A recent campus visit by Linda Theisen, two-time MSU graduate and vice president for global procurement for Mattel, gave Broad women MBAs a special opportunity to engage with an industry leader about work, life, and challenges women face in business.

Theisen, who earned a bachelor’s degree in packaging from MSU in 1983 and a master’s in labor and industrial relations in 1986, was the special guest at a lunch for Broad women MBAs at the Huntington Club in Spartan Stadium. The event was hosted by the MBA Career Services office and the Broad Women MBA Association prior to the October 24 MBA/Master’s Career Fair, which Mattel also attended. Theisen brought with her Cheryl Gregory, manager of sourcing and capacity for Mattel.

“This opportunity to have a successful, passionate MSU alum come and talk was a really valuable experience for our women MBA students,” says Penni Vandecar, recruiting coordinator for Broad MBA Career Services. “These women are getting ready for corporate America and one of them could be a CEO. They need to prepare now for leadership roles.”

The lunch was followed by an informal discussion with Theisen, who took questions from the audience of MBA students. Speaking candidly, she addressed issues such as balancing family and career, making tough decisions at work, and ways women can align themselves for leadership roles. Theisen also spoke about her own career path, from working at Ford Motor Co., then moving to a small startup, and eventually returning to the corporate world at Mattel.

“Diversity issues in business aren’t always talked about, so it was helpful to have a chance to talk about how to approach certain situations.  This was also the first time Mattel has recruited from the MBA program, so we look forward to building on that relationship.”“There was a lot of value in hearing from a female executive,” says Robin Hannum, second-year supply chain MBA student and president of the Broad Women MBA Association, who organized the lunch.

Special events like this complement the Broad MBA Program’s long-term partnerships with organizations like the Forte Foundation and Inforum, which provide resources and personal networks for women in business.