On Feb. 9, the University of Houston Downtown (UHD) Main Career Development Center hosted 28 students and 10 community partners at its Spring 2017 Speed Networking Mixer. The purpose of the event is to actively engage students in learning how to market themselves to important points of contact.
First, students participated in a networking workshop led by career coach and liaison to University College, Wendy Cooper. In this workshop, students developed their unique “pitch,” a 30-second speech aimed at promoting one’s strengths and career goals. Students also had the opportunity to practice their pitches with representatives from Houston agencies and businesses in a speed-dating structure, where they rotated amongst 12 tables in five-minute increments over the course of one hour.
“I liked being able to put the tips I learned from the networking presentation to practice” said Stephanie Ramirez, a sophomore social work major.
In the final portion of the mixer, conversations between students and community partners were continued over appetizers and mocktails.
Community partners in attendance at the Speed Networking Mixer include: AIG Consumer Insurance, Alga Processing, LLC, cPanel, Cornerstone Home Lending, Covestro, Fifth Ward, Harris County Juvenile Probation, TechOne Centre, Yes Prep Public Schools, Inc., and YWCA. Students from all five UHD academic colleges were also present.
“The Speed Networking event was a wonderful experience” said Fernando Ayarzagoitia, a sophomore business major. “I was able to showcase my skills to employers as well as learn what I could do better by watching my peers around me.”
The mixer was funded through a High Impact Practices (HIPs) grant obtained by Career Development Center Director, Laura Weseley, and was coordinated by Lisa Marie Gonzales-Hatfield, career coach and liaison to the College of Public Service.
“It was great to see students connecting with potential employers, especially since networking is the number one way to get a job,” said Marti Trummer, career coach and liaison to the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “What a fabulously successful event!”
Community partners also shared positive experiences from the mixer.
One stated, “The students were well prepared and very engaging.” Another partner commented “This was a great way to prepare them for the future.”
The Career Development Center Stay encourages the University community to connect with them via Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more about upcoming events.
Photo credit: Thomas B. Shea