By Natalie MacPhee, Herald Contributor – November 17
On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 12, the Professional Business Fraternity on campus, Delta Sigma Pi, hosted their second annual GoingPro Conference in the RWU Law School. GoingPro is a one-day business conference consisting of four professional speaking sessions, with a total of six speakers. This year, each speaker came from different backgrounds in business and discussed varying business topics. Most speakers were RWU alumni discussing networking, personal branding, entrepreneurship and start-up companies, and first impressions were the main topics presented by the speakers. Following each session, a question and answer panel between students and the guest speakers provided further conversations regarding each topic.
The conference began with a warm welcome and introduction delivered by the Dean of the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business, Susan McTiernan. She introduced the keynote orator, Keith Mills, Chartered Financial Analyst for Trillium Asset Management, who provided students with a ten-point networking plan. He presented a powerpoint, along with a handout students could keep to remember the ten-point plan. Mills gave helpful advice, stressing the importance of informational interviews, researching top companies in industries students’ wish to work for, and joining associations relevant to career interests.
The second session of the conference focused on personal branding and an extension of networking. Brian P. McGrath, a Financial Representative at The Bulfinch Group, talked about tactics to make potential candidates for jobs stand out in a crowd and be unique. He even shared stories of his past experiences in the professional world regarding networking. McGrath was inspired to embrace unique methods of communication with people in the beginning of his career, and shared his tips on how communicate effectively. He also gave a demonstration of how to network with career-specific individuals on LinkedIn through the Advanced Search bar.
The second speaker in the second session was Codie Eisenberg, Associate Producer of Digital Content at Limited Brands. She spoke about her professional journey after her graduation at RWU. She explained how she held many jobs after school, reflected on what she learned from each position, and gave advice on how to prepare for an interview. Eisenberg heavily encouraged students to continue learning and to not give up on going after the job they want. Overall, her presentation motivated students to follow their interests and to embrace new opportunities.
Students in the audience took careful notes as Eisenberg described how she interviews potential candidates for internships or jobs. The speakers successfully translated their personal experiences into learning outcomes of how to shape and find a personal brand.
The third session concentrated on entrepreneurship and start-up companies. John Publicover, owner of StoredBy, and Contessa Brown, owner of Café S.O.U.L., discussed their experiences in starting their own companies. Both entrepreneurs shared successes, challenges, thought processes, and uniqueness. Publicover explained how he began his company in college and shared the most significant steps and setbacks in the process that brought his company to success. He asked students to write down three problems in their lives, and later described how solving problems is a great starting point to create a company.
Contessa then wowed the audience by opening her presentation with spoken word poetry, which her company is based around. She passionately spoke about her business and encouraged students who wish to start their own businesses to be unique and make sure their entire heart is in the company. She also advised students to have a close friend who is business-minded to help keep work on track throughout the start-up process. The session helped students understand the process of starting a business and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Lastly, Tony Pivirotto from Management Search Inc, spoke about first impressions during the interview process when applying for a job or internship. He involved the audience in his presentation by asking questions, making jokes, and answering difficult questions. He described how to set up a resume for a specific job, what questions to ask at the end of an interview, and how to be brief in answering interview questions while still maintaining depth.
As an interviewer himself, Pivirotto described what ideal potential candidates possess, such as a likable personality and a happy demeanor. He stressed that in the first ten seconds of meeting a candidate, he can tell if he likes them or not, so people must be on their “A-Game.” Finally, Pivirotto spoke about social media and the impact it has on potential employers, and how most companies will search through a candidate’s Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook before even considering them for an interview. This tactic validates that they are professional. Tony was able to engage students with his presentation as well as provide helpful facts and information regarding interviews.