As college students, many of us are beginning to think about our trek into the world outside of education. We start trying to form connections, get jobs and start our careers. On Feb. 12, UNCG hosted the Triad Business Journal’s event, Mentoring Monday. Focused on preparing young women to enter the business world, the event hosted 26 women from different businesses taking on the role of mentors.
The program opened with remarks from the Market President and Publisher of the Triad Business Journal, Oliver Chandhok, Provost of UNCG, Dr. Dana Dunn; a Senior Commercial Banking Officer from Allegacy Federal Credit Union, Michelle Koster; and the Editor-in-Chief of the Triad Business Journal, Rebecca Troyer.
The purpose of the program, Dunn said, and the original goal of UNCG is to prepare women for the career world, “This (event) is an exchange of information; it’s a way to build new connections and to create that web that will be so important to you as you set about your careers.”
The event was set up in a speed dating fashion. Participants spent seven minutes at the tables of different mentors and would then move and cycle around to find a new table.
As one could imagine, starting a conversation about your career with a stranger can be nerve racking. Chandhok addressed this in his opening remarks, “When you first do a networking event, it can be extremely intimidating, but the more networking events you attend, the more that nervous and anxious feeling goes away.”
In addition to all of the individual tables set up, Troyer hosted a small table to facilitate group discussions between attendees. At the table, people asked questions about how to cope with being a woman in the business world and how Troyer decided on her career path.
On her struggles as a woman in the banking world, Koster said, “I had to show that I belonged there. I had to show the old men who ran the banking world and owned the businesses that we worked with, that I, as a woman, could be trusted with their money.”
In speaking with Laura Bailey, the General Manager of Bibey Machine Company Inc., she discussed taking the company over with her brother from their father and how she was one of only three women who worked at the company.
Machining is a very male-dominated business, Bailey said, so it is difficult to work in this field as a woman. Bailey herself has 13 computer numerical control (CNC) machines at her office.
At the Mentoring Monday event, there were also women in attendance who were not UNCG students, which allowed UNCG students to interact with mentors and women in attendance with other career experience.
Not everyone at the event was a business major, there were also science and art majors in attendance.
Another focus of Mentoring Monday was to encourage students to start thinking about their careers, and how to better prepare themselves for the future. The UNCG Career Services Center also serves as a resource for students preparing to enter enter the workforce.
Mentors can help students in applying for work after college, and can also help with getting internships. After going to this event, I realized events like this may be able to help me in the future. In his opening remarks, Chandhok said, “You won’t know anyone at the first few events that you attend, but you’ll eventually see more and more people you know.” Hopefully, more events like Mentoring Monday will present people the opportunity to connect with professionals.