Accomplished alumni shared their experiences and perspectives with students at the first McDonogh Network Conference and senior celebration last month in the Marlo Room of Farinon College Center. The theme for the conference was “Connecting You to Me: Building a Personal Brand.”
The first networking conference of this type, it was hosted by the McDonogh Network, which is Lafayette’s black and African-American alumni association.
“The McDonogh Conference was a great event. It gave me the chance to see and network with successful black alumni who are excelling in their fields,” says economics major Brandon Ellis ’12 (Jeffersonville, Pa.).
Ellis, who wants to get a job in the sports industry, found that the alumni provided him with advice on how to navigate his specific industry and connected him with people who could help him attain his goals. “The alumni answered all of my questions and provided me with honest feedback about the challenges and opportunities after Lafayette.”
The conference topics were “The Power of Mentorship,” moderated by Miranda Teboh-Ewungkem, assistant professor of mathematics, “Lessons Learned: Negotiating Your First Experience,” moderated by Yaba Amgborale Blay, visiting assistant professor of Africana studies, and “The Power of Leadership and Campus Involvement,” moderated by John McCartney, professor of government & law. These sessions gave students the opportunity to learn about alumni experiences, what to do when entering the workforce, and other tips on how to build success while they are still on-campus and after they graduate from Lafayette.
“I received a lot of motivation and encouragement to follow my dreams despite the obstacles along the way,” says psychology major Jiselle Peralta ’13 (Rego Park, N.Y.). “Hearing from successful alumni who started out just like me, helped me realize that we must all start somewhere in order to grow into future leaders.”
After she graduates, Peralta hopes to continue in the field of psychology or go into education. The McDonogh Network Conference helped her narrow down some of her future goals.
“It was inspiring to see so many alumni go out of their way to give back to Lafayette. They all had unique experiences and made an impact on and off campus. I look up to the alumni panelists and hope to accomplish as much as they have.”
This year’s alumni panelists included Gina Arias ’93, senior community partner coordinator for Bronx Teens Connection; Carlton St. Bernard ’86, vice president of U.S. sales & marketing for Cordis Corporation; Terese Brown ’07, owner/designer of Terese Sydonna Contemporary and Couture Women’s Design Co.; Crystal Burey ’10, freelance photo editor; Otis Ellis ’89, vice president and investment solution specialist for Key Private Bank; Isaac Esseku ’05, research associate for Consumer Edge Research; Ashley Gray ’09, graduate hall director for Cedar Crest College; Rawle Howard ’96, vice president of the real estate debt group of BlackRock Inc.; Treyvon Jackson ’10, analyst with Goldman & Sachs; Justin Kidwell ’00, MBA candidate at Columbia Business School; Jason T. Mills ’09, engineer with PHI Asset Strategy & Planning, Delmarva Power; Brandon Stanford ’06, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in African studies/Africology at Temple University; and Danielle Weaver ’07, alumni relations assistant at George Washington University.