APIASF SMART Career Launch Summit

Article by Wun Kuen Ng

As part of the 11th Annual APIASF gala, Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund offered its second year SMART Career Launch for its student scholar recipients. The panel of esteemed business leaders offered their pearls of wisdom from the trenches and gave advice to young professionals on how to navigate their career. During the second half of the program, students got hands on feedback during the Interview Boot Camp.

Pat Harris, Chief Diversity Officer of McDonald’s, chartered a career in the company, from what she thought was just an administrative job to earn some money to get by into a thirty-eight year career that had been fruitful. Never say “No” to an opportunity. Be able to communicate and connect with people regardless which country they are from. One way to overcome rejection is to build a support and get good and bad feedback from people you trust.

Edward Goldberg, Senior Vice President, External Affairs of Macy’s had been with the same company for fifty-five years. He recommended that to handle stress one has to make decisions that reflect one’s values and aligned oneself with the right people. Be part of a team, be prepared to do the job, show up, understand your function and your value.

Arati Randolph, Director of Internal Communications at Wells Fargo gave this advice: believe in yourself, if you don’t, no one else will either. Everyone has skills. Listen to feedback. Owned your own power. LinkedIn and Twitter are tools that flatten the recruiting process. Use them to reach out and connect.

Ericka Jones, Senior Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, mentioned that corporate’s definition of diversity use to be just be about race. But now it is about diversity in religion, race, sexual orientation, generational, and languages in order to become a global company. She advised that when choosing a company to work for, think if it is the right culture and right fit for you.

Craig Williams, SVP/COO, The Coco-Cola Company said that when he is hiring he is looking for someone who is hungry and aggressive. He can be sure the candidate will go the extra mile and make the hiring manager look good. He also looks for someone with imagination and can do two jobs ahead down the career path. Williams believe that professional development is a way to broaden one’s skills in order to achieve one’s dream, by participating in professional networks, opportunities, non-profit/volunteerism.

During the Interview Boot Camp, students had several take-aways. Among them were how important maintaining eye contact throughout the interview, make one’s experiences into a good story, take initiative in order to give feet to one’s dreams, focus and sell yourself and not be afraid to be out there, body language and active listening, and always be connected. Students definitely feel more prepared to jumpstart and take control of their career.

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