Women who have had success advancing their careers at The Ohio State University are paying it forward. They’re finding ways to make sure the wave of women’s leadership continues to have a strong presence in the faculty and administrative ranks. They’re educating men about what it’s like to be a woman in academia, mentoring junior women, and excelling in professions traditionally dominated by men. This is especially true of the 2019 Glass Breakers.
The three 2019 Glass Breakers know part of their legacy is guiding and inspiring other women. Read about their leadership journeys and learn what you can apply to advance your career.
Here are this year's Glass Breaker honorees:
Rose Backs (MPAS, PAC, ATC)
Physician assistant, Sports Medicine
Backs began her career at Ohio State as a student athletic trainer in the 1980s, a time when few women worked in that field. She went on to become an athletic trainer, with her job tasks including physical therapy and rehabilitation, post-operative follow ups and isokinetic testing. After earning her physician assistant degree, she was the first woman physician assistant hired by Ohio State Sports Medicine.
“She opened the door of opportunity for every female who followed,” said Rae Bunyak, also a physician assistant in Sports Medicine. “It is her level of excellence that influenced the hiring of subsequent females in the department. Not an easy task when you are in a male-dominated field of orthopedics.”
Over the course of more than two decades, Bunyak said, Backs has “blazed a trail for physician assistants in orthopedic surgery, working with essentially all of the surgeons in some capacity, serving as first assist in surgery and carrying her own patient load in clinics, all while raising a family.”
She opened the door of opportunity for every female who followed."
Rae Bunyak, physician assistant in Sports Medicine
Heather Brod (MA)
Executive director, Center for Faculty Advancement, Mentoring and Engagement, College of Medicine
Brod has been rising in the ranks at the College of Medicine for the past 10 years, starting as a program manager in the Office of Academic Affairs before quickly being promoted to a program director and administrator. She was elevated again in 2014 to her current position. She’s been successful, in part, because of a “kind, collaborative leadership style that produces outstanding results,” said Amy Lahmers, program director at the college.
As Brod’s career has evolved, so, too, has her work to champion women. She works to equalize the salaries of faculty women, helps them negotiate for their promotions, mentors junior women faculty members and advocates for women to be involved in committees and college leadership.
“One of her greatest qualities is helping to shape and develop the careers of others,” Lahmers said. Brod is a member of Ohio State’s Advocates and Allies for Equity Advisory Council and was the 2018 president of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association Columbus chapter.
One of her greatest qualities is helping to shape and develop the careers of others."
Amy Lahmers, program director, College of Medicine
Nicole Nieto (PhD)
Assistant vice provost, Outreach and Engagement, Office of Academic Affairs
Nieto came to Ohio State in 2005 to become program coordinator for Women’s Student Services in the Multicultural Center. She spent the next 10 years advancing her career and education, eventually earning a doctorate in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies in 2015. This led to a leadership role in the ADVANCE office, which promotes the recruitment, retention and advancement of women faculty in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine disciplines at the university — fields traditionally dominated by men.
“The advancement of women’s careers was the central focus of Nicole’s work,” said Mary Juhas, associate vice president in the Office of Research and leader of ADVANCE. “One of her strongest suits is working with men to help them be the best mentors, colleagues and mentees to women at Ohio State.”
Nieto has recently taken another step on her leadership path in her new role as assistant vice provost in the Office of Academic Affairs.
One of her strongest suits is working with men to help them be the best mentors, colleagues and mentees to women at Ohio State."
Mary Juhas, associate vice president in the Office of Research and leader of ADVANCE