At Monday night's networking meeting of the Long Island Center for Business & Professional Women, president Linda Orth says a continuing shift will likely be apparent: more men in attendance. Men view it "as another opportunity to do networking," she said, and the center keeps an open-door policy.
Orth, 51, learned the value of mentoring as an 18-year-old bank clerk, eventually climbing the ladder to become vice president and commercial loan officer at New York Commercial Bank. She said she found advice from senior associates invaluable. Before joining NYCB, she was one of six trainees who made it into the credit officer training program at European American Bank. "My feeling is if you work hard and you set a goal, it is achievable," said Orth.
How many attendees are men?
Between 5 and 10 percent . . . more than I've seen in the 12 years I'm there.
What are your members looking for?
Nine times out of 10, there's probably somebody your age, or close to your age or a little bit older, who might have more experience that can give you some guidance and maybe put you in contact with other people.
How do you help people find jobs?
During our monthly dinner meeting we ask if anybody is looking for a job or has been laid off. People will stand up [and introduce themselves]. People have gotten jobs that way. And people who have their own businesses will announce they're looking for employees.
Why do you encourage young professionals to join the center's committees?
It teaches you responsibility, it gives you an idea of working with other people, it promotes camaraderie and a networking opportunity, but it also gives you an opportunity to help others . . . that's the best way to meet people.
What's a recent success story?
Last year, we were able to offer two scholarships, $1,000 each. One recipient was a single parent who was going to school and juggling a full-time job and raising her family all at the same time. She was able to maintain a grade-point average, juggle everything, be successful in her job . . . A lot of people saw themselves in that woman.
How is the center adapting?
Women's time is very, very short, so a lot of them are having a difficult time getting out in the evening for 2½ hours. So we try to do different types of events that are during the day, like a luncheon or a breakfast series.
As a commercial loan officer, how does the L.I. economy look?
Between the way the economy had been and superstorm Sandy, a lot of people took a real hit, but things are starting to slightly turn around. We do see some movement in the economy, so I think things are getting a little bit better.
Find details on tonight's meeting and the May 7 Achievers' Awards at licenter.org.
Name: Linda G. Orth, president of The Long Island Center for Business & Professional Women in Melville
What it does: Provides networking, mentoring and education for professionals
Staff: 1 part-time employee, about 30 volunteers
Annual budget: $60,000 to $90,000