MBA Executive Director Named 2009 Athena Award Finalist

| August 14, 2009

Jennifer Bush, Senior Executive Director for MBA programs at Xavier University, has been named a finalist in Cincy Business magazine’s annual ATHENA Awards.

Bush was nominated by Dean Ali Malekzadeh of Xavier’s Williams College of Business, who said, “As the senior executive director of MBA programs at Xavier University, Jen has overseen the education of 3,300 MBA students. Many of those students are women who pursued their MBA degrees while working full-time and raising children. Jen has a passion for making sure all students, especially women, succeed.”

Bush is raising two children while running Xavier’s MBA programs. To do so, she initially had to be involved in a job-sharing program, but none existed at Xavier. After she became pregnant in 2001, she became the first employee to suggest a job-sharing program. It became a model that other employees have followed.Now, no one at the Williams College of Business has to choose between motherhood and their job. Jen’s own 10-person staff – nine of whom are women -- have used her job-sharing model. “I don’t think I would survive without it and I don’t think my family would survive without it,” said Ann Marie Whelan, assistant director of the MBA program. “Words cannot describe how important that is to me.”Had Bush not blazed the trail, Whelan said she would have had to choose between her family and career.“I’m so committed to it. It has to happen,” Bush said. “You have to give working women that flexibility.”

She organized the Women’s MBA Association at Xavier University. She pioneered job-sharing for mothers at Xavier University so she could continue working while raising two children. Her efforts made it possible for other working mothers to do the same.She coaches, counsels and mentors female students and alumni to help them achieve their goals. With technology taking over so many personal interactions, Bush is concerned about people having less and less personal contact. So despite overseeing a program with more than 1,000 students, she regularly makes time for students.

Named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, the ATHENA® Award honors those who achieve success in their careers, give back to their communities, and actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential. In its fourth year in Cincinnati, it is part of ATHENA International, devoted to advancing women through support, development, recognition and inspiration. Since beginning in 1982, more than 5,000 have been awarded in over 500 communities in the U.S., Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the U.K.