Friday wrapped up mini-course with a guest speaker, Academy parent Mrs. Tracy Veillette, and the recent basketball film hit Mighty Macs. Both events were crowd pleasers, each bringing rounds of applause from the enthusiastic audience.
Mrs. Veillette, Senior Vice President/ U.S. Controller at Tech Data Corporation, provided inspiration and advice for young women who wish to make it to the boardroom. As the only woman vice president at Tech Data, Mrs. Veillette did not get there overnight. After graduating from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and a Masters in Accounting, Mrs. Veillette worked as a certified public accountant before taking on the position of Audit Manager at Price Waterhouse and then moving over with partners of that firm to Tech Data.
Like any career mother, Mrs. Veillette has learned to balance her work life with the demands of raising two children who attend Academy, with duties that include “costume designer, chauffeur, and an ATM.”
Mrs. Veillette reminded her audience that among Fortune 500 companies women comprise only 3% of CEOs, 6% of top paying positions, and 16% of corporate officers. In addition, only 15% of board members are women, while 13% have no women on their boards. Although women account for 48% of the labor force and 51% of all management/ administrative/ professional positions, their incomes total only 78% of what men make.
Mrs. Veillette contends that if women are present in significant numbers in a work force, both profits and decision making improve. “Women’s transformative leadership skills are making institutions more transparent, responsive, accountable and ethical, which is more effective in leading modern organizations.” Her bottom line? “Promoting women in business is good business!
Mrs. Veillette’s words of wisdom included the importance of establishing good relationships in the work place. “If you want to work with the guys, you have to be one of the guys – well sort of. Say yes whenever you can, then no will really be no. Your job goes in cycles just like a relationship.”
Mrs. Veillette ended her speech with inspiration for all young women. “To achieve your dreams or goals of success, you first have to achieve success in your education, family, career, and personal well-being. Why/how was I successful as a woman in a man’s world? Because I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to be!!”
After a short break for refreshment provided by the AHN Mothers Club, students returned to the Brady Center for the screening of “The Mighty Macs,”a movie about an all-girls Catholic college in the 1970s that was about to close their doors unless a miracle happened.
Unexpectedly, a miracle began with a basketball coach who had never coached a day in her life. As the season starts, the team is uncontrollably horrible at basic basketball drills, always losing games, until one late night, the coach decides to up their practice schedule on side slides. The team stops by an overpass and practices slide drills. A small layer of water makes the girls not want to get their feet wet. Falling and slipping, the girls practice in the freezing air.
Towards the end of the season the basketball team improves so much that they make it to regional finals. Game after game, victory after victory, the “Mighty Macs” find themselves up against their coach’s alma mater varsity team who are the heads-on favorite to place in the regional quarterfinals.
The clock ticking down, seconds passing by, the teams are separated by only two points the entire game, but wait, the varsity gets ahead by four points. Thinking the Macs have lost, the other team allows the Macs a break away with a two-pointer and a three-pointer, beating the varsity team by only one point to win the first ever title of Champions of Women’s College Basketball.