Lawrence alumni return to share experiences for Career Conference

By Ruby Dickson

On Saturday, April 18, Lawrence’s Career Services department, in conjunction with the Office of Alumni and Constituency Engagement held a Career Conference through the Lawrence Scholars in Business program.

The event was primarily organized by Dean of Career Services Mary Meany and Associate Vice President of Alumni and Constituency Engagement Mark Breseman. Meany has been with Lawrence for five years and has organized numerous opportunities for current students to hone their skills and find rewarding jobs post-graduation. This year, the Career Conference focused on helping students understand how to focus their skill sets and best market themselves to potential employers.

The day began with a young alumni panel at 9:30 a.m. in Briggs Hall. Students gathered to hear from four recent Lawrence graduates that live and work in the Appleton area. Tony Darling ‘13, Gacia Coronado ‘10, Zach Simmering ‘14 and Dan O’Mahoney ‘14 spoke about their experiences getting started in the world of business.

They shared their varying experiences and spoke with students about the differences between working at start-ups, large corporations and intermediate sales firms. O’Mahoney emphasized the importance of understanding a firm’s environment before taking a job and suggested several questions to ask at the end of an interview.

Several alumni emphasized the importance of taking calculated risks in their careers. Coronado, who works at Kimberly-Clark, noted that “in large corporations, you can get stuck … you have to be able to take risks, and to sometimes brush off defeats.”

The recent graduates also commented on non-career-related subjects pertaining to their transition from life on campus. “The first thing I learned is how good we have it here,” stated Darling, who is currently working in a leadership rotational program at Century Insurance. “Although you can find people in the real world who are vibrant, interesting and engaged, it’s definitely a lot harder outside of the Lawrence bubble.”

After the young alumni panel, students could attend a private lunch with a group of Lawrence alumni who majored in foreign languages. These alumni spoke about how they now use their language skills in business careers and provided advice to students about how to market their language abilities when searching for jobs.

Students and alumni also attended the Nonprofit Resources Fair, held in the Warch Campus Center gallery from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Many local and national non-profit organizations set up booths to speak with students about available opportunities. Organizations such as the Peace Corps, the Boys and Girls Club, iMPACT and the Trout Museum encouraged students to apply for summer internships, in addition to promoting regular volunteer opportunities.

Later in the day, students had the opportunity to pose for headshots to use for LinkedIn and other job-searching platforms. Senior Nathan Lawrence worked with a camera, backdrop and lighting system to photograph interested students in the Warch Campus Center gallery.

Finally, students and other community members were invited to a networking reception in the Pusey Room. There, students had the opportunity to snack on catered hors d’oeuvres while forging personal connections with successful alumni.

Career Services and the Office for Alumni and Constituency Engagement will continue to host Lawrence Scholars in Business programs in the future. Students can stop by Career Services drop-in hours, schedule meetings with staff members and attend sponsored events.