The Harbert College of Business Office of Professional and Career Development (OPCD) hosted 1,054 students during three days of Legends & Leaders Career Conversations April 5-7.
More than 550 students attended four evening events exploring such topics as networking, big data, navigating the workforce as a young alum, and what it means to be successful women in business.
Professional panelists included a wide variety of entrepreneurs and local business leaders who shared advice ranging from, “Always wear comfortable shoes,” to, “Trust is a gift that you can give, not something to be earned.”
The “Network Effect” panelists included Megan Smalley, CEO of Scarlet & Gold, Kyle Tothill, managing partner at eHire, Michael Pittman, financial specialist for Delta Airlines, Jason Hopper, senior vice president of sales for unified marketing platform at Influence Health, and Michael Lynch, consultant for nonprofits and community development. “Data is the New Bacon” was discussed by Adam Robinett, COO at Direct Path, Gail Wetzel, senior director of data and analytics for Equifax, Cindy Taylor, CIO and change management advisor, and Graciela Chadwick, head of business analytics at Chick-Fil-A.
The Harbert Young Alumni panel featured panelists that have graduated within the past five years, including Zack Terry of Jumpstart Foundry, Danny Feltham of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Amory Scott of the Scott Foundation, and Michael Layton of IBM.
Finally, the Women in Business panel topic, “What I Would Tell My 22-Year-Old Self,” was addressed by Keely Beasecker, owner of Niffers, Stacy Brown, founder of Chicken Salad Chick, Kathy Powell, owner of Kathy Powell State Farm, Jessican Gibson, investor relations senior analyst at The Home Depot, Kelley Slappey, senior vice president of wholesale banking for SunTrust Banks, Inc., and Michele Flakes of AFLAC’s Innovation Delivery Office.
Shelby Sipe, master’s student in clinical mental health counseling, attended the Women in Business panel and left feeling inspired. “I felt really motivated to go out and take more risk,” said Sipe, “and it really boosted my confidence to learn about the importance of a handshake. They reinforced that a strong, firm handshake, especially as a woman, is the right thing to do.”
During the week, almost 500 students attended daytime student- and faculty-led information sessions about the various majors in the college and what career paths a business graduate might pursue.
Colleen Casey, a sophomore majoring in finance, said she was motivated by the content of the information sessions. “One of the panels I attended was the Young Alumni panel, and it was awesome because the four people up there were recent graduates, and one was in the field I am going into,” Casey said. “It was great hearing about how he got there and what advice he could give about the investment world.”
Casey also heard several professors speak about their individual passions. “Dr. [David] Paradice talked about business analytics, and now I’m considering taking it as a minor because of the great information he gave us,” Casey said. “Everyone I have talked to has really enjoyed the panels.”
Harbert College’s Office of Advancement helped coordinate the event.
Learn more about the Harbert College’s Office of Professional and Career Development and view event photos at hireharbert.auburn.edu.