Approaching “LYFE” and Lemons Like a Boss

Lemons

When life hands them lemons, women are supposed to make lemonade and help their kids set up a roadside stand and clean the kitchen—all without breaking a sweat. Unrealistic expectations like these have obvious negative implications, but they can also affect a woman’s ability to balance her personal life with pursuing an education or career.

This spring an inaugural BYU-wide campaign called “LYFE: Leading Yourself into Future Endeavors” aimed to help female students plan their next steps. The weeklong series of events centered on education and careers for women, inspiring attendees to pursue “lyfe” with gusto, lemons and all.

Marriott School management alum and Goldman Sachs vice president Dianne Rivera kicked off the campaign by encouraging the students to view their careers as a pathway and education as a means to open the door to that path. “Knowledge is power,” she told the group. “You have control to be educated, to work where you want, to change jobs when you want, to start a family, and to be flexible in whatever ways that you want.”

Susan R. Madsen, a Utah Valley University professor and the director of the Utah Women and Education project, told students during her lecture, “True self-sufficiency isn’t about how much wheat you have in your basement; it’s about being educated and being able and prepared to work.”

The week’s classes, lectures, and panels were inspired by results from a survey of female students put out last year. “We really wanted to make sure that what we’re doing is relevant to issues that students are facing,” says Tiffany Turley, the director of BYU Women’s Services and Resources. The survey showed that respondents were particularly concerned about finding balance in their lives and how to use their educations after graduation.

“I loved hearing from women who have pursued education past their undergraduate degrees,” says Abbey Forkus, a BYU student from California who plans to major in accounting. “These events gave me perspectives on the different education and career paths available to me. Something I learned time and time again is how my education will bless my life in so many more ways than just as a source of income.”

Panel discussions included conversations about finding and following a mentor as well as about balancing work, school, and life.

“It was great to be able to hear about balancing life and work from such a wide variety of women with different personal and professional circumstances,” says Morgan Bissegger, a junior from Ohio who is planning to get her PhD in clinical psychology.

LYFE croppedThe campaign also provided free professional headshots—a line of students trailed out the door the entire time the service was offered.

“We’ve had a lot of success and turnout, more even than we expected, and I think that is a good indicator to us that women want to hear about this,” says Turley, who noted the campaign may become an annual event. “This is something that the campus community needs and has been asking for.”

The LYFE campaign was sponsored by Women’s Services and Resources Center (3326 WSC), the Preprofessional Advisement Center (3328 WSC), University Career Services (2400 WSC), and the Faculty Women’s Association. If you missed the event or would like more information about planning your career and education, visit one of their offices. Marriott School students are also encouraged to visit the Business Career Center.