Career Day is a day full of actionable takeaways that give the students the tools they need to develop their leadership, presentation skills, and career preparedness. Thank you to St. John’s University, Donald McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship for sponsoring this impactful day.
Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic, the business world has seen radical shifts in the last year. Rob Goggins, President of Great Clips, presented on “Crisis Leadership” and described how times of crisis call for a different kind of leadership. In his role as President, Rob oversees a variety of functional areas of the company, including: Operations, Marketing, Real Estate, Development, Business Intelligence, IT, Education, Human Resources, Facilities, Purchasing and Products. When he’s not helping to build the Great Clips brand, Rob enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, traveling, reading, and learning new things.
Goggins’ keynote presentation explored various elements of leaders in crisis. Leaders must be “transparent, inspirational, and frequent communicators” in order to ensure success for their organization. “People trust you more when you do not sugar coat what’s going on,” says Goggins, highlighting the importance of trust in times of crisis. For a company the size of Great Clips, navigating the massive changes of the business world requires immense teamwork and without trust as their foundation, companies will go under. Another aspect of an effective leader in crisis is that they never waste the opportunities posed by it. A positive outcome of undergoing lots of change in a short period of time is that “you can hit the reset button” and find that people are going to be very understanding. In the case of Great Clips, the company was able to create more efficient training plans which have been successfully implemented. Goggins’ final word of advice to students was to “go out there and own it, show people why you deserve” to be successful. In a rapidly changing world, no one is going to wait around for young people to take action and make their mark, so it is up to us to lead our lives with confidence and take the risks that will lead us to new opportunities.
All four breakout sessions focused on equipping students with key career skills: How to Get Ahead in Today’s Job Market, Interview Skills, Jobs of the Future, and the Resume Workshop. Each session focused on various aspects of being prepared to enter the workforce. The Resume Workshop gave an essential outline of how to put together a compelling way to describe your experience. Interview Skills provided students with an understanding of the STAR method that can be used to answer behavioral interview questions. The technique consists of describing the Situation of your response, the Task that you were responsible for completing, the Action plan you took to fulfill that task, and the Result of what your actions achieved. Breakout session lead, Katie Brokaw, made sure to highlight the importance of describing results and outcomes when students respond in interviews, as this is something that is frequently forgotten. The day’s breakout sessions provided opportunities to learn about all the ways students can be prepared to enter the workforce.
An immediately relevant skill discussed in keynote speaker Kendall Qualls speech “On Presenting” is, of course, presentation skills. This keynote comes right in time as students finalize their business plans for presentation in front of a panel of “investors” tomorrow. Kendall Qualls is the President of TakeCharge. TakeCharge strives to unite Americans regardless of background toward a shared history and common set of beliefs. At TakeCharge, they celebrate the idea of the American dream and encourage people working to achieve it.
“What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?” Qualls says this is the first question that leads to the creation of a successful business pitch. If your investors are not clear about why your product needs to exist, then the pitch ends there. “Our most valuable commodity is time,” so if you can help your investors “save time,” “make them smarter, or make money” for them, then they will be happy to give you the time necessary to make your pitch. To compliment a strong opening, the conclusion must be “clear and concise.” Make your request with confidence and clarity and “be prepared to execute once you get the green light.” Students asked Qualls how they can ease their nerves around presenting, to which Qualls responded, “it’s important to do the rehearsal until you’re numb.” Once you have reached that level where the presentation is no longer daunting and you believe in yourself and the product you are pitching, “nothing can stop you.” What a fantastic word of encouragement as students finish their business plans and begin their rehearsal process.
Student Emcee Khadra shared more camper shoutouts, highlighting students who have demonstrated continued engagement and teamwork at camp. For today’s student activity, Khadra led a lightning round of bingo with the students and introduced the photo activity of the day which was to make an MBV chalk drawing and post it on the Community Board.
After such an intense round of bingo, you would think that things couldn’t get any more exciting, but guest Davina Lozier, Band Leader and Owner of Davina and the Vagabonds, stole the show with a jaw dropping session of Ask an Influencer! Lozier provided advice on how to be successful in music, “hone what you’re doing,” and also, “get an electronic press kit.” Amidst sharing her perspective on managing a creative career, Lozier reminded students to “do what you feel you’re meant to do in your heart,” and to not “listen to haters.” On top of reinforcing a message of balance and promoting positive mental health, Lozier performed a one minute concert: the first and only concert of its kind that has been performed at MBV. We hope that this becomes a tradition and are so grateful to have hosted Lozier on Ask an Influencer!
After an amazing Ask an Influencer! Session, students had an opportunity to participate in a mock interview where MBV volunteers evaluated and assessed their responses and conduct to provide feedback to students. The mock interview is a fantastic chance for students to expand their comfort zone while also practicing the skills discussed earlier in the day.
Career Day has shown students that there are many ways to create a fulfilling career. From lessons in leadership, to breakout sessions on workforce readiness, and perspectives on effective presentations, students have a lot of content to draw from as they navigate their futures. The big day arrives tomorrow, where students will put everything they’ve learned into practice and give their business presentation. We wish all the students luck!