My name is Briana Stephenson, and I am a sophomore marketing major at Molloy College. I was lucky enough to be selected by Beth Meixner for the Jr. Moxxie Program this year, where I learned how to network, got help from my mentor preparing for important job interviews, and was also able to travel to places such as the Nassau County Legislator’s Office and LinkedIn’s offices in the Empire State Building to learn about career opportunities.
Last week, I was given an assignment in my first communications class, and it was to conduct an information-gathering interview with a person who is in a field that I am considering. Naturally, the first person who came to my mind was Beth. She is a strong leader and entrepreneur who advocates for young women in the business world. I conducted this interview with Beth and was able to learn more about how vital her communication skills were in developing the Moxxie Network and what communication skills she values in the business world today.
To begin, Beth majored in business economics and child development at SUNY Oneonta. At the time, she thought that she would open her own day care. She went on to receive her MBA at Adelphi with a concentration in management. After working for several large companies, Beth had a midlife crisis. She quit her job, went skydiving, trained four months to box for the Long Island Fight for Charity, and founded the Moxxie Network with the goal of creating more female leaders. “There is nothing like Moxxie out there,” Beth said. “We are the most comprehensive women’s group including women from ages 18-75.” Her network was what allowed her to start her companies. She previously worked in a sales and graphic design firm where she met so many different people. It was then that she decided that she wanted to bring together decisionmakers so that she could do something for young women, rather than just bring in speakers.
Anyone who has ever met Beth can see that she is friendly, social, openminded, and creative. What separates her from others is that she truly likes people. She works with such a vast network of business professionals, including both women and men, and she believes that the more people she encounters and works with, the better. While her network allowed her to create her company, there were three men who helped her to get to where she is today: her husband, her former boss, and a friend she worked with. This is why you should always establish connections with people. You never know who will be there to help you create something wonderful.
Something very relevant to college students like myself today in the world of education is public speaking. In my business program at Molloy, for every single class that I am in, we must write a paper and present our research to our class. When I asked Beth about tips for speaking to a large crowd of people, she provided me with advice that I will never forget. She said that the most important way to capture a room is to be an “edu-tainer.” While informing people about your purpose of speaking to them, you must also elicit some type of emotion from them. “You either have to make them laugh or cry or think.” Something else that is extremely important is your body language. According to Beth, you should move around when you are speaking and be aware of things such as your intonations. Practice makes perfect, and being able to present in the business world is crucial to your career.
While Beth leads a very hectic and busy life, she loves all that she does. I believe that many business professionals forget to find a proper work-life balance, and Beth reminded me how important this is. She works 40-50 hours each week, and when she hosts different events such as the Moxy Men’s Awards, she has to work extra hours. However, she understands the importance of turning off the computer at five or six o’clock in the evening. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, going out with her friends, and doing crossword puzzles on the weekends. “Some business professionals work 24/7, but we need time for ourselves with no self-inflicted pressures.” As a college student, I can tell you that it is extremely time-consuming to balance classes, extracurricular activities, and internships or part-time jobs. It can be difficult to put everything else aside and focus on yourself. However, we should keep in mind the importance of a healthy work-life balance and start developing these healthy habits now so that we carry them with us into our future careers.
A final topic that I really wanted to touch on with Beth was her experience as a woman in business. She stressed the importance of recognizing that men and women are different. They have different ways of thinking and expressing their ideas. Throughout her career, she saw men being promoted while women were kept at the branch level, and she even experienced this herself. Her advice to young women in such situations is to be assertive, but to be careful not to be aggressive. “Be tough on the issue and soft on the person.” By stating that facts and being able to read a person by their body language, you can work to solve issues and stand up for yourself. Ever since she created the Moxxie Network, she has been able to guide women in the Ms. Moxxie program who are experiencing the same issues that she did. Beth has hope that the #MeToo movement is beginning to change the inequality that women face in our positions. The most important thing is that women should support each other. Only by supporting each other and building each other up will we be able to fully combat inequality.
“Be thick-skinned, be resilient, never take no, and have Moxxie.”
I would like to thank Beth for completing this information-gathering interview with me and providing me with such useful information. I hope that readers will learn as much from Beth’s tips as I have.