March 25, 2011
Lynn Elsenhans, '78, a member of Rice's first women's basketball team who went on to earn an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and rose through the professional ranks to become chairman and CEO of Sunoco, Inc., reflected on the lessons learned during her professional advancement during a luncheon session with current Rice women student-athletes, administrators and members of the Women's Athletics Advisory Board in the Trauber Suite at Tudor Fieldhouse on Thursday.
"People tend to remember you," Elsenhans noted when asked about being a woman in a male dominated field, "and that can be a good or bad thing."
"Our former student-athletes who have moved on to successful careers in business are an amazing resource for our current student-athletes," Rice Assistant AD for Student Athlete Development Suzanne Boué said . "It's invaluable to have someone who has been in their shoes show them that the same core principals and discipline that made them into successful student-athletes in college will serve them well in their professional lives," she added.
The luncheon included members of the women's soccer, volleyball, swimming, tennis, and track teams, as well as representatives from the Women's Athletics Board and the athletic administration. Elsenhans talked about her experience as a Rice athlete as well as her path to success that led her to her current position, and how the two are intertwined. The attendees were then able to ask Lynn questions, ranging from the fundamentals of leadership to when she began playing golf.
"The opportunity to meet a woman of her caliber was an amazing experience," senior swimmer Ashten Ackerman said. "When you add that she was a fellow Rice athlete, it becomes invaluable. She was able to give us advice based on her experiences and unlike most professionals who become very successful, she actually gave us advice to do things different from her own path. Most professionals tell you everyone is different and to figure out your own path, but she was able to give you concrete reasons as to why one way of doing things was better than another," Ackerman noted.
Elsenhans stressed the importance of building an extensive network. "That's how you get a job." She also gave helpful hints in building a network, such as start with a friendly audience and ask for feedback. All Rice athletes will have an opportunity to do just that next Thursday at the Networking event hosted by SAAC at 7:30 in the R Room.