Stony Brook University’s new, intensive
Women in STEM Leadership Program, which runs from May 8 to May 11, seeks to bolster the ranks of women in management
positions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.
The program will host 30 women in executive and senior academic posts. Most will be
sponsored by their employers, who will pay the $4,700 participation fee.
Local employers hope the program will boost the attendees’ leadership and mentoring
“It’s important for me, as an employer, to invest in the development of my team,”
said Evelyn Marchany Garcia, vice president and head of Long Island operations, in
Melville, for Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Novartis.
“We’re very interested in making sure our women leaders have access to the tools they
need to break that glass ceiling in the STEM fields.”
Marchany Garcia said in an interview she is sponsoring Esra Duman, a chemist and director-level
manager at her company, so that she can continue to grow.
“She’s a strong, intelligent leader; an investment in her is an investment in our
business as well,” she said.
Women in STEM Leadership Program will feature interactive workshops, seminars and discussions led by industry leaders,
and feature guest speakers such as Jennifer P. Howland, executive of the pathways
program for experienced, diverse technical talent at IBM.
“The objective is to embolden participants within their careers, and to cultivate
more talent and more sustainable female leadership in the fields of STEM,” said Patricia
Malone, executive director of Stony Brook University’s Center for Corporate Education.
“Our focus is on closing that talent gender gap and giving women a seat at the table.”
Malone, who said she worked on developing the program for the past two years, said
most of the participants she spoke with expressed interest in learning a more strategic
communication style. Most also said they’d like to become mentors to other women in
STEM, motivating them to pursue leadership roles.
Program topics will include negotiating, conflict management, exerting influence,
styles of leadership, and dealing with gender bias, among others. Participants must
have a minimum of five to seven years of experience in a career in STEM.
Alka Iqbal, an executive director at The NPD Group, develops predictive analytics’
applications and performs a range of tasks including data analysis and numerical calculations
at the Port Washington-based market research firm. Participating in the program was
appealing, she said, for many reasons.
“When I was younger, my parents encouraged me to pursue the arts. I was in dance,
gymnastics, you know, all the gender-stereotype activities for girls, and though that
was great and allowed me to be creative, I would have liked encouragement to pursue
my talents in these other fields,” said Iqbal, who has more than 15 years of professional
“Now that I’m a mother myself, to two little girls, a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old,
I see a lot of myself in them and think, ‘Well, what can I do to encourage them to
explore careers and opportunities in STEM earlier on?’
Iqbal said she hopes her participation in the program will help her answer some of
The program will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn on the Stony Brook University campus.