Corporate Executives to Present at Alma Mater’s Women in Leadership Event

Some of the thousands of Bowling Green State University graduates take a career path that leads them to executive roles in high-profile corporations, and they drive these companies to success. These highly motivated business executives often return to campus and share their valuable insights with students, faculty, and the business community.  This year’s Women in Leadership event on March 27 is an opportunity to learn from our outstanding alums.  “Designing Your Career” is the theme for Women in Leadership and presenters for this sold-out event include

  • Jan Heppe ‘74, President of the Americas, Burberry, Ltd.
  • Maribeth Rahe ’70, President and CEO, Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.
  • Pamela Beall ’84, Senior Vice President, Corporate Planning, Government and Public Affairs, Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

Jan Heppe has years of executive retail experience, which was her career of choice.  The 1974 graduate joined Burberry in 2001 as the Senior Vice President of Stores, then was promoted to Chief Operating Officer.  She was appointed President of the Americas in 2013, serving as one of three Global Presidents for this global luxury brand. Heppe is responsible for driving the strategy, operations, and growth of Burberry across the regions of the United States, Canada, Central and Latin America.

The BGSU graduate says, although her path to success was not always obvious, it made her who she is today.  “I have been fortunate enough to have very diverse roles and responsibilities throughout my career journey.  As a result, I have seen many sides of the business, which I believe has helped me to become extremely well-rounded in terms of a leader.”

She adds, “Along the way, I found that my passion for the business as well as my drive to reach the goals I set kept me focused.  It’s important to know that sometimes you need to take risks and make an uncomfortable choice in order to find the right path.”

Maribeth Rahe will admit that her career path was “anything but linear.” She graduated from BGSU, majoring in Spanish and minoring in business and wasn’t sure what she would do after graduation.  “I thought about the government and knew I wanted to live overseas and be able to use my ability to speak a foreign language.  In my senior year, I interviewed with the government but they wanted to hire me as a bi-or tri-lingual secretary. As I said back then, I do not type.”

The 1970 BGSU graduate continued her education with an MBA and worked towards her doctorate, but knew she didn’t want to be a college professor.  She found a passion for the financial services industry and has served in leadership roles with U.S. Trust Company of New York, JP Morgan, and BMO/Harris before joining Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.

Under Rahe’s leadership, Fort Washington is one of the largest investment advisors in Ohio. She was featured in Vanity Fair magazine as one of “America’s Most Influential Women – 200 Legends, Leaders and Trailblazers.”  

Pamela Beall began her career with Marathon in 1978 as an auditor and held positions with the Corporate Risk and Environmental Affairs and Domestic Funds organizations before transferring to USX Corporation as general manager, Treasury Services in 1985. Beal was appointed to her current Senior Vice President position at Marathon as well as named the President and member of the board of directors of MPLX LP in 2014. Besides Marathon, Beall has held senior financial positions at NationsRent, Inc. and OHM Corporation.

All three of these alumni have excelled in their leadership roles. Heppe describes what it takes to be leader. “Those who are great leaders can inspire and motivate a team around one common goal to achieve success.  At the same time, great leaders recognize the fact that they can learn from the people around them. Individuals who lead usually possess a certain level of what I refer to as ‘grit,’ or the ability to face down adversity and to power through the difficult times.”

Since the theme of Women in Leadership is about designing careers, Heppe discusses how communication skills and time management are important in building one’s career.  “In any career path you choose, you will always need to engage and interact with people – whether inside your own organization or outside with clients and customers.  A good communicator is someone who not only speaks to his or her peers and employees frequently, but who also listens and asks questions to gain feedback and ensure a message is understood.”  She says that good time management skills are also needed to “avoid being overwhelmed in the fast-paced work environment.”

Rahe describes her thoughts on being successful in a career and how flexibility is a key.  “I think it is hard to ‘design’ a career, but it is very important to have goals.  It may be interim goals – 1 year, 2 years, 5 years and longer-term, but it is important  to not be too rigid. I always advocate being flexible. Life does not always follow a linear path.  Opportunities can arise and you may decide that an opportunity that presents itself is really something worth taking a chance on.”

She adds, “Thinking about what ‘success’ looks like is important.  Once you determine what success looks like for you, you need to then decide what it will take to make it a reality.”

As a graduate from the College of Business, Heppe credits her business education at her alma mater for building a strong foundation for her leadership roles. “The well-rounded and comprehensive curriculum of the College of Business gave me exposure to the many aspects of the business world, which prepared me immensely and left me feeling confident as I began the next chapter of my life.  In each of my classes, my professors encouraged us to challenge the norm and to never stop asking questions.”

In addition to these outstanding presenters, Women in Leadership also features the former editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine and now an executive editor for ESPN, Amy DuBois Barnett. Since the event is sold-out, click here to find out how to be added to the wait list.