Below is a review by Cadisha Miceli who attended the Avanti Women & Centennial College Career & Networking expo on April 1, 2017. Keep reading to learn about what kind of workshops, women and experiences you can expect at our next event!
I would like to begin by expressing my sincere gratitude to my management team for allowing me to dedicate a work day to personal and professional development. As well, I would like to personally thank Silvia Fraser who initiated the relationship with Avanti Women.
Avanti in Italian means 'move forward', a fitting title for an organization that encourages "personal and professional growth". Though I arrived to the event early, I was delighted to see hundreds of diverse women at registration. BeyoncÃÂ© was blasting through the speakers, there was an Avanti Women selfie banner and swag bags. Immediately I knew that I was going to enjoy this event.
Dina Barazza, founder of Avanti Women, appeared on stage with models lining the stage dressed in clothing from Kate Spade New York, a fashion line known for providing modern, professional clothing for women. Dina then asked the crowd to separate into groups for our first activity: elevator speeches. The group with the best speech would win a prize.
If you don't know what an elevator speech is, you're not alone. Most of the crowd (including myself) had never heard of the term before. Click here for an article from Ibiyemi Balogun, a Passionate Recruiter and Talent Manager I found on LinkedIn, who provides a flawless definition and personal example.
Our group was named Sisters in Sync â°ÃÃ Burstin' Bubbles. We didn't win. The winning group rapped their speech -and who could top that?
We were provided with a useful template to use for our own personal elevator speeches at future networking events. If you would like the template, please connect with Avanti Women.
Midmorning, Maura Joy Lustig held a workshop called "Transformation: Change is Inevitable, Growth is Intentional." Maura, who described herself to be a problem solver and lover of life, had fantastic energy. She asked attendees to define success and many wrote down tangible items such as a fancy car, big house or a 6-figure salary. Maura's point of the workshop was that we don't need these items to be happy. She continued to talk about the importance of nutrition and goals. A cleansed, well-nourished body makes for more energy and better mental focus. If we are stressed and fatigued, we won't perform our best. And if we consciously aim for our goals, we will always be working toward something better. She stressed the importance of excelling in both your career and personal life stating, "Your wealth is in your health." She also brought up the concept of a "success network," which means surrounding yourself with people you respect (and respect you in return), admire and aspire to be like.
The mock interview was my highlight of the day. We were asked to prepare a resume and cover letter for a desired job (I chose a management position). I was impressed with the amount of quality feedback and would like to share some of it with you:
- Don't fiddle with your resume
- Stay professional and avoid emotions if you have to describe a negative outcome
- Ask the interviewer quality questions about the position (instead of, "When will I hear back from you?"). Three to four questions are suggested, depending on how much time you have.
- Ask the interviewer if they have any additional questions they would like to ask you
The next workshop highlighted the benefits in expressing gratitude to others when you feel they have done a great job. I immediately agreed with this and thought back to a time when I wrote to an organization with some positive feedback. They really appreciated the compliment because they were used to only hearing complaints. I've noticed a lot of more dedication from this organization and I think that our simple expression of gratitude is a large part of that.
Instructor, Diviya Lewis, called this the spill-over effect and said that it's useful for managers and their employees citing that 64% of employees who feel unappreciated look for another job. With my chosen industry's high turnover rates, I plan to show more gratitude in the hopes of keeping our hardworking professionals at the workplace for a longer time.
In the last workshop, we were separated into small groups and circulated between three mentors. Silvia Fraser, a Manager of Business Operations and Change Initiatives, gave some particularly helpful advice for those who take on too many 'asks' at work and in their social lives. She reminded us that we are only one person. The 'you' at work, the 'you' at school and the 'you' at the gym is the same person, not three different people. Make lists to evaluate if what you're taking on will benefit you. Furthermore, if you can say no to a task, or delegate it to another person, do it. There are always others who are looking for more skills.
Avanti Women held a phenomenal event and I strongly recommend that all women should attend in 2018. I am looking forward to bringing several techniques I learned back to my workplace. As a woman, having the opportunity to connect with other strong and successful women proves to me that our society is truly moving in the right direction.
Click here to see additional photos from Networking in the 6ix.
AW Blog Contributor