All-female club seeks to reclaim business field for women

The Women in Business club provides networking opportunities and internships to boost their professional development


Women in Business board members (From top to bottom) Tamara Muomua, Shivani Kumar, Harmeen Kaur, Karina Garza Plasencia. The goal of Women in Business is to provide female business majors at Sac State with resources and opportunities to boost their professional development, according to its board members. Photo by Uche Esomonu)

Uche Esomonu

Sacramento State senior business administration major Midori Dobson learned how intimidating it can be as the only woman in a classroom after taking a finance class where the number of women could be counted on one hand. She said she was always under pressure to be taken seriously as a part of a minority population.

“There were a lot of guys [in the class] and all of the men were very into the course, which was cool, but they just really never let the women talk which was super frustrating,” Dobson said.

Dobson said she was assigned to a group project and was surprised to learn that she was the only woman in the entire group and struggled to have her input acknowledged because of the disparity.   

“I had never really experienced something like that before,” Dobson said. “It was kind of eye-opening because I feel like in more recent years [women being ignored is] not as common but it’s still there.”

After this experience, Dobson said she was in need of a community of women; a safe space where she could feel affirmed and inspired in an academic field. 

The Women in Business club was exactly what she was looking for, she said. Dobson joined the club this semester and said she was instantly embraced by a supportive sisterhood.

Women in Business president and accounting major Karina Garza Plasencia sits on a bench beside the Sac State Planetarium. Plasencia said that the club’s purpose is to create an inclusive environment for all female students interested in business. (Photo by Uche Esomonu)

According to its president, Karina Garza Plasencia, the club was created in 2006 to change the perception of business as a “men’s club.” 

Not only does it provide an inclusive environment for all female students interested in business, but it also provides them with real-life examples of women in high-powered positions across various industries and with thriving businesses of their own.

“There’s never enough representation for women,” Plasencia said, adding that she believes this is the case not just in schools but in the workplace as well.

Plasencia said the club aims to connect its members with internships and networking opportunities that will prepare them for leadership roles in the business world. Members are mentored by a wide range of guest speakers from companies such as Sacramento Municipal Utility District and a variety of local business owners. 

According to Tamara Muomua, co-vice president of recruitment and manager of events, it is not only important that guest speakers are women but that they are also racially diverse. She said that Women in Business is working on expanding the public perception of successful businesswomen.  

“We don’t want to share just a single image of only white women or just older people. We want different ages, different perspectives, different backgrounds,” Muomua said. This way, every aspiring business woman can see themselves represented in the speakers, she said.

Women in Business vice president of recruitment and manager of events Tamara Muomua stands on a path beside the Sac State Planetarium. She said that the club hopes to expand the public’s perception of successful business women by showcasing racially diverse guest speakers with thriving businesses. (Photo by Uche Esomonu)

Dobson, who is a first generation student in her family, said she appreciates the diversity of the speakers because their advice is always more relatable to her experience. 

“It’s not like I can just ask my parents how to do this or that,” Dobson said. “It’s been really special and important to me that I’ve been able [to have] the opportunity.” 

This semester, Dobson had the opportunity to network with Vanessa Fayad, a guest speaker and local entrepreneur who created her own tea brand called Relaxation Tea. Dobson reached out to Fayad to express interest in an upcoming social media marketing position that was announced during Fayad’s presentation to the club. 

According to Plasencia, it’s fairly common for members to find jobs through connections they made at the club. She landed her current job as an accounting analyst and student assistant at the Folsom prison under similar circumstances.

In many ways, the Women in Business club functions as a sister network for sharing opportunities, Plasencia said. There is a channel dedicated to this on the club’s server on the instant messaging app Slack. Members update the channel frequently with new internships or job opportunities. 

According to Muomua, providing a space where women support each other rather than compete with one another is what the club is about.

“Just to feel like you’re being heard and be able to communicate about things,” Dobson said. “I mean, I try not to let me being a woman stop me from doing that, but it’s just nice to have a community that you feel comfortable in.”