August 5, 2020
Name: Carolyn Tumbleson
Company: Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University
Title: Development Director
Cable Member Since: 2012
Current or Past Cable Committee or Board Role(s): Current: Programs Director, Community Engagement Committee; Past: Secretary, Programs Chair, President Elect, President
Why did you decide to join Cable?
Returning to the workforce after a dozen years as a stay-at-home mom, I knew being surrounded by supportive professional women would help with a successful transition.
What have you gained/learned from joining an organization like Cable?
I have gained remarkable professional skills from Cable opportunities, starting with the Center for Executive Leadership courses. I have participated in all Center for Executive Leadership programs and the mentoring program. My favorite is Hot Topics events where Cable members share their own expertise in areas touched on in other programs.
How would you describe the benefits of Cable to someone thinking about joining the organization?
We all have professional transitions in our lives, and returning to the workforce motivated me to join Cable. The organization offers many opportunities to build relationships and skills to prepare for planned (and unplanned) career transitions. I see clear links where Cable experience led to life-changing opportunities, including my current role at the Jones College. I encourage prospective members to view Cable as a safe place to learn and practice new skills while building important relationships.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges professional women face in the business world today?
Right now, we are facing unprecedented uncertainty in all areas of our lives. We see more remote and flexible work options; at the same time, women are more likely to be taking on the greater share of child care, at-home schooling, caring for parents and domestic labor. Pre-COVID unemployment for women was lower than for men; now the unemployment rate for women is higher. Mid-career women temporarily leaving the workforce not only face financial stress but create gaps in opportunities for higher pay and promotion.
What would you say has been the single most defining moment in your career so far?
Taking my skills in professional sales to nonprofit fundraising. When I returned to the workforce as a single parent, I knew I would not have the ability to travel for work anymore. The nonprofit sector offered a chance to use my expertise and build additional skills here in our own community. Becoming focused on the needs in our community and connecting people with the passion and interest to meet those needs is a rewarding profession.
What advice would you give to a young woman just starting her career?
I would advise women early in their careers to join Cable, naturally! Look for opportunities to volunteer with a diverse network of people. Build a network based on relationships, not “connections” or “likes.”