Robert Feinberg '78 offered a glimpse at current corporate policy and explored gender equity issues with some Oswego State students in March.
The Ernst & Young executive advised "Introduction to Women's Studies" students to get comfortable projecting confidence in the workplace if they wish to avoid the traditional system of hierarchal sponsorship. In nearly three decades at the New York City professional services firm, Feinberg said he has noticed women tend to resist seeking and lobbying sponsors to speak to management on their behalf for advancement.
"How do you become an advocate for yourself without feeling like you're self-promoting?" he said after an informal discussion with the class. "You don't have to do it like the guys do."
Women, who make up roughly 50 percent of new hires, are given greater opportunities for advancement at all levels through gender-sensitive analysis, Feinberg said. In turn, men have benefited from policies that give employees of both sexes more time to spend with their families.
"Any professional services firm ... the way that we make money is with people," said Feinberg, a partner at Ernst & Young. "What you try to do is give people options to do different things."
Single employees may want to take advantage of temporary assignments offered around the globe, he said as an example. Feinberg said he enjoyed the afternoon forum, which also touched on sexual harassment situations and the importance of professional dress.
The alumnus and his company established a five-year visiting lectureship for the Women's Studies Program in 2004. The matching funds pay for a visiting professor to teach two courses in the program and mentor students.
An Oswego School of Business graduate, Feinberg's interest in the perspectives of women and the challenges they face in the workplace has roots in his upbringing with five sisters. He also has three daughters of his own, one of whom is a Syracuse University graduate student he was visiting on his recent trip Upstate.
His campus visit was the first in some time. Feinberg most admired the Charles Wiley '22 Alumni Concourse to the Campus Center, which shielded him from some chilly and wet weather outside on his tour.
"To have something like that for the students to use is great," he said.
- Shane M. Liebler
Robert Feinberg '78 visited with students in "Introduction to Women's Studies" March 19.
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