On March 22, five women in the Texas Evening MBA class of 2012—Mae Sattam, Marisa Maricich, Anna Hernandez, Shreedevi Niyogi, and Kim Zipfel—teamed up with the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders to put their skills and experience to use for the benefit of the school’s promising young women. Kim, who has been involved with the Ann Richards School for several years, recently spoke to me about the project.

What inspired you to do this?

Kimberly Zipfel

During a TEMBA 2012 women’s cocktail party we had at a cohort’s home, we got to discussing how some of the guys in our class volunteered at schools in Cambodia and Vietnam after our TEMBA Global Management trip to Ho Chi Minh City. We were so inspired we decided the ladies of our class also needed to “pay-it forward”; even though it would have to be on a much more local level!

What made you choose the Ann Richards School?

Since I moved to Austin in 2007, I have been affiliated with the Ann Richards School one way or another through various organizations and I knew just how much our skills and experience could be used to benefit the school’s promising young women. After attending a tour and appreciation breakfast at the school on behalf of the Texas Wall Street Women, I got to talking with the school’s Project Specialist who worked with us to come up with numerous ideas as to how the women of TEMBA 2012 could make the biggest impact.

How were you able to make the biggest impact?

The young women are in the process of interviewing for mandatory summer internships and college acceptance, so we coordinated a mock interview event with the students and collected and donated professional business attire for the young ladies. Two of our female cohorts even coordinated with their companies to make summer internships available for the students!

What kind of response did you get from the young ladies? How did they react to this opportunity?

We were forewarned that many of the young women who signed up for our event were on the more timid side, so they were very much looking forward to the interviewing practice to prepare them for their actual interviews later this spring. Before meeting the students, I was concerned that engaging in a conversation might be like pulling teeth, but I was immediately proven wrong.  Beginning with our first introduction, the students were confident, polished, prepared, and professional. We were blown away with their thorough and insightful answers. So much so that we discussed how they answered our questions better than we could! It was obvious the students put a lot of work into their preparation for our event.

What was the most rewarding part of the project?

I think we all walked away feeling so privileged to be a part of something so much larger than ourselves. These young women are in the process of making a huge impact both within their families and within our community. To be a part of that process is such an honor.