Women and work have become acquaintances that are no longer out of the ordinary. When it comes to being a woman in a leadership position, though, the path becomes far less traveled. This spring, Mays’ Center for the Management of Information Systems continued its annual Women in Information Technology forum, delving into work-life issues that successful executive women face.

Women students from Texas A&M-College Station, Prairie View, Corpus Christi and International campuses came together in February to learn from a panel of corporate women in IT.

The 28 women leaders from such companies as Dell and Texas Instruments gave an outlook on what corporate life in an upper-level position consists of, and how to manage life while in that role.

Panelists discussed the fine line between being an assertive leader and being bossy, and the differing approaches of women and men to group management. They also agreed that to move up in a company, you have to lead. Panelist Katherine Garner, senior manager of global online support & services IT at Dell, told the students there are many opportunities to lead, regardless of your title.

Kim Smith, manager of IT at Texas Instruments, introduced a point valid to all women in all fields looking to move up, or to simply stay afloat. “Don’t let conventions or history constrain your thinking on what you can or cannot achieve,” she said. “Because all that sets you apart is a label.”