Kent State alumna speaks about rise to success


Lisa Clarke, a Kent State alumna, speaks to more than 150 women in the ballroom on Thursday. Clarke is currently president and chief executive officer of Rally Marketing Group, a leading Seattle-based integrated marketing and promotions agency. Photo by Nikolas Kolenich.

Leighann McGivern

A group of about 150 people, comprised mostly of local businesswomen and faculty, gathered in the Student Center Thursday for the first annual Spirit of Women in Business Conference.

Patricia Bujorian, senior secretary to the dean of business, came up with the idea for the conference last spring.

“I’m hoping that people take away a little bit of what they got from (the speakers) and maybe meet someone here that they can network with,” Bujorian said. “If everyone goes away with a good feeling, then it’s been a success.”

Participants attended three separate sessions, which each focused on topics such as networking, becoming an entrepreneur and balancing work with social life.

During lunch, Lisa Clarke, a Kent State alumna of the Masters in Business Administration program, delivered a speech about her rise to success as CEO of Rally Marketing Group, a marketing and promotions agency in Seattle that works with major corporations such as Outback Steakhouse, Proctor and Gamble and Starbucks.

Clarke began the conference by saying she hadn’t been to Kent in 17 years and when she was “driving in last evening at 12:30 in the rain, it just felt like home.”

She spoke about the various obstacles she faced and the advice she learned along her way to becoming a successful businesswoman.

“Small, seemingly inconsequential actions could have a huge impact on others,” Clarke said. “Don’t underestimate your power to affect people.”

Heidi Baumgart, Kent State alumna and owner of Heidzillas, a local wedding-planning company, said she attended the program as a means to network with other local businesswomen.

“There’s not that many opportunities to talk to other women in business in general,” Baumgart said. “It’s nice to just kind of take the day to talk to other motivated, excited women.”

Bujorian said she hopes to continue and expand the program next year, adding additional options within each session.

Contact Leighann McGivern at [email protected].