On October 19 Chabot College organized a highly successful seminar focused on networking and career development. The event was held in collaboration with a networking organization for accounting and financial professionals Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), emphasizing the importance of networking for career growth and professional development.
“Their goal is to catch students early in the academic pursuits so that they can “groom” them for ultimate job placement in prestigious accounting firms. They were networking, themselves, in hopes of attracting some new members. It worked, too, because a number of attendees said they planned to join the group,” – explained Lynn Klein, Prof. in the Business department of Chabot College and organizer of AFWA event.
The seminar featured key speakers and organizers, including Yelena Melero, Alyssa Bonfilio, and Carolyn Sweeney, who shared their insights and experiences in the field of finance and accounting. The active participation of AFWA members and Chabot students contributed to the enriching and dynamic atmosphere of the event.
“What is a network? It’s creating relationships with people and meeting people that you don’t even know. Coming from Covid, you went from not even wanting to touch someone’s hand or not even wanting to be in person with people,” – declared Yelena Melero, SF Finance Analyst.
The expert says networking is not only learning from others. It is about advertising yourself, and starting to build a personal brand for yourself. The goal of this event is to surround yourself with like-minded individuals, and also have someone that you can look up to, someone who’s done it before, someone who can give you advice. These are just a few reasons why we need networks.
During the seminar, various interactive activities were conducted, including a word cloud exercise and a comprehensive worksheet activity, providing engaging discussions on effective networking practices. All the guests were encouraged to dive deeper into the networking strategies and their practical application in real-world life.
“I got to talk with a couple people, so that was cool. Just a quick little networking tip, which I would like to try and do in my own network. But whenever you go work in a coffee shop for work or schoolwork, go to the gym, attend a social event with a friend. You should try to challenge yourself to start a conversation with a stranger every time in this room,” – shared Alyssa Bonfiglio, VP of AFWA with students.
The seminar created an accessible and inclusive environment for students and professionals to engage in meaningful discussions about networking and career advancement. The success of the event was evident through the positive feedback and expressed intentions of the guests to become members of AFWA.
“The idea to provide value to the students today was just to introduce them to the idea of strategically networking and being thoughtful about what their goals are and who they need to meet to be able to help them reach those goals,” – said Carolyn Sweeney, Managing Director at Century Group.
The primary objective of the seminar was to highlight the significance of networking in career development and to provide valuable insights into building strong professional connections. The collaboration between Chabot College and AFWA aimed to improve students’ networking skills and facilitate opportunities for mentorship and internships in prestigious accounting firms.
‘’Networking is such an important skill to have to make connections with people that could possibly know about job opportunities, to get input and feedback on job search strategies, including interviews, and to basically help students achieve their career goals,’’ – added Lynn Klein.