On an early Saturday morning, students and alumni began putting on their interview clothes and organizing a small corner of their homes for one remarkable occasion––the Third Annual Career Conference.
The University of Redlands’ Office of Career & Professional Development hosts dozens of events each semester, but the annual U of R Career Conference is the most far-reaching. This year’s event was held on March 13––precisely one year after the U.S. declared the pandemic a national emergency. And, despite the grim anniversary, the mood at the conference was upbeat.
“The Career Conference is truly a positive experience, allowing students to prepare for their lives after graduation while connecting them to U of R alumni,” explains Kelly Dries, executive director of the Office of Career and Professional Development. "A week following the event, 85% of alumni panelists were connected with students."
These connections to panelists—nearly 50 alumni who work at Tesla, The Walt Disney Company, Kaiser Permanente, and other employers—have the potential to be life-changing.
During the conference, alumni also offered career advice to their fellow Bulldogs. Allison Vander Veen '01, a cleft and craniofacial team speech-language pathologist, noted: “You have to change. You have to be on your toes. You have to be ready to do something different. Just because you learned it in the book this way doesn’t mean it’s going to happen that way in a hospital setting.” Her advice to adapt to a fast-changing world is relevant even outside the medical environment.
As the panels and workshops ended, attendees were brought together to network in an online setting. Attendees weaved in and out of virtual rooms designated with a specific career focus and one-on-one meet-and-greets. Smiling alumni were eager to share their contact information to keep the conversation going long after the day was over.
“You are never an island of one–networking it is critical to expand your network,” says alumna and panelist Elan Carson '11 (Johnston).
In fact, one week after Carson made these remarks, alumni and students were still continuing the conversation one-on-one. Clearly, the event fulfilled its purpose—to introduce one generation of successful graduates to another.
Learn more about the Office of Career and Professional Development.