Disney, speed mentoring match two 100+ Women Strong members

By Lauren Winton

Published: Nov 22, 2019 12:07:00 PM

Cohoon and Meoni Cohoon and Meoni

Disney+ may be all the new rage, but it has been connecting folks well before becoming a streaming service. Well, it’s connected two Auburn Engineers, anyway.

“It happened at the speed mentoring session at the 100+ Women Strong Leadership Development Conference,” said Brigitte Cohoon, ’14 industrial and systems engineering. “Speed mentoring is no joke. It’s fast. I had maybe two minutes to talk to each person before moving around.”

During the two minutes, Cohoon connected with a fellow Disney lover. It was mentor-mentee at first sight.

“I was a little nervous at first during the speed mentoring session,” said Kristen Meoni, ’19 industrial and systems engineering. “You go from person to person, and I ended up in front of Brigitte. She was so kind, helpful and relatable.”

The two really hit it off when Brigitte shared details about her seven-month Disney internship while she was a student at Auburn.

“I knew right then that we were going to get along great,” Cohoon said. “Kristen has such a happy, bubbly personality and after the session, we jotted down each other’s information.”

The quick session was an instant match, and after they finished talking, the pair ran to the registration table to fill out the 100+ Women Strong mentorship forms.

“At the time that I met Kristen, I was working for Tyson,” Cohoon said. “Kristen was in her junior year at Auburn, and even though she was slammed with schoolwork and I was busy with work, we made time to connect. But we really developed our mentor-mentee relationship the closer she got to graduation.”

Through their connection, Meoni was inspired by 100+ Women Strong and the relationships she developed through the program.

“Even before I started at Auburn, I knew 100+ Women Strong was a great program. Having Brigitte as my mentor was affirmation of something I knew since I came to the first camp: 100+ Women Strong is an empowering organization,” Meoni said. “We women engineers need to stick together.”

In support of the program, Meoni was one of the first undergraduate students to join as a member while still enrolled in school.

“We were so excited because Kristen received pink chords for graduation,” Cohoon said.

Cohoon, like Meoni, became involved in 100+ Women Strong near the end of her time at Auburn. She learned about the program the first few years after it was formed from member Mary Moore, ’83 civil engineering.

“Mary was one of the first 100+ Women Strong members. She’s passionate about getting young women into STEM fields, and it was a perfect fit for me once she shared the details and mission of the program with me,” Cohoon said.

After a great experience with the program, Cohoon joined as a member as soon as she graduated in 2014. Her work at the Tyson plant allowed her to stay active as a member, attending events and participating in mentorship opportunities.

She still stayed involved even after she moved to Florida for a job with Lockheed Martin.

“My husband and I moved to Ocala, which was cool because my mentor, Margaret Neyman ‘80, is actually from Micanopy – a small town close by,” Cohoon said. “I was glad to have that connection. But I decided to also make a point to make it to whatever 100+ Women Strong event I can.”

With her position at Lockheed, Cohoon was able to make another special connection.

“Brigitte is such a great mentor,” Meoni said. “She’s kind and helpful. She’s always there for me when I need help, like when I got an interview with Lockheed in Connecticut.”

In different divisions of the organization and halfway across the country from each other, Meoni’s interview with Lockheed made her bond with her mentor even stronger.

“I texted Brigitte immediately when I heard about the interview,” Meoni said. “She gave me so many tips and helped encourage me by reassuring me I was more than qualified for the job.”

True to her mentor’s word, Meoni got the job. And her first thought when receiving the news: “Text Brigitte.”

“I think it was my all-time favorite moment as a member of 100+ Women Strong,” Cohoon said. “I was incredibly proud and excited she wanted to move home and find something so close and to work for the same company as me. It can be difficult right out of school to get a job. She told me the other week she’s the first new industrial and systems engineer they’ve hired in years. That’s a proud momma bear moment because she was able to get that position, which is incredibly competitive.”

Through their new connection, Meoni and Cohoon have been able to keep up their mentor-mentee relationship that started with 100+ Women Strong. Throughout the years, their conversations have evolved: from classes to job hunting to their different roles at Lockheed. But the two draws that brought them together still stay strong.

“We both still sometimes talk about Disney, especially now that I’m so close to Orlando,” Cohoon said. “And of course, we both love Auburn Engineering.”

To learn more about the 100+ Women Strong program, visit eng.auburn.edu/giving/100-women-strong. 

 

Media Contact: Lauren Winton, lmw0090@auburn.edu, 334.844.5519

Recent Headlines