By Leah McNally

Just a few more days until the Women on Wine event on September 20th, and I’m delighted to be part of the excitement. My friend and fellow WineSense member, Abigail Smyth and I are speaking about the wine education opportunities at Sonoma State University and other schools in the region. The Wine Business Institute at the University has really stepped up its game in the last four years, with the goal of becoming one of the premiere places in the world to learn about the business of wine. Our chapter president, Chris Muller, asked us to participate as recent graduates of the Wine Business MBA program.

 On a personal note, my path to a master’s degree meandered through an assortment of community colleges and state and private universities, in the classroom and online, and took me the better part of thirty years. Along the way, I collected a degree here and a certificate there, while I decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. Some things got a lot easier- like knowing exactly what was needed to get an ‘A’, or writing a 20 page paper. Some things got more difficult over the years, and I’m not just talking about juggling work and family life. Where did that ability to retain all that information go I used to have when I was in my twenties? How about sitting in a Statistics class with a bunch of nineteen and twenty-something boys, or having that nice young lady standing in line next to me at the campus bookstore ask me if I was a mom of one of students? For the record, I am someone’s mom and I don’t stand in line to buy his books for college.

The occasional indignity of being relegated to “mom” status by my fellow students aside, I DID IT! It took me the better part of four years – a year at community college to finish up the prerequisites I was missing and three at Sonoma State – to get that MBA. If returning to school will help you achieve your goals for a career in wine business, don’t hesitate. We are lucky to live in an area with a growing base of resources that can help you reach your goals. Regardless of where you end up on the path, you won’t regret taking the first step.

Women in Wine is an annual event held by the Napa Sonoma chapter of WWS. Leah McNally and Abigail Smyth will be talking about SSU’s new Sonoma State Cellars program that they helped spearhead. Join us Thursday evening at the Napa Valley Museum. Tickets may be purchased here.