conference to the EMBA Slack channel–which triggered a flurry of support and other posts about Haas students' accomplishments that week: one classmate had landed a new job and another had launched an employee resource group at his organization.  

“That day felt really special,” Megan says. “I had a whole crew of people rooting for me. The power of that support network will be the most important thing I carry with me beyond graduation.”

Megan is equally generous in encouraging her peers. During her time at Haas, she's served as co-Vice President of Careers for her cohort, and has helped to host a variety of events that support the career advancement of her classmates. One of the most memorable happened in September, when she, fellow classmate Suprita Makh, and Janelle Hofeditz, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Haas, collaborated on an event for EMBA women to bolster their compensation negotiation skills.

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“We hosted a dinner with small group discussions,” Megan says. “We invited our classmates to share their experience negotiating compensation–what has worked, what hasn't, what holds us back–and brainstormed ways to ask for what we want and deserve. It was an evening to tap into the collective wisdom and experience of all the women leaders in our class.”

Megan cites Professor Maura O'Neill's New Venture Finance course as a key part of expanding her perspective on new ways to advance her career.

“Maura is so generous and gives us the inside scoop on her experience as an entrepreneur and investor,” she says. “One of my favorite assignments was being part of a team that interviewed 14 venture capitalists, more than half of whom were women–despite the fact that fewer than 20% of all venture partners are women. I realized that these were relationships I wanted to be cultivating anyway, and the assignment gave me the opportunity to connect with investors I admire.”

The Berkeley EMBA has given Megan a broader skill set and newfound confidence that she's using to grow in her current work. At Rock Health she's expanded her role beyond market research into marketing, and is applying the Haas curriculum and network to open the door to a career in venture capital.  

“At Haas, I've learned that not having a traditional background for a role is no reason not to pursue it,” she says. “I now have a foundation of business knowledge, but ultimately what matters is my commitment to others and willingness to keep learning. I see these qualities in my classmates. It's these intangibles that make a great leader stand out.”

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Topics: MBA for Execs  |   Women in Leadership  |   Community
Susan Petty
Susan is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA for Executives Program. She has nearly twenty years of experience in marketing and advertising, having worked in several different industries including technology, travel, healthcare -- and many others from her media planning days at J. Walter Thompson where her clients included Chevron, Kaiser Permanente, Nestle, and Ford. She enjoys advising prospective students and guiding them through their personal MBA experience.